Development Academy: Local derbies in the spotlight
By Jimmy LaRoue
Two undefeated U-18 teams will take the field with first place on the line when the Chicago Fire take on city rivals Sockers FC Saturday.
Both teams have given up just one goal apiece in the early going, while the Fire’s offense has been prolific, picking up a Mid-America Division-high 13 goals so far, led by Jeffrey Farina’a seven goals and Marcus Epps’ three goals. Sockers are led by a pair of two-goal scorers–Ayodele Makinde and Kirill Likhovid.
Other local rivalry games of note:
• A Northeast Division matchup Sunday with Albertson SC and the New York Red Bulls. Neither club’s U-16 teams have given up a goal, while each team is tied atop the division at 3-0-0. It’ll be interesting to see what gives, if anything, in this matchup. The two clubs’ U-18s are also tied for first place–along with BW Gottschee Academy–with 2-0-1 records. All three of those clubs’ U-18s are averaging three goals per game, while Albertson has given up just one goal in three matches.
• There will be Georgia on the mind as Concorde Fire takes on Georgia United Sunday. Both clubs’ U-16s are 1-0-1 to begin the season. Edan Mendoza has two of United’s three goals. The two clubs’ U-18s are 1-1-0.
• The Mid-America Conference will feature a matchup of two Michigan-based U-16 teams who have gotten off to strong starts–Crew Soccer Academy Wolves (3-0-0) and Vardar SC Freiburg (2-0-1). CSA Wolves are led by
• MLS-based Frontier Division teams FC Dallas (both the U-16s and U-18s 1-0-0) and Houston Dynamo (both clubs 1-0-1) face off. FC Dallas’ U-16s will be returning to Houston for the first time since winning the 2011-12 championship.
The Richmond Kickers will have a tough matchup this Sunday, especially with their thus-far winless U-16s (0-3-0), as they take on 4-0-0 D.C. United, who are led by Gerson Umana’s four goals.
The two clubs’ U-18 matchup should be an interesting one, as the Kickers have gotten off to a 2-0-1 start, while United is 2-1-1. United’s Kennedy O’Shea and Denis Najar each have three goals, while the Kickers feature two three-goal scorers of their own–Finnlay Wyatt and Tyler Slayton.
In another Atlantic Division matchup, 3-0-0 Baltimore Bays Chelsea U-16s play Sunday at Potomac. Should Bays Chelsea and D.C. United both win, it would set up a matchup of two undefeated teams the following weekend. Bays Chelsea are led by Abdallah Bangura, who has four of the team’s five goals.