THE MINNESOTA State Cup continued at the weekend with the majority of semi-final pairings across boys and girls sections now decided.
Indeed, most of the semi-final match-ups will be played on Saturday with the Championship deciders taking place on Sunday at Isanti.
The boys U13 semis will be see Group A winners Thunder West v Group B runner-up Minneapolis United, while in the other game, Group B toppers Plymouth will meet Group A’s second placed St Croix.
The rest of the boys’ categories contain three groups with the Group A winner meeting the Wildcard qualifier, while the winners of groups B and C will compete for the second final berth.
At U14, Thunder Elite will meet Group B runner-up and Wildcard entry, St Paul United, while Lakeville will tussle with Minneapolis United with the prize a spot in Sunday’s final.
It was another Thunder side who topped Group A at U15, this time the East selection and they meet St Louis Park, while Group B and C winners, Edina and Plymouth complete the final four.
The first U16 semi-final will be contested between two Minnesota Thunder teams as Elite will meet their West cousins – the winner meeting either North Suburban Soccer or Eden Prairie in Sunday’s showpiece.
St Croix topped Group A at U17 and they will attempt to overcome Thunder West (Premier) on Saturday, while in the other semi-final, Shattuck-St Mary’s will try to navigate their way around the challenge of Group C winners, Plymouth.
The boys U18 semi-final pairings were decided last month as this category is a straight knock-out competition and on Saturday, Thunder Elite face Plymouth while Blackhawks meet Bloomington on the adjoining field – both games have an 11.30pm start.
The U13 and U14 semi-finals for girls have yet to be decided. Saturday will see the final round of group games and on Sunday the Championship game competitors will be decided – those games are scheduled for June 5 along with the U19 decider.
However, at U15 through to U18, the same format applies to the boys as the semi-finals take place on Saturday while the winners will decide the destination of this year’s title’s on Sunday.
The U15 semis will be contested between Eden Prairie and Wildcard team, Dakota Rev, while group B and C winners, St Croix and Thunder Elite square-off in the other game.
There is a slight alteration to the U16 match-ups as Group A winner, Wayzata, will face Group C winner, Twin Cities Fire. The Wildcard qualifier, Thunder East, therefore have the honour of meeting Burnsville Fire from Group B in the other contest, the Thunder having just narrowly being squeezed out of top spot in Group A.
There were four groups at U17 with the winners of each advancing. Thunder East from Group A will do battle with Thunder Elite (1) from Group D while the winners of B and C, St Croix and Thunder Elite (2) make up the other pairing – a good return for the Minnesota Thunder organization who saw all three entrants advance from the group stage.
Finally, with just two groups at U18, the top two of each make up the final four and Eden Prairie lived up to their pre-tournament billing as favourites by easing through Group A with a perfect record – their reward being a match-up with Group B runner-up Bloomington, while Group B winners St Croix will face Thunder Elite.
With the main contenders now decided and so much to play for over the weekend, there is no doubt that Isanti is the place to be this weekend for lovers of Minnesota soccer. By Sunday evening the majority of champions in this year’s State Cup will be crowned so organizers are again expecting bumper crowds in attendance to help roar their respective side’s to victory.