Twenty-six East Conference sides set to compete in USSDA Playoffs
The Development Academy Playoffs draw occurred Wednesday, notifying each postseason team in the U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups of its group. Out of 64 total U-15/16 and U-17/18 playoff teams, 26 will represent the East Conference.
At each age group, the clubs were placed into four pots based on average points per game played. The top eight teams were placed in Pot A, the next eight in Pot B, the following eight in Pot C and the final eight in Pot D.
Philadelphia Union (15-5-6) – Pot B
The Union, led by forward Justin McMaster, finished second in the Atlantic Division behind New York Red Bulls. After starting the spring season on a nine-match unbeaten streak, the Union closed the year with a tie against Montreal Impact FC and losses to Red Bulls and D.C. United.
Kendall SC (14-10-8) – Pot D
Kendall SC finished the season with 0.0025 points per game played more than St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri to claim one of the final wildcard berths. Kendall SC is one of six teams to make the playoffs from the Southeast Division, and forward Truman Gelnovatch paces the squad with 19 goals.
BW Gottschee Academy (13-7-6) – Pot C
BW Gottschee Academy’s defense was a significant reason coach Tommy Flood’s team earned a wildcard berth. In 26 games, this club allowed 23 goals, the lowest mark in the Northeast Division.
Capital Area Railhawks (19-9-5) – Pot B
Miguel Montano and Jose Morales, Jr. have scored double-digit goals for Capital Area Railhawks, while Emanuel Perez is the team’s third leading scorer with nine. Capital Area Railhawks closed out the regular season with just one loss in its final eight matches.
D.C. United (12-9-5) – Pot D
With its postseason chances on the line, D.C. United ended the year with a dominating 5-0 win over Philadelphia Union to clinch a playoff berth. Forward Colin Brezniak, the squad’s leading scorer with 14 goals, scored twice in the victory.
Montreal Impact FC (14-5-7) – Pot B
Montreal Impact brings a balanced attack into the postseason. Jean Arnaud Tano, Olujimi Joshua Aribido, Tristano Fasulo and Protais Mutambala have all scored at least six times this season.
New York Red Bulls (19-1-6) – Pot A
Red Bulls, which finished just behind FC Dallas for the top spot in the Academy, has been the best team in the Eastern Conference this season. Coach Jeff Zaun’s squad displayed its dominance in the form of the +55 goal differential. It also features one of the Development Academy’s top goal scorers in Omir Fernandez, who has found the back of the net 20 times.
IMG Academy (15-12-5) – Pot D
Wins over playoff teams Orlando City SC and Kendall SC to close out the season helped IMG Academy end up as the final team in the field. Roalex Molina and Faris Abdi paced the IMG attack this season, combining for 16 goals.
Orlando City SC (15-12-5) – Pot D
After having success for much of the season, Orlando City SC struggled down the stretch, losing three of its last four games. Orlando will be a real threat in Group F, however, with a balanced attack featuring Juan Soto (10 goals), Jacob Garzon (8 goals) and Mario Licor (8 goals), among others.
New England Revolution (13-5-8) – Pot B
Pateadores is the only playoff team that has drawn more games than New England Revolution, which was one of four Northeast Division squads to make the field. Of the three other clubs in its group, Revolution has only played Sporting Kansas City during the regular season. Behind two goals from Timothy Ennin, Revolution earned a 3-1 win on December 4.
Georgia United: (18-12-3) – Pot D
Georgia United features the top goal scorer in the Eastern Conference, as Cheik Fofana has scored 22 time in 30 games.
Weston FC (22-4-6) – Pot A
With forwards Alfred Perez and Liam Murphy and midfielder George Acosta, Weston FC has one of the best scoring attacks in the Development Academy. Coach Victor Pastora’s team has scored 85 goals, 25 more than the next highest squad in the Southeast Division.
Oakwood Soccer Club (16-4-6) – Pot B
The two-headed scoring attack of forwards Simon Becher and Kamer Nuhiu helped Oakwood Soccer Club finish the regular season atop the Northeast Division. During the spring season, which began March 5, Oakwood Soccer Club lost once in 11 matches.
D.C. United (15-5-6) – Pot B
D.C. United was placed in Pot B after averaging 1.9615 points per game played, earning a wild card berth. It was one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference in the regular season and finished the year on a seven-match unbeaten streak.
Chargers Soccer Club (17-10-5) – Pot D
While Chargers Soccer Club had a goal differential of +8 during the regular season, it managed to win its share of close games and finish with seven more wins than losses, earning a playoff bid out of the Southeast Division.
North Carolina Fusion (19-10-4) – Pot C
North Carolina Fusion earned a wildcard berth thanks in large part to the trio of Faisal Almubaslat, Austin Hill and Jaime Vasconcellos, who have combined to score 39 of the team’s 65 goals this season. Almubaslat has been the top offensive threat, as he leads the team with 17 goals.
New York Red Bulls (18-4-4) – Pot A
Similar to the U-15/16 team, Red Bulls is the highest-seeded squad from the Eastern Conference. Any team that hopes to beat Red Bulls and come out of this group will likely have to contain forward Brian Saramago, whose 23 goals are among the highest in the Development Academy.
Players Development Academy (16-5-5) – Pot B
Aside from losses to New York Red Bulls and Philadelphia Union, Players Development Academy closed the regular season with seven wins in its final nine matches. PDA also has a sibling tandem with Chaz and Josh Burnett, who have combined to score 17 goals.
Montreal Impact FC (14-4-8) – Pot C
After suffering a 4-2 loss to Beachside SC on May 7, Montreal Impact FC has not lost since. Coach Yoann Damet’s team has won six straight games, including a 3-0 victory against Beachside SC in the regular season finale June 5.
Orlando City SC (20-4-8) – Pot B
With Nathaniel Adamolekun (18 goals) leading the way on the attacking end, Orlando City SC put together a second-place showing in the Southeast Division. Its +48 goal differential is the second highest in the league behind Capital Area Railhawks.
Georgia United (17-11-5) – Pot D
Georgia United features two players that have shown they can match up favorable against virtually anyone in the Development Academy. One is Andrew Carlton, who has played on the U-15, U-16, U-17, U-18 U.S. National Teams, and the other is Patrick Okonkwo, who has scored 22 goals in 30 matches.
Philadelphia Union (17-3-6) – Pot A
The Union will likely rely on its defense while trying to win its group and advance to the knockout stages of the Development Academy playoffs. This unit has allowed just 17 goals in 26 games. Only BW Gottschee Academy and FC Dallas, the top two seeds, allowed fewer goals during the regular season.
Kendall SC (20-6-6) – Pot B
Kendall SC boasts one of the most potent offenses in the Development Academy. Capital Area Railhawks, which has scored 105 goals, is the only team with more goals this season than Kendall SC’s 90. Forward Jonathan Lewis netted a team-high 16 goals for Kendall.
Beachside SC (12-12-2) – Pot D
Beachside earned 1.4615 points per game played this season, taking the third and final playoff spot in the Northeast Division. John Denis (11 goals), Nicholas Petridis (9 goals) and Jonathan Filipe (9 goals) were catalysts for the Beachside offense, which outscored opponents 44-40 on the season.
BW Gottschee Academy (24-1-1) – Pot A
BW Gottschee is the top seed in the Development Academy, and it got there because of its smothering defense. In 26 games, coach Dennis McGowan’s team allowed a mere 12 goals. Goalkeepers Matthew Dabrowski and Xavier Gomez have helped BW Gottschee earn 17 shutouts, including 11 straight from October 11 to March 13.
Capital Area Railhawks (23-7-3) – Pot B
In the same group as the Development Academy’s top defensive team is the league’s most lethal attacking unit, which averaged 3.30 goals per game during the regular season. Alex Rose has scored 25 goals in 27 games, while Colby Agu, Josh Coan, Lucas Del Rosario, John Walden and Jeremy Kelly all have double-digit scoring totals.