Development Academy: D.C. United U-16s seek to continue perfect start to season
By Jimmy LaRoue
D.C. United’s Under-16 Development Academy team has raced out to a perfect start with seven wins in seven matches and leads second place Baltimore Bays Chelsea (5-1-1) by five points in the standings. United, too, has outscored opponents by a 25-5 margin.
United’s opponent on Saturday, Virginia Rush, are at the other end of the table, in 11th out of the 12 Atlantic Division teams at 1-4-0, having scored just three goals while giving up 16. (D.C. United vs. Virginia Rush: U-18s–1 p.m., U-16s–3:30 p.m., Long Bridge Park Field 1 Turf).
United’s U-16s are led by Gerson Umana’s seven goals and Jean-Christophe Koffi’s five goals. Six players for United – Julian Cummings, Steven Gandy, Graydon Hester, Austin Pelto, Justin Roberts and Umana – have started all seven of the team’s matches.
Rush, meanwhile, are led by James Ellis Jr.’s two goals in five matches, with four of their players having started all five matches – Ellis, Chad Kozoyed, Gabriel Tucker and goalkeeper Luke Williams.
United defeated Rush 3-0 back in September, getting goals from Umana, Roberts and Michael Monohan.
United’s U-18s have found similar success, but sit in second place on points with a 5-1-1 record behind PA Classics’ 19 points and 6-1-1 record. Just like the U-16s, United’s U-18s are similarly prolific goalscorers, leading the division with 24 goals, with 13 players contributing to that total. Jorge Calix and Denis Najar lead the team with four each, while Cristhyan Najar has three assists.
Rush’s U-18s have just one point in five matches, that coming in a 2-2 tie back in September with the Richmond Kickers. United’s U-18s defeated Rush 5-1 in the teams’ previous matchup, with goals coming from Calix, Rafael Fagundo, James Moreno and two from Kennedy O’Shea. Mason Duke had Rush’s lone goal.
On Sunday, McLean hosts Potomac in a pair of academy matchups (U-18s: 9 a.m., U-16s: 11 a.m., Spring Hill Park Field 5 Turf). McLean’s U-18s (4-3-1) are fifth in the division on points with 13, while Potomac (0-7-1) is still looking for its first win and is tied at the bottom of the table with Rush. Matthew Ledder, with five goals, is McLean’s leading scorer. Ledder scored McLean’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss last week to Players Development Academy.
McLean and Potomac’s U-16 squads are sitting in the bottom half of the division, with McLean at 2-6-0 and Potomac at 1-5-1. McLean are coming off a 2-0 loss to PDA, while Potomac fell last week 4-1 to undefeated D.C.