TWO FEATURE GAMES CLOSE OUT 2018 WINTER SHOWCASE

By Marc Serber

The penultimate day of the Girls' U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase kicks off Saturday. The weekend will mark the final two days of the fall session before the teams go into hibernation from regular season play for the holidays and futsal period.

These two days will see out the end of a soccer smorgasbord, concluding 558 Development Academy matches played over two weeks at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.

Here is a look at the two matches that will be livestreamed on ussoccerda.com, the Development Academy Facebook page, the Development Academy Twitter feed and U.S. Soccer's YouTube channel.

U-16/17: Oakwood Soccer Club vs. Crossfire Premier - 1:15 p.m. ET

Oakwood is flying at the moment. Coming into the showcase, the Connecticut club won three of its matches by a touchdown and has dismantled the opposition with slick passing in midfield before deploying the killer ball. More often than not, Lumi Kostmayer is on the end of the defense splitting pass. Kostmayer has 15 goals in 11 appearances while Natalie Tavana has chipped in with 11 goals in 10 matches. The defense is just as strong with organization between the lines making it hard for opposing attackers to find space. The girls from Glastonbury will look to keep their sixth clean-sheet of the season in this classic East vs. West match-up.

Crossfire Premier came from the Northwest to the Southeast for three matches against teams from the opposite coast. Prior to coming across the country, Crossfire went undefeated in the Northwest Division, giving up just six goals in its first 10 matches in conference play. Just like Saturday's opponents, Crossfire loves to combine in order to break down the opposition. Maia Tabion has represented the U.S. at the U-15 level and can play along both the defense and forward lines. Zoe Burns and Sally Menti have spent time with the U-16 National Team pool and can feature together in midfield or Menti can play up top. If Crossfire can continue its defensive run and find the penetrating balls to unlock Oakwood's defense, then it may just be able to claim that, in this particular match-up, the West Coast is the best coast.

U-18/19: NEFC vs. Real So Cal - 3:30 p.m. ET

The majority of this NEFC side have been together since the U-13 level and the cohesion shows. The Boston-based club won 10 of its first 11 matches on the back of deadly finishing from Isabelle Aviza (14 goals in 11 games) and Gabriella Delpico (11 in 10). NEFC stresses purposeful possession, but Academy Director and head coach Nick Burke also gives his players the freedom to run at defenders and create off the dribble. It's worked well so far, as NEFC has already scored a whopping 56 goals while conceding just 11 at the other end. If the goal-fest continues, it will make for some very entertaining viewing.

Real So Cal has given up just one, that's right ONE, goal this season. The only time Real conceded was all the way back on September 15th in a 4-1 victory. Since then the club has pitched five consecutive shut-outs, setting up a match between the number two offense in the Development Academy and the number one defense. Chris Osment's side is not just known for its suffocating defense. Sister's Alyssa and Gisele Thompson have spent time in U.S. Youth National Team camps with the latter being brought up from Real's U-16/17s for the Winter Showcase. The attack also packs a punch of its own. Tori Waldeck has nine goals in seven games, while Thompson (of the Alyssa variety) has seven in seven. If Real's defense can stifle the train that is NEFC's offense and continue to take its chances at the other end, the Woodland Hills side just might extend its run to five wins on the trot.