Red Bulls Academy, NYCFC Academy teams shine at Boys DA Playoffs
MLS affiliates NYCFC Academy and Red Bulls Academy turned in some strong performances at the U.S. Soccer Boys Development Academy Playoffs.
U-16/17 SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE
Sunday, July 8
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Barca Academy
Atlanta United FC vs. Montreal Impact
U-18/19 SEMIFINALS SCHEDULE
Sunday, July 8
New York City FC vs. Crew SC Academy
Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. LA Galaxy
In the under-18/under-19 age division NYCFC have advanced to the semifinals after an impressive run through the first two stages of the playoffs. In group play NYCFC in part advanced due to their 4-1 defeat of second-place Saint Louis FC Academy on matchday one. Midfielder Will Sands got things rolling with his goal in the 16th minute putting NYCFC up 1-0. While Saint Louis got one back just three minutes later thanks to a strike from forward Chris Bruch in the 19th minute, NYCFC’s attack was too much. Midfielder Jhonnatan Valbuena helped NYCFC regain the lead with his goal in the 25th minute. In the second insurance goals from forward Gio Reyna (65′) and defender Joseph Scally (77′) sealed the three points and inevitably gave their side the edge in advancing.
Their other major win in Group E came in the form of a 4-0 win over Sacramento Republic FC. Midfielders Justin Haak (52′) and Dante Polvara (72′) and forward Esad Mackic (73′ and 90′) supplied the goals for NYCFC. Meanwhile goalkeeper Johan Penaranda and the back line combined to earn the shutout for NYCFC.
In the Quarterfinals, NYCFC faced a difficult challenge in the form of Crossfire Premier, a side that scored 124 goals during the regular season. But NYCFC showed they were more than up for the challenging stymying the Crossfire attack and earning the 2-1 result. In the first half NYCFC took the match to the Crossfire defense with Haak (30′) and Mackic (39′) both scoring to give their side the 2-0 advantage. Although Crossfire did get to within one thanks to a goal from midfielder Charlie Ostrem in the 56th minute the NYCFC defense settled in during the final half hour to preserve the result. Defenders Scally, Sands, Kwaku Owusu and Nico Benalcazar (all 90 minutes) combined to limit Crossfire’s opportunities in NYCFC’s defensive third with concise clears and efficient passing.
NYCFC will go on to face Crew SC Academy in the under-18/under-19 Semifinals on Sunday, July 8 at Swope Soccer Park.
In the under-16/under-17 age division, the New York Red Bulls put up a strong run but ultimately fell short against Barca Academy in the Quarterfinals, losing 3-1 on Tuesday. Things started out in a promising manner for the Red Bulls as midfielder Balthazar Saunders scored in the 26th minute to give them the 1-0 advantage. But Barca’s multi-faceted attack continued to press the Red Bull defense and were ultimately successful in their efforts. Defender Julian Arajuo netted the equalizer in the 44th minute for Barca. In the second half Cameron Fisher scored twice to put the match away for Barca with goals in the 64th and 69th minutes.
Although they fell short in the Quarterfinals, the playoffs were a successful venture for the Red Bulls, who went 2-0-1 en route to punching their ticket to the next stage. Their run through Group G included a 0-0 draw with Hudson River Derby rivals NYCFC, an emphatic 5-1 win over the Houston Dynamo, and 3-1 win over North Carolina FC North. Saunders (48′), Ryan Schultz (23′ and 58′), Scott Taylor (70′), and Jose Escandon (79′) were the goalscorers for the Red Bulls against the Dynamo while Schultz, John Michael Tolkin (47′), and Diogo Robelo provided the provided the goals in the NCFC match.