Development Academy: Atlantic Division U-16s fare well at Winter Showcase
By Jimmy LaRoue
The area’s Under-16 Atlantic Division Development Academy teams fared well at the Winter Showcase in Florida, with each of the seven teams gaining at least a point, five of the seven picking up at least one win, and three of them–Baltimore Bays Chelsea, D.C. United and Potomac–scoring two wins each.
D.C. United had the best weekend of all among the local teams, scoring two wins and a tie over the three games, defeating North Carolina Fusion 6-1, beating FC Dallas 1-0 and tying Chivas USA 2-2.
After falling behind in the 21st minute to a goal from the Fusion’s Nicholas Mills, Julian Cummings responded just two minutes later with the equalizer, and United didn’t look back, getting four more goals before halftime. Those goals included a brace from Gerson Umana (31st, 44th minutes), who leads all academy U-16 players with 11 goals, along with a 34th minute goal from Graydon Hester and one from Milton Juarez, playing up by two years in his first game with United’s U-16s, scoring his first of the season in the 40th minute. Hester scored his second of the game in the 53rd minute.
Hester scored United’s lone goal in the 1-0 win over FC Dallas. United had to hold on after Steven Gandy received a red card, forcing United to play down a man for a significant stretch of the second half.
In United’s 2-2 tie with Chivas, Noah Pilato put United up 1-0 in the 25th minute, but needed Mike Monahan’s 75th minute goal to tie the match at 2-2.
“Overall, the trip was a complete success,” coach Tom Torres told the club’s website. “We set out for the boys to travel well and manage three matches in a short period of time, including two games versus quality MLS sides. To come out of the weekend with some real meaningful and exciting matches, in front of U.S. Soccer and a lot of college coaches really enhanced the players’ and staff’s development. We were proud that the group was also able to get some good results from the quality they showed. The will now get a much-deserved winter break, and then get back to work in late January.”
In the U.S. Soccer Select games, Gandy (U-16s) played the entire 90 minutes, while U-18 defender Suliaman Dainkeh played a half and U-18 Kainoa Bailey played the full 90 minutes on the right flank.
Potomac also won two of three matches, defeating Classics Elite 2-1 and Andromeda 1-0, only falling to Internationals 3-2 in the final game.
Potomac opened strong with a Matthew Gillis goal in the first minute, and went up 2-0 on a goal from Thomas Bernhardt-Lanier in the 25th minute. Chance McCarter pulled one back for Classics in the 31st minute, but Potomac held on for the win.
In its second match of the showcase, Potomac’s Nicholas Notaro scored the lone goal of the match in the 76th minute to give Potomac the victory.
In the final game against Internationals, Notaro gave Potomac the lead in the 14th minute. It held up through halftime until Jackson Jellah scored the first of his two goals in the 53rd minute. Matt Ramser gave Internationals the lead 11 minutes later, but in the 73rd minute, Daniel Kaiser tied the match for Potomac. But in the 80th minute, Jelleh scored his second of the match to provide what proved to be the game winner.
Baltimore Bays Chelsea also scored a pair of wins, but started the showcase with a 2-1 loss to Solar Chelsea SC before rebounding with a 1-0 win over South Carolina United Battery Academy, and a 3-0 win over Minnesota Thunder Academy.
The Richmond Kickers and Virginia Rush ended the showcase with four points each, scoring a tie and a win each to go along with one loss.
The Kickers tied Andromeda 1-1 and defeated Indiana Fire Academy 4-2 before falling 4-0 to Cal Odyssey, while Virginia Rush tied 2-2 with St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro and defeated Met Oval Juventus 7-0 before going down 4-0 to Texas Rush.
McLean Youth Soccer and Richmond Strikers each picked up a tie while losing twice in three showcase matches. McLean tied its opener 1-1 with Real Colorado, before falling 2-0 to FC Milwaukee and 5-0 to San Diego Surf. The Strikers, meanwhile, sandwiched a 1-1 tie with Seacoast United in between two, one-goal losses, 2-1 to Texas Rush and 1-0 to Nomads SC.
Local teams are off this weekend and resume action Dec. 15.