Herndon United made the transition from U14 to U15 over the summer, and with that comes the difficult short turnaround from spring to fall State Cup. Without having much time to enjoy their success from the U14 competition, United were determined to improve on their showing in the next competition.
After finishing as finalists in the spring, United were awarded the #2 overall seed and with it, a bye through the first round of the competition. Their first game would be against New River Elite, who coincidentally were the first opponents of the last State Cup run as well. Winners in their first game 4-0, the team came in with confidence and wasn’t rattled after United opened the scoring in the first minutes. They would level the score and take the game to halftime at 4-2 with United not clicking fully. The second half saw a dramatic improvement in United’s play as they put the game out of reach, finishing with a score of 10-2.
The quarterfinal round was next and saw United versus McLean Green, winners of their opening two matches. The game was defensive and very well organized for both teams without many scoring chances early on. United grabbed the lead and momentum right before the break with a fantastic goal from distance. The strike energized the team and they carried the momentum into the second half, scoring again midway through the period. The final result finished 2-0 and took them to the semifinals to play Vienna Patriots Black. A poor showing in the first half had United down 1-0 at the break, but a surge in effort put the team firmly in control as they got two goals in quick succession. The result was sealed on a sequence a few minutes later when a Vienna player was given a straight red card for a challenge and Herndon scored on the ensuing free kick to make the score 3-1.
A rematch of the U14 final awaited versus FCV Premier. United’s performance was considerably improved and the game went to halftime 0-0 with both teams having had some quality chances to score. Premier went ahead on a strike to the upper corner from outside the box, and from that point United raised their level substantially. Numerous chances were created but between Premier’s keeper making some fantastic saves and a goal called back on a tight offside call, United wasn’t able to equalize.
While they finished as Finalists again, both the scoreline and the run of play were major improvements from the final a few months before, and United will regroup and look to improve next year in the U16 edition of State Cup.