CARROLLTON, TEXAS -- Defending Boys Under-14 champions Inocentes Jr began its title quest, playing two of its three matches on Day 2 of Copa ESPN 2011 on Saturday.
Inocentes blanked ASG 97B Gold West 3-0 in their day game and won a tight, 1-0 battle against TFC 97 to become one of three undefeated teams in the Under-14 bracket.
“Well honestly, I’m not too happy about this win,” said forward Oscar Romero about the victory over TFC. “We played really sloppy. I think we could’ve beaten this team easily, at least 4-0. Our minds kind of got lost in the second half… At the end we came out with the win, that’s what counts.”
Incoentes didn’t have their offense going against TFC but played a physical game defensively, charging any possible TFC attack and cutting off crosses. Goalie Cirilo Castillo stopped a number of TFC’s shots on goal to preserve the shutout against a team that scored two goals in its first match Friday.
“We had a pretty good first half,” Castillo said. “This team wasn’t as easy as we expected. Luckily we were able to come out with a goal in the first half, but the second half we started falling apart a little bit. It’s a good thing we kept our composure and came through with a win.”
The 12 teams in the Under-14 tournament are fighting for one of four semifinal slots, with the winner taking an all-expenses paid trip to Orlando, Fla., to play in the Disney Cup International on July 11-16.
Castillo said he’s never been to Disney World... well, not yet.
“It’d mean a lot,” Castillo said. “We have a great team, great people and great players. As long as we keep ourselves together, there’s no team that can beat us.”
Romero grew up an hour outside Orlando and moved to the metroplex almost three years ago. As much as he would love to visit a place he knows well, Romero doesn’t want to get distracted from the job at hand.
“We are the champs, but we can’t get cocky,” Romero said. “We have to remain focused. We have to play hard, give it out and see what happens.”
In it’s first year at Copa ESPN, recreational team TSSA Maquina moved to 2-0, defeating Division I classic Solar White 95B 2-1 Saturday.
“Beating Solar is a great thing,” Maquina manager Gabriel Hernandez said. “Nobody knows us. There is competition out there in Fort Worth and I think we just let them know that we came for the win.”
Forward Nestor Martinez received a through ball and took off to break the tie in the second half. It’s Martinez’s second appearance at Copa ESPN. He was a part of the Under-14 champions Inconetes squad and hopes to take his experience into the final day of the tournament Sunday.
“It was rough because we were all tired,” said Martinez about the last year’s final day. “We were wore out, but it’ll start getting rough and people will start getting cards.”
Maquina and Boca Juniors F.C. 95B Gold are the only two undefeated teams left in the Boys Under-16 tournament. Though the championship will be played Sunday, the finalists for this tournament will play a friendly after an FC Dallas game at Pizza Hut Park in July.