RSL Florida’s girls under-18 coach Jim Cote wasn’t particularly happy with his side’s intensity on Thursday night, even though they came away with victory in its opening game of the Disney Soccer Showcase.
Apparently, his side got the message. On Friday night, RSL’s pace down the wings was the key as it defeated West Virginia United 4-0, setting up a game on Saturday against the Farmingdale Freedom from New York that will determine which side advances as the group winner.
“They knew that I wasn’t happy last night,” Cote said. “The captains got them going without me saying anything tonight, so they were ready to go.”
Thea Linkfield and Niki Carter both had strong performances, and were each rewarded with a goal for their efforts down the flanks. Cote said Linkfield, Carter and Jordan Johnson, who moved from her normal central midfield spot to play out wide at times, were pivotal in getting behind the current West Virginia state champions defense, creating numerous chances.
“They’re a quality team,” Cote said. “I think the pace and field was too big for them. Thea and Niki and Jordan Johnson, they just couldn’t handle the pace of those kids.”
Should RSL win, it could face the Clearwater Chargers, who earned their second win in as many games with a 3-2 victory against Laroca FC from Utah.
Also picking up its second win in as many games was the Brandon Flames girls under-15 side, which used a strong first half to defeat the Greensboro Twisters 5-2, winning its group in the process.
Brandon took a 3-0 halftime lead, but the Twisters rallies to cut the lead to 3-2 early in the second half. The Flames were able to retain their composure, though, and added another pair of goals to put the game away.
“(Greensboro) was good,” Flames coach Randy Belli said. “I don’t think the score was indicative of how good that team is.”
The Flames have now scored nine goals in their opening two games, something that Belli credits to the way the side is executing when faced with good opponents.
“I think a lot of players are stepping up and performing well,” Belli said. “It’s been a solid team effort. We’re getting a lot of goals scored from a lot of different players, and they’re playing well within the system. I think they believe in each other, and they’re pushing hard to be in the right places, make the right decisions and do the right things, and that’s what’s generating all the goal scoring.”
The Clearwater Chargers girls under-17 team was the only local side not to win on Friday, as it earned a second straight tie, 2-2 against the Scorpions SC. That leaves the Chargers in third place in its group, but a win on Saturday against the Michigan Hawks would put them at least into second place in the group and a fourth game on Sunday.
The Chargers could even win them the group should they get the right result in the other game in the group on Saturday.