FC Dallas Academy tops LA Galaxy 2-0 to win USSDA U-15/16 title
(Via U.S. Soccer) – FC Dallas survived an early onslaught and utilized goals from Aldo Quevedo and Jesus Ferreira to earn a 2-0 victory against the LA Galaxy in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-15/16 National Championship game at the National Training Center on Saturday.
The win marks the club’s second-straight U-15/16 title, making FC Dallas the first club in Development Academy history to win back-to-back championships at the same age level.
“We knew it was going to be the hardest game of the year,” said FC Dallas Academy Director and U-15/16 head coach Luchi Gonzalez. “We had our game plan, they had there’s. At one point they could have scored early and gone another way, but we worked hard, figured some things out, solved some problems and some things bounced our way.”
The Galaxy side carried the play early, coming away with the game’s two initial chances. In the seventh minute, the Galaxy worked a progressive attack up the left where Jonathan Estrada held the ball up before picking out Kevin Negrete at the top of the area. Negrete then laid off a pass for Jorge Hernandez on the right before the winger blasted an effort that careened off the lower right post and out for a corner kick.
The ensuing kick swung to the back post where Galaxy center back Ian Lonergan nodded the ball across to find Jake Arteaga, whose one-time effort was cleared off the line by FC Dallas midfielder Jommar Reyes.
The Galaxy would come close again in the 14th minute as Oscar Penate went on a strong individual run before seeing his initial shot from the top of the box blocked. Penate caught the bounce well and broke into the box, but put his follow up attempt right at Dallas goalkeeper Carlos Avilez.
Despite the Galaxy’s early pressure, FC Dallas would find the game’s first goal. Jacob Goyen won the ball on the right side before Jesus Ferreira hit a quick ball over the top. Forward Aldo Quevedo saw Alain Hernandez off his line and quickly played the ball over the head of the Galaxy ‘keeper which bounced into the net to give FCD a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.
“The first goal allowed us to calm down, refocus and reorganize,” added Gonzalez.
The Galaxy nearly equalized in the 27th minute when Penate’s pressure forced a turnover at the back. The ball bounced for Negrete, who played for Penate on the left before the Galaxy attacker cut inside and saw his well-hit effort tipped over the bar for a corner kick.
FC Dallas had two good chances to add another before halftime.
In the 34th minute, midfielder Brandon Servania beat his mark down the right and made a cut in towards goal before his driven shot to the back post was put out with a sprawling stop from Alain Hernandez.
Then in the 40th, left back Blake Willis found space on his overlapping run to send a cross to the back post for Quevedo. The FC Dallas goal scorer headed the ball back across goal for Bryan Reynolds, who nodded the second effort just wide of the right post.
FC Dallas continued to carry the attacking momentum on the other side of halftime when an errant Galaxy pass at midfield resulted in a quick ball from Servania for Reynolds up the left. Reynolds took on a Galaxy defender before cutting inside to hit a knuckling ball, which Hernandez bobbled before collecting in the 44th minute.
After knocking on the door, the second goal would come for FC Dallas in the 53rd minute. A seemingly harmless ball over the top from Brecc Evans became dangerous when Blake Willis muscled off a Galaxy defender to let the ball fall for Jesus Ferreira. Charging towards goal, the FCD attacker twisted through two Galaxy defenders before placing his effort inside the right post to make it 2-0.
FC Dallas stayed hungry and nearly found a third goal 10 minutes later, when Goyen won the ball on the right and strolled into the box only to see his effort saved by Hernandez who charged hard off his line.
With their backs against the wall, the Galaxy pressed to get back into the game and thought they’d cut the lead in half in the 67th minute. Second half substitute Efrain Alvarez slipped a ball through for Negrete whose layoff saw Penate finish inside the left post, but the celebrations were halted as the assistant referee’s flag was raised, indicating Negrete was offside on the play.
In the 70th minute Alvarez and Misael Becerra played a good combination on the left before Becerra let loose a hard blast straight into the hands of Avilez.
Five minutes later, the Galaxy earned a dangerous free kick opportunity 25 yards from goal. Jorge Hernandez bravely stepped up and saw his left footed effort inch just past the left post.
The Galaxy’s late charge came up short as FC Dallas closed out the game to clinch a second-straight U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Championship at the U-15/16 age group.
“Congrats to the LA Galaxy. They’re a great organization and we were honored to play them in the Final,” said Gonzalez. “I feel we earned it. Finals, you don’t always win. You feel you deserve it sometimes and maybe you don’t win. We pushed the game and tried to win from the beginning and I couldn’t be happier for our boys.”