Sporting KC Academy teams continue USSDA playoff push
(Via Sporting Kansas City) – The Sporting Kansas City Academy U-18s and U-16s continued their push for the playoffs in the 2015-16 U.S. Soccer Development Academy on Saturday, facing Real Colorado in a doubleheader at Swope Soccer Village.
The U-18s kicked off the action with a pivotal 1-0 win as Felipe Hernandez scored the game’s only goal from the penalty spot. Three players who signed Academy contracts with the Swope Park Rangers last month featured in the match as goalkeeper Steve Tekesky earned a clean sheet, defender Ezra Armstrong contributed to the shutout and Will Little spearheaded the midfield.
With six league matches remaining before the end of May, the U-18s (10-7-3, 33 points) occupy fourth place in the Central Conference’s Frontier Division, five points behind third-place Texas Rush. The top three teams qualify automatically for the USSDA playoffs in June, while the fourth-place finisher enters a wildcard pool with other academy sides from across the nation. The top 11 clubs in the wildcard pool, based on points per game, secure a playoff spot. Coached by Istvan Urbanyi, the U-18s currently rank eighth among wildcard teams.
Following a sixth-place finish at the 2016 Generation adidas Cup last weekend in Texas, the U-16s returned to Swope Soccer Village and played Real Colorado to a 1-1 draw. The hosts fell behind after 23 minutes, but Abdu Kikhia’s equalizer in the 56th minute split the points.
Saturday’s result keeps head coach Jon Parry’s side in third place, the final automatic playoff spot in the Frontier Division. The U-16s (10-7-3, 33 points) are a point behind Real Colorado and have a five-point cushion on fourth-place Texas Rush heading into the final six USSDA matches.
The U-18s and U-16s resume their respective league campaigns this Saturday, traveling to face the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.