The 216 club soccer teams competing in the Midwest Regional Cup have so little room for error that even a tie in pool play can end the chances of playing for a championship.

The 216 club soccer teams competing in the Midwest Regional Cup have so little room for error that even a tie in pool play can end the chances of playing for a championship.

Central Ohio teams are proof, as none has won a regional title since the Crew Juniors Under-19 boys squad did so in 2012.

Six area teams will compete in this year's regional, which runs Friday, June 24, through Wednesday, June 29, at Grand Park Sports Complex in Westfield, Indiana.

Those stakes are one reason Crew SC Pre-Academy U18 boys coach Steven McCarthy couldn't have asked for a better mindset from his team as it prepared for regional. Most of his players were on the Crew Pre-Academy U17 squad that finished second in its four-team pool last year, going 2-1.

"It's all do-or-die," McCarthy said. "You play so many games in club soccer, and a lot of them are showcases. Some of the games really don't matter. Here, there is no game that doesn't matter, and you can't take any time off. My guys have that mindset."

Two area boys teams -- Club Ohio U14 and Ohio Premier Green U16 -- advanced to this year's regional by winning State Cup championships. Four other teams -- Crew SC Pre-Academy U18 boys, Ohio Premier Green U18 boys, Blast F.C. U17 boys and Classic Eagles U17 girls -- qualified as representatives of the Midwest Regional League.

More than 270 preliminary games will be played as boys and girls US Youth Soccer State Cup champions, select wildcards and Midwest Regional League qualifiers in the U13 through U19 age groups compete. All of the age divisions have been divided into three- or four-team brackets, with each team playing a game within its bracket Friday, June 24, Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26.

The bracket winners advance to semifinals Tuesday, June 28, with regional finals being played the next day.

Regional champions in each age group advance to the U.S. Youth Soccer Association National Championships, scheduled for July 14-17 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Ohio Premier

Although midfielders and defenders have played a big part in OP Green U16's success, coach Travis Wall said no particular area stands above the rest.

"We've been a very balanced team from the beginning," Wall said. "We have a lot of very good athletes, and a lot of them are in the midfield. But if they aren't playing well one day, another area is definitely capable of picking up the slack."

Forward Luke Kiley converted on a penalty kick after the second overtime of the state final to give OP Green a 2-1 win over the Ohio Galaxy. OP Green had lost a 1-0 lead with about four minutes left in regulation, and Kiley overcame having missed a penalty kick in a semifinal the previous day.

According to Wall, the team's top players include midfielders Colin McCort and Carter Patchett, goalkeeper Bryant Pratt, defender Matthew Streator and midfielder/defender Matt Walters.

Most of the players on OP Green U16 lost in a U13 regional final in 2013 and lost to eventual U15 national champion Sporting Kansas City on penalty kicks in a regional semifinal last year.

OP Green U18 relied on a potent offense to go 7-0 in the MRL, averaging about three goals per game and enjoying strong goalkeeping from J.P. Baughman and Brennan Davis. Davis, an Ohio State recruit from Dublin Jerome High School, is working his way back from a torn ACL.

Baughman was DeSales' starting goalie on its Division II state championship teams each of the past two seasons. He is one of six Ohio Wesleyan recruits on the team.

"At one point, we went four-plus games without giving up a goal, and we were scoring a boatload," said coach David Winner, who was a goalie on the University of Tampa's 1994 Division II national title team. "Our defense called itself the 'No Goal Patrol.' The incredible thing about this season is how the boys as a whole have bought in all season. You're not going to go 7-0 in a league as good as the MRL if you aren't all on the same page."

Midfielder Jack Holland also is an Ohio State recruit.

Other top players include forwards Isaac Arefi, Cole Heilman, Ryan Lang, Nathan Trinh and Brian Woo, midfielder Antonio Romanelli and defenders Matt Kiley and Matt Scolari.

OP Green U18 will be without Pittsburgh recruit Hunter Gordon, a defender from Division I state champion Cleveland St. Ignatius who is attending summer school at Pitt. Luke Bean, from Olentangy Liberty, is taking Gordon's place on the roster.

Club Ohio

Coach Steve Dawson liked his U14 Club Ohio team even before some key additions during tryouts last summer, and a successful streak during the fall only strengthened his opinion heading into the regional.

"I took over in the spring (of 2015) and we had a decent team, but we added some players in tryouts that filled some holes," said Dawson, who coached the Wittenberg men's team from 1983-87 and 1989-2014. "We played maybe 30 (games) last fall and lost only once. We developed really well and we realized this would be a team to reckon with."

Those pickups were defenders Shawn Carrier and Logan Clute, midfielder Mu Li and forward Owen Thompson. They complemented an offense paced by midfielder Jagger Brooker, forward Jack Francisco, forward/midfielder Zack McQuade and forward/defender Sean Thornier.

"He had maybe seven (three-goal games) in the fall," Dawson said of Francisco, an incoming freshman at DeSales. "If he isn't scoring, he is helping make goals happen."

Dawson also lauded the play of defenders Vic Hudson, Nate Logozzo, Jayden Sharpe and Ryan Walters and goalie Theron Hanlon.

Crew SC

McCarthy said almost everything has gone according to plan this season for Crew SC Pre-Academy U18, from which most players were on a state title U17 team last year.

"Pretty much the whole season has gone how we expected, at least at or above our expectations," McCarthy said. "This is a very good group. They know their roles. They've made sure when we get on top in a game, they stay on top and play for an entire 90 minutes."

Forwards Cameron Christian and Jamie Robson have paced the offense, with able help from midfielders Jack Brooks, Jared Gerlacher, Cole Popelas and Nick Taylor. The defense has been led by Nesta Hejduk, Zach Judas, Matt Pardi and Matthew Roldon.

Hejduk is the oldest son of former Crew SC and U.S. National Team standout Frankie Hejduk.

"Our stated goal was just to get here and advance," McCarthy said. "We're a very, very balanced team. I could list almost the entire team (in terms of) guys who have contributed. Jared and Cole have dominated in the center midfield. Cameron and Jamie probably have 75 percent of our goals, but everybody has figured in somehow."

Blast F.C.

The core of a team that lost in a U16 regional semifinal last year and finished second in its U15 pool two years ago returned for Blast F.C. U17.

"This is this team's fifth time at the regional," coach Lesh Shkreli said. "It's just a good group that is focused. We've been very fortunate to keep this team together. The chemistry is very good. We've been very strong defensively and we're averaging two or three goals a game. We're strong in a lot of places, but we're probably strongest in the (defense) through the (midfield)."

Jeremy Karr and Kyle Morais have split time in goal. Charlie Marshall and Ryan Schoener help lead the defense at center back, along with Josh Grant and Logan Wiest at center back as well as Nick Neville, Kristo Strickler and Connor Weber in the midfield.

Leading the forwards are River Allbaugh, Josh Boamah and Ben Sobotka.

According to Shkreli, Blast F.C. has defeated each of the other three teams in its pool this season.

"It's all out there for us, and now we just have to perform," he said.

Classics Eagles

Classics Eagles Red U17 hopes its balanced, and sometimes abundant, scoring continues into the regional.

Sarina Dirrig and Emily Ganz both have 10 goals and Grace DeLuca has eight as 13 players have scored at least one goal. The team has 52 goals in 19 games.

"This has always been a team that has been successful because of the group (approach)," coach Brandon Koons said. "These girls have found a way to score goals in bunches. Many times this season, teams have held us out for long periods, but our eventual breakthrough was followed by one or two more goals in the next few minutes."

Goalie Katie Luce and defenders Emma Koshan and Kennedy Wells have led the defense.

Many of the players on the roster were on a team that fell short of advancing from a competitive pool play group at regional last year.

"Having had that experience, we'll go into this year's event without the anxiety of it being the first time," Koons said.