Development Academy teams make final playoff push
By Jimmy LaRoue
With this being the final weekend of U.S. Soccer Development Academy play, many teams are still trying to secure their place into the postseason.
Here’s the playoff breakdown by age group, conference and division:
The Mid-Atlantic Division’s Baltimore Bays Chelsea, on a 20-game unbeaten string, clinched a playoff spot last weekend, but one spot in the division is still open, and FC Delco controls its own fate to secure the spot.
FC Delco needs a win or draw against Bays Chelsea to clinch the spot. If it falters, however, third-place PA Classics, which trail by three points, or DC United, trailing by six points, could sneak into the final division spot, as it has two games remaining this weekend.
In the Northeast Division, three teams are in the hunt with two games remaining over the weekend. Empire United has a two-point lead over the New England Revolution, while FC Greater Boston, in fourth place, is six points back and has to win both of its games to keep its playoff hopes alive.
The Liberty Division’s top two teams are set, with the New York Red Bulls and Players Development Academy clinching the top two spots. The two teams play each other tomorrow.
Shattuck-Saint Mary’s Soccer Academy of Minnesota has locked up first place, and it is up to the second place Colorado Rapids and the fourth-place Colorado Rush to clinch the second and final division playoff spot.
The Rapids currently have a one-point lead, and Rush could slide into the spot with a win over Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
In the Texas Division, FC Dallas long ago clinched a playoff spot, but second place is still up for grabs on the final weekend. Current second-place holders Solar Chelsea SC controls its own fate, playing Texas Rush, while third place Texans SC Houston faces the Dallas Texans Saturday.
The Chicago Fire and Vardar SC Freiburg have locked up the top two division spots in the Great Lakes Division.
No one has clinched a division spot, with four teams still in contention for two spots. That includes Charlotte Soccer Academy, which holds first place by two points over McLean Youth Soccer and CASL Chelsea FC Academy, who won 5-0 over the Richmond Kickers Wednesday to slide into that spot.
McLean and CASL will settle matters Saturday when they face off at noon at Spring Hill Park–U.S. Soccer Foundation Field.
Fourth place North Carolina Fusion, meanwhile, is still in contention for a wild card spot.
The top two spots in the Southeast Division are set, with those going to first place South Carolina United Battery and Concorde Fire.
The regular season schedule is complete, with Vancouver Whitecaps FC and De Anza Force clinching division playoff spots in the Northwest Division. The LA Galaxy and Chivas USA have clinched playoff spots in the SoCal Division.
Do the math in the Mid-Atlantic Division. It’ll be a challenge.
Four teams still have a chance to clinch the two division spots. FC Delco is in front with one game to play, three points ahead of PA Classics and four points ahead of Baltimore Bays Chelsea. Bays Chelsea has two games remaining. Even fifth-place D.C. United has an outside chance at one of the top two division spots with two games remaining, as it is five points behind FC Delco.
While fourth place NJSA 04 cannot clinch one of the top two spots, it still has a chance for a wild card berth.
In the Northeast Division, three teams are fighting for two division spots. FC Greater Boston is tied for the top of the division with two games to play. Oakwood Soccer Club has wrapped up its regular season. Both Oakwood and FC Greater Boston have 19 points.
The New England Revolution are in third place with 17 points and have two games to play.
In the Liberty Division, Players Development Academy has clinched one of the two division spots. Second place Albertson SC and fourth place New York Red Bulls are battling for the second division spot, with Albertson two points ahead.
Albertson faces FC Westchester Saturday, while the Red Bulls face PDA.
In the Frontier Division, St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri clinched a division spot last weekend.
The second spot will be decided this weekend between its current occupiers, Real Colorado, and third place Shattuck-Saint Mary’s Soccer Academy, while Real Colorado has finished up its regular season and awaits the fallout.
Shattuck trails Real Colorado by two points with one regular season game remaining.
In the Great Lakes Division, the top two have been decided, but first place, specifically, has not. Crew Soccer Academy Wolves and Chicago Fire are tied atop the division, and no one else in the division can crack the top two.
However, the Chicago Fire still have a game to play; a win or tie against Indiana United Fire Academy would secure first place for Chicago.
In the Texas Division, Solar Chelsea SC and Texans SC Houston are playing for the final division spot, as the Dallas Texans have clinched the first place spot. Texans SC Houston faces Dallas Texans Saturday, while Solar Chelsea, one point behind second place Texans SC Houston, hosts Texas Rush.
All division spots are secure among its clubs. Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders have the top two places in the Northwest Division, while the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake AZ have clinched the top two spots in the SoCal Division.