Dev. Academy: Crew SA tour Texas, Galaxy-Chivas USA rivalry resumes
By Jimmy LaRoue
Chivas USA rallied for a 1-1 draw against Strikers FC to hold onto its SoCal Division lead in Under-17/18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy play last weekend.
Sean Dhillon scored first for Strikers (5-9-2, 1-5-1) in the 11th minute, and the score stayed that way until Ben Spencer’s strike in the 72nd minute. Chivas USA (11-3-3, 6-1-3) is just two points ahead of LA Galaxy (11-1-3, 6-1-1), who were off last weekend.
Both the Galaxy and Chivas USA play twice this weekend against the same opponents on alternating days, taking on both Cal Odyssey and San Jose Earthquakes, two teams in the lower half of the Northwest Division standings.
The teams’ U-15/16 teams also play each other as well, with the LA Galaxy (8-3-4, 5-1-2) in second place, just a point behind Real Salt Lake AZ (12-3-2, 6-1-0) in the SoCal Division standings. RSL AZ takes on Strikers FC (5-8-3, 2-3-2) and Pateadores (7-4-7, 3-4-3) this weekend. In RSL AZ’s last matchup with Pateadores, it lost 2-0 on Feb. 18.
The Texas Division, playing a 10-month season, has been the most active, but with the warmer weather, look for Frontier Division and Great Lakes Division action to take center stage beginning this week.
In the U-17/18s, Texas Division leaders FC Dallas (17-1-3, 14-1-1) rebounded from the previous week’s 1-1 tie to defeat Classics Elite (3-14-1, 2-11-0) 5-0, getting two goals each from Michael Ambrose and Marco Ortiz. FC Dallas is in the middle of a seven-game homestand, hosting two matches this weekend with the Great Lakes Division’s Crew Soccer Academy (5-0-1, 1-0-0) and Internationals (4-1-0, 0-0-0). Crew Soccer Academy is 2-0-1 since resuming play this month following a three-month layoff.
Crew Soccer Academy’s two DA teams finish off a two-game Texas swing with matches Sunday against Dallas Texans.
New York Red Bulls and Oakwood Soccer Club U-17/18s played an eight-goal thriller, with the teams coming out with a 4-4 tie. Red Bulls Brandon Allen and Scott Thomsen both scored twice, as did Oakwood’s Stanley Sandoval, but it was Matthew Berry who rescued the point for Oakwood with a 90th minute goal to level the match.
D.C. United started its spring by splitting a pair of matches with the New England Revolution Saturday, with the U-17/18s taking a 4-2 decision, and the U-15-16s getting shut out 3-0 in East Conference play.
In the win, Marcus Salandy-Defour started the scoring in the 16th minute, and Jannik Eckenrode picking up a goal in the 30th minute. New England pulled a goal back before the half from Peguy Ngatcha in the 41st minute. In the second half, New England equalized in the 58th minute from Mitchell Taintor before United took the lead for good in the 63rd minute, benefiting from a Willis Griffith own-goal. United added an insurance goal from Collin Martin six minutes later.
United’s two DA teams took the field again Sunday, with the U-17/18s picking up a 3-3 tie with FC Greater Boston, getting two goals from Jose Porteria and another from Patrick Foss. The Boston side, though, rallied from a 3-1 deficit to pull out the tie. Matthew Dias Costa, like Porteria, scored twice for FC Greater Boston.
United’s U-15/16s, meanwhile, fell for the second time on the weekend, getting a lone goal from Rafael Fagundo in a loss to FC Greater Boston.
Baltimore Bays Chelsea U-17/18s picked up two wins this weekend, going on the road to beat NY Cosmos Academy 2-0 Saturday on goals from Christian Morales and Michael Gamble.
Bays followed that up with a win Sunday against Met Oval, 5-1. Neither team scored in the first half before Bays unleashed a five-goal second-half barrage, which included two goals from Yaw Amankwa, another from Gamble and Morales and one more from Christian Porras.
Bays’ U-15/16 squad, meanwhile, picked up a 3-0 win against NY Cosmos Academy Saturday.
In other U-15/16 play, Empire United’s Matthew Tucker scored twice, but it wasn’t enough to overcome FC Delco, who won 4-2 in an intradivision matchup. FC Delco picked up a second win over the weekend with a 4-0 shutout of Seacoast United, getting two goals from George Tsirukis.
East Conference play this weekend will see more intradivision games.
North Carolina Fusion’s U-17/18s rallied from a two-goal deficit with four second-half goals to defeat Weston FC 4-2 after tying Kendall SC 1-1 Saturday. Fusion, along with the other North Carolina teams in the Southeast Division, is playing catch-up with the Virginia teams while they are off due to high school play. CASL Chelsea Academy’s U-17/18s, meanwhile, got two-goal performances from Fernando Castellanos and Alex Herbst in a 5-1 win Sunday over Kendall SC, rebounding from a 3-2 loss the day before to Weston FC.
Virginia Rush rallied from an early deficit to pick up a 2-1 win over the Richmond Strikers at Striker Park Saturday in U.S. Soccer Development Academy Under-15/16 play on Saturday.
Gil Topaz tallied his third goal of the season in the 18th minute for Strikers, but Rush equalized nine minutes later on a goal from David Kotarides off a corner. It was Kotarides’ first goal of the season.
The Strikers (2-16-3, 1-8-1 South Conference, Atlantic Division), despite their seventh-place standing, kept the match even with the first-place Rush until midway through the second half.
But Rush, controlling play with their pace and strong defending, picked up the matchwinner in the 74th minute from Cole Smith, who volleyed a deflected shot into the upper left corner of the net for his third goal of the season.
“We did get a good goal at the end,” Rush coach Jay Hoffman told The Soccer Wire after the match. “I think it was good, especially since we go down 1-0 and find a way to get ourselves back in the game and get it back to even.
“I’m very pleased with our level of play. I thought the ball movement was good. We created some good chances. It’d be nice to see a little bit more out of them, but at the same time, I think this group’s making some real good progress.”
He said there was good effort from the entire team in the match.
“I think the good thing about this team is that it is a team,” Hoffman said. “Everybody contributes…You look at our guys all the way through and they play on both sides of the ball, they compete, and to say that one guy is better than another – it’s a team. We need all of them to contribute.”
Goalkeeper Logan Ratner preserved the win with a key save late in the match, while Sebastian Joly, one of Potomac Soccer Wire’s Korrio Players to Watch honorees this month, anchored Rush’s defensive effort.
With Rush (10-9-4, 7-3-2 Atlantic Division) facing a gap in the schedule until June due to high school play, Hoffman plans to have them train just once a week on the weekends, as most of Rush’s players will be playing twice or more per week with their school teams. Hoffman also coaches the U-17/18 Rush DA squad (1-19-3, 0-12-0) which lost 3-1 to Strikers (3-15-3, 2-6-2) Saturday.
In that game, Strikers scored the lone goal in the first half from Todd Wharton in the 18th minute, and then the two teams exchanged three goals in a span of seven minutes. Luc Fatton struck in the 52nd minute, and four minutes later, Rush’s Thomas Whiteside cut the gap to 2-1 before Gawa Sunang-Sihle extended Strikers’ lead, providing the final margin of victory.
Hoffman said the club has made a conscious decision to go young with Rush’s U-17/18 DA squad, with six of them eligible to play for the U-15/16s. It might mean struggles now, having won just once and tied three in 23 matches this season, but he expects it to pay off in the next couple of years as his players mature and gain the full benefit from their experiences.
Looking to the future, Rush’s U-15/16 squad has just three 1995-birth year players, with the rest born in 1996. The inexperience led to some early losses, but the team has learned some quick lessons that are translating into positive results.
“I think in the beginning of the season, some of these guys were new coming over, and, no matter how you slice it, the academy is at a different level,” Hoffman said. “I don’t think, sometimes, that everybody realizes that.”