SBSC U17s advance to national semifinals

The Santa Barbara Soccer Club’s Boys Under-17 team won its group and advanced to the semifinals at the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships with a 4-0 win over PAC Indios of San Jose on Thursday in Tulsa, Okla.

Santa Barbara will play Arlington, Va. Impact on Saturday for a berth in the national final. This is the fourth straight year, this group from SBSC has reached the final four. It won national titles at the U14 and U15 levels and lost in the semifinals as U16s last year.

Thursday’s win gave Santa Barbara first place in Group A with seven points. Arlington Impact finished second in Group B.

Playing in extreme weather conditions of 97-degree heat and 90 percent humidity, Santa Barbara and PAC Indios were in scoreless battle until the last minute of the first half. Matthew Bautista was fouled outside the penalty area, giving SBSC a free kick from 25 yards. Francisco Arroyo beat the goalkeeper with a perfectly placed shot into the upper right corner for a 1-0 lead.

Santa Barbara carried the momentum in the second half and tallied two quick goals. Tanner Mees received a pass from Christian Lopez and  beat the goalkeeper from 16 yards out to the lower left corner for a 2-0 lead. Jules Pasco would make it 3-0 on an assist from Dennis Cole.  Pasco scored with a left–footed volley from 14 yards out to the upper left-hand corner.

Lucky Puengrod  scored the final goal, running on to a through ball from Cole and beating the goalkeeper from 16 yards out.

Santa Barbara finished group play with a 2-0-1 record.