U 19 Girls
The U19 girls had a successful yet slightly disappointing weekend at score at the shore. Overall, it was a very good experience. Everyone was excited to play.
IMG vs Hernando Heat
The girl's started off the weekend well with a 1-0 win over Hernando Heat. The team had some very good ball movement but unfortunately could not convert the chances into goals. Finally Louisa Costa, who was playing a great game, put one away to give us the win. Sadly, she and Renae were out after the first game due to injuries, but their performances in the first game helped get the team off to a good start.
IMG vs Space Coast
IMG dominated the second game against Space Coast pulling off a 3-0 win. Sammie Mathews really showed her finishing abilities by putting two away, one that she followed up with a header when her initial shot hit the crossbar, and another from the 18 yard box. Jessica Bartol also had a great finish after many chances in the first two games.
IMG vs Wellington Premier
We had a bit of a scare after a defensive mistake in the beginning of the third game. An unchallenged ball played over the top caught goalie Shannon Morris off guard and was headed in to put us down 0-1, but Jess finished a beautiful free kick from about 30 yards out that no keeper could get to. Ashley Lowdermilk put our next goal away after Sammie redirected a cross from Marisa. We finished the game with a 2-1 win.
IMG vs FC Sarasota
The girls fought hard against FC Sarasota and had trouble breaking the back four of the physical Sarasota team. Again, we struggled to convert chances into goals. At the end of regulation, the game was 0-0 but ended in a loss in a long round of penalty kicks. Emotions ran high with disappointment in the way we went out, but the girls shouldn't be ashamed because they out-performed all their opponents on the field. Shannon read each kicker very well, but could not reach the well placed shots.
Other performances worth note during the tournament are Catherine Leibbrandt who really controlled the back line and did a great job of picking off passes. Ashley Lowdermilk, who might have had her best and most consistent performance to date. Autumn Jordan, who stepped into her first official role with IMG with a great attitude and work ethic. Our two goalkeepers Shannon Morrish and Cassie Palmacci, who only allowed 1 goal in regulation in four games, and Carlye Belser, who always brings the never give up, fighting attitude even when she is matched up with some of the quickest and most skilled opponents.
Well done to all the IMG ladies. You played well and fought hard.
U 15 Boys
The IMG U15 boys competed this past weekend in Wesley Chapel, Florida in the Score at the Shore Tournament. Two disappointing results left IMG with two losses and only one win in the group stage of the tournament, eliminating them from advancing to the knockout stage. Although IMG controlled play in all three matches, the team lacked the necessary intensity and sense of urgency to finish off opponents. An opening round loss to HCU put IMG in hole and forced the team to win the next two matches in order to advance to the knockout stages. A second match win against Eastlake, and clearly the best result of the weekend, put IMG in good position to take six points from group play, but a poor performance in the final match versus JYSA saw the chance of advancement quickly diminish.
IMG moved on from group play and were placed in the Red division, winning their quarterfinal match versus Michigan Soccer Club 1-0 on an Andrew Ezigbo goal, but were eliminated in the semi-finals by JYSA 0-1 in a match that showcased how cruel soccer can sometimes be. Although IMG controlled play throughout the match, notching over 15 shots, JYSA scored on their first and only shot of the game and advanced to the Red division final.
Although the team did not fulfill their full potential, forward Diego Torres (3 goals), midfielder Stephen Ravazzoli and defender Camron Tally were consistently top players in the group play and proved their value to the team.
U 16 Boys
Saturday vs. Clay County
The U16 boys came out ready to compete in the Score at the Shore weekend. The first match vs. Clay County was an even match from the beginning with both teams creating chances, but both goalkeepers were on their A game. A slight mistake in the second half gave Clay County a penalty kick which they converted on for the first goal of the match. Soon after in the 57th minute Clay County found their way into the IMG box again, this time scoring on a header giving them a 2-0 lead and the last goal of the match. IMG fell vs. Clay County and had to regroup for the next match vs. Royal Palm Beach.
Later that same day at 4pm, the Coach Pisano decided to change the lineup to go all out for the win. A loss would no doubt knock them out of contention for the playoffs. Pisano moved Simon Ranauro into the central midfield and Sebastain Rio to the outside for a new attacking style, and the plan worked great. Two first half goals by Simon Ranauro and the German newcomer, Stefan Nienber ended the game quickly and IMG moved on the control the game and pull off the victory. This win showed great character after a hard first loss.
Sunday had a whole new challenge for the IMG Boys. A tough Potomac Real team from Washington came out quickly scoring 2 goals in the first half. With IMG on their heels, the boys rallied with Rafael Nunez scoring a beautiful goal from 20 yards out, beating the keeper for a 2-1 score. IMG kept the pressure on for the remainder of the half with all the momentum. The second half started as the first ended. A blazing run from Christian Andrade and a blast from outside the box tied the game a 2-2. Another show of character for this team as the game ended a 2-2 draw advancing them to the Quarter Finals.
That same day, the win or go home mentality was in play. The opponent: East Orange. With both teams knowing one goal could finish the match, an evenly played game turned into straight PK. With no overtime, the team's best shooters were called to finish the match. With this round of penalty kicks, each team picked 5 players. First up was team Captain, Spencer Moeller... GOAL. As East Orange stepped up, Miguel Manriquez was confident and saved their first PK. IMG was up 1-0. Up for IMG, Rafael Nunez...GOAL. With East Orange converting on their second opportunity, 2-1 IMG. IMG missed on the third, but lucked out when East Orange missed as well. The final four shots were all missed or saved by the goalkeepers and that was enough for the IMG boys to win in PK's 2-1 and advance to the semi-final.
The semi match was played Monday morning at 8am. The team was up against a strong team from Michigan. Coach Pisano was pleased with the team's efforts in the first half, holding Michigan to 0-0 after a great opportunity by Spencer Moeller was missed late in the half. An early second half goal by Michigan from 30yards out off a direct kick put IMG into do-or-die mode. With all efforts put toward attacking for IMG, a late second half goal sealed the match for Michigan. This tournament introduced 6 new players into the starting roster from last season, making a mark for them. Next up for the U16 boys will be the State Cup.
U 17 Boys
The U-17 boys lost in the semifinal after PKs at the Score at Shore tournament this past weekend in Tampa.
The team had a strong start with 2 wins over Plantation City (1-0 , Jacob Kaye) and Naples (1-0 ,Munson). On Sunday IMG lost the 3rd game 1-0 against Maryland Dragons, taking the second place in the standings.
In the quarterfinal match the IMG boys played their best game of the tournament , beating rivals RSL on PKs at the end of a very entertaining match.
IMG played a man down for most of the match (Christian Contreras was given a straight red card for retaliation) but still was able to take the lead in the match with a goal by Kaye. RSL scored with 10 min to go to tie the match.
New IMG goalkeeper Charlie Horton saved two PKs and the team went to the semifinal.
On Monday morning they played against South Georgia and literally dominated, taking the lead twice (1-0 and 2-1) with both goals again scored Jacob Kaye, but the opponents found their way to tie the match with 30 seconds to go in the match. The game went to PKs, but this time no luck. Juan Pablo Medina and Brett Munson missed and unfortunately the team was eliminated...but that's soccer.
Individually some of the players stood out throughout the tournament, some alternated good performances to poor performances. The team needs to find consistency with the level of playing and with scoring. This is the only way to have a good showing in the State Cup.
U 19 Boys
In any tournament you want to start off positive, and conceding a goal in the first minute of the first game won't do well for morale. By halftime we were down 3-0, two more goals due to a lack of concentration. The boys showed a bit of character in the second half, picking up the level a bit and not conceding anymore goals. Unfortunately they didn't score any goals either, so the first game ended 3-0. The field didn't allow us to play too much, but you have to figure out a way to play and win games in those situations. The second game was on the same field. It was a better performance but still conceding a goal in the first 5 minutes shows a lack of being prepared mentally. We leveled the match at the end of the first half through a Nathan Taylor goal, but couldn't capitalize on the momentum in the second half and lost 2-1. It was surprising to see the mentality of the team in the third game, knowing they would not be moving onto the winner's bracket. They played much better, even though the intensity could've been a lot better. Conceding first again, we had to come from behind. And during a good spell of pressure late in the second half, Jair Buggs scored a quick brace, helping us to a 2-1 win; putting us into the Red Champ bracket.
We got a bye in the first round as the team we were scheduled to play didn't show. We had an early game the next day, but no difference from the first games, conceding first midway through the first half. It was all IMG after that point, squandering chance after chance, until the last 5 minutes of the game. We had another two goal hero, Rygo Morales, who scored two in the last 4 minutes, sending us to the finals of this bracket. We carried over the performance in the semis by controlling the game but not creating good chances to score. It was 0-0 until the last 5 minutes, when another mental mistake at the back gave the other team a 1-0 victory. So it is evident what we need to work on as a team to get better individually and as a team. It always makes things harder conceding first, so it's definitely a couple things we can brush up on.