Day two of the 2017 NPSL Showcase provided two tough matches in front of a number of MLS, NASL, and USL executives and coaches that provided high-quality soccer bent on attracting the interests of hopefully earning one of the participants a shot at playing in the pro ranks.
The first got underway in the morning under a crisp, yet bright California sun between the South Region side and the West Region side.
The South got off to a fast start and pushed the pace against a three-man backline for the West. The South managed to hit the crossbar three times, but couldn’t find the back of the net in the first half.
Coming out of halftime, the West made some key substitutions to spur their offense towards taking all three points away from the game.
That attack culminated in the 71st minute of the match when (M/D) Andre Brown of the Sacramento Gold broke away from the pack and slotted home a shot past a frozen goalkeeper to put the West ahead 1-0.
The South desperately tried to equalize, but their effort fell short.
The second game of the day provided a fun affair between the Northeast Region and Midwest Region.
Their match kicked off around 3 p.m. local time and the Midwest looked decisive and calm with the ball throughout the first 30 minutes of the match.
Yet, in the 32nd minute of the match, (F) Ryan Morris of the Clarkstown Eagles got a long ball played to him over the top, rounded the keeper and slotted home a goal to give the Northeast a lead from a very tight angle.
Three minutes later, the Midwest would not go quietly. (CB) Luke La Vanway from the Sonoma County Sol FC got on the end of a Midwest and put his effort into the back of the net to equalize just before halftime.
The match stayed tied all the way until the end of 90 minutes despite a lively effort from both sides in the 2nd half. We immediately went to PK’s and the Midwest won those by a score line of 4-2.
Day two ended very nicely at the Manhattan Beach Country Club where the league hosted guest speaker Chris Ramsey, technical director of the Queens Park Rangers.
He spoke for about 15 minutes and followed that up with an extensive Q&A for the players to ask whatever they liked of him. Ramsey graciously spoke about the multiple heartaches he had to overcome in the soccer world.
Ramsey also spoke to them about what it takes to be a professional and how to carry themselves, asking: “Do you have the desire to protect what you love most no matter the obstacle?”
Looking ahead to Day three, the championship match will be played by between the Midwest and the West at 10 a.m. local time followed by the consolation match between the Northeast and the South at 11:40 a.m.