Get Recruited Faster with a Player Profile on

Boys Jul 07, 2016

U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-15/16 Quarterfinals Recap

Strikers Logo

(Via U.S. Soccer) – Chicago Fire, FC Dallas, Real Colorado and LA Galaxy have advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs at the U-15/16 level. Continue reading for a full recap of the quarterfinal round.

Chicago Fire logoWeston FCChicago Fire 3, Weston FC 0
FIU Soccer Stadium, Miami, FL

Weston FC hosted Chicago Fire for the opening Knockout Round game in the U-15/16 age group on Wednesday. Both teams struggled with the heat in the opening half of the game, leading to very few chances by either club. Weston had the first opportunity inside the first ten minutes, shooting from outside the box and flashing just wide of the Fire keeper’s upper-left corner. The Fire replied later in the first half with some neat passing around Weston’s box, but were unable to capitalize as the strike dragged wide of the post. Both goalkeepers had little to do in the first half as both teams tried to gain control of the midfield.

After halftime, Weston looked reinvigorated but were unable to make the most of their chances. Their best opportunity came late in the second half, when Weston worked the ball down their right flank and sent a low cross into the box. The ball was met by a Weston attacker, who sent the ball over the crossbar when he connected. Despite facing pressure from Weston for most of the second half, the Fire were able to carve out a few half-chances to keep Weston honest. Neither team was able to find their finishing touches in regular time, and the game was extended into extra time.

+Read: US Youth Soccer Region I champions crowned in West Virginia

The Fire came out flying in the first half of extra time, scoring two goals in the first four minutes to stun the Weston players and pro-Weston crowd. The dead lock was broken by Andrew Akindele, who was isolated on the right and was able to beat his defender to shoot far post beyond the outstretched arms of the keeper. Chicago then doubled the lead through substitute Carlos Cepeda. Weston was unable to break out of their own half, and Cepeda capitalized with a tidy curled effort from the left side of the Weston box.

Weston pushed players forward in the second half of extra time in an attempt to push the game to penalties, but the Fire removed all doubt as Vitalis Takawira Jr. gathered a seemingly innocuous throw-in in Weston territory, took sight of goal and buried a fantastic shot to seal the win. The Chicago Fire are returning to LA for the second consecutive year and will look to complete a rare feat of winning the Championship in back-to-back seasons at two separate age groups.

Real_Salt_Lake_logoFC Dallas logoFC Dallas
 3, Real Salt Lake AZ 1

Toyota Soccer Center, Frisco, TX

In Frisco, Texas, the U-15/16 Knockout game featured #1 seed FC Dallas and #8 seed Real Salt Lake AZ. It was a familiar scene at the Toyota Soccer Center for both teams after playing at the complex during the Playoffs last month.

As soon as the whistle blew, FC Dallas brought speed and high pressure to Real Salt Lake. The early energy resulted in a goal by FC Dallas’ Jesus Ferreira in just the 2nd minute. From then on, FC Dallas set the tone early and dominated play, forcing Real Salt Lake to play with pace and precision to build out of the back against relentless pressure. Despite a pair of sequences at the end of the first half from Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas controlled the possession and ended the half ahead 1-0.

In the second half, Real Salt Lake began to fight back, and both sides had more chances at goal. Midway through the second half, FC Dallas extended the lead to 2-0 after Ferreira placed a strike on frame. Again, FC Dallas continued to attack with high intensity, which led to a third goal when FC Dallas took advantage of the Real Salt Lake keeper being out of position and beat the last defender with two simple passes. Ferreira buried the ball into the net to complete his hat trick and to put FC Dallas ahead 3-0.

+Read: U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team tops Japan, wins NTC Invitational

The game intensity remained high, and Real Salt Lake kept battling. They finally earned a goal on a fantastic corner kick and header, but it wasn’t enough to keep their playoff dreams alive. At the final whistle, FC Dallas won 3-1 in front of a home crowd and will advance to the semifinals in Los Angeles.

FC Dallas head coach, Luchi Gonzalez, showed his respect for Real Salt Lake in a post-game interview, stating, “We knew it was going to be very difficult, [Real Salt Lake’s] ranking is not a judgment of that team, so hats off to them,” he said. “We wanted to be aggressive from the beginning and not let it come down to the wire and I feel like the boys showed that spirit and that attitude, so I think it’s a product of a lot of desire and a lot of work.”

Read the FC Dallas match report here.

Los Angeles Galaxy - JPEGreal_so_calLA Galaxy 1, Real So Cal 0
Stub Hub Center, Carson, CA

LA Galaxy U-16 Academy attacked Real So Cal from the opening whistle, taking advantage of home turf and a home crowd of nearly 2,000 supporters (which included Giovanni Dos Santos and other first team Galaxy players). The best chances came from Jorge Hernandez: one when he created enough space near the top of the box but pulled his shot to the right of the near post, and another when he beat the defender to the end line and playing a cutback ball to penalty spot to Oscar Penate, whose first-time shot was knocked down and cleared away. At the opposite end, Real So Cal looked to get behind Galaxy’s defense on multiple occasions, but were called offside 4 times and struggled to time the pass and the run.

Hernandez opened the second half with another shot, but it sailed just over the bar. Shortly after, Galaxy scored the opening goal in the 55th minute when Estrada got in behind the defense and beat the onrushing GK over the top with a clever finish into the net.

+Read: Crossfire, Texans, Sockers file lawsuit over solidarity payments issue

Real So Cal continued to push for the equalizer. Their best chance came from striker Jason Manning, which was lost when he was stripped on his way to goal before he could take the shot.

The game intensity increased as the final whistle approached, but it was Galaxy who had the next best chances on a free kick from Hernandez and a hard and low shot by Kevin Negrete from close range. Neither player could extend the lead, and the goal from Estrada proved to be the game winner that led Galaxy to a 1-0 victory. Galaxy will return to Stub Hub Center next week for a chance to make a run at the title on their home grounds.

Read the LA Galaxy’s match report here.

fc-golden-stateRealColorado-LogoReal Colorado 1, FC Golden State 0
University of Denver, Denver, CO

With a loud and supportive crowd of around 500 supporters, Real Colorado U-15/16 advanced to the Academy Championships with a hard fought 1-0 victory over FC Golden State U-15/16.

FC Golden State opened the action with the first chance of the game in the 1st minute. After several quick passes, FCGS had the ball in Real Colorado’s goalbox, but a cross from the end line was caught by Real Colorado goalkeeper Elek Arany, who would make several crucial saves for Real throughout the game.

In the first 10 minutes, FC Golden State continued to dominate the possession and chances, but a stout Real Colorado defense kept them from getting any early shots on goal. In the 11th minute, Real Colorado opened the scoring on a quick counter attack that was executed to perfection. After winning the ball in their own defensive third, Real connected a few passes before finding midfielder Damen Marcu on the right touchline, about 40 yards from the endline. Marcu played a great ball forward and found a streaking Rhys De Sota perfectly in stride. De Sota buried a first-time finish with his left foot into the top corner of FCGS’s goal, past a diving Michael Reis.

FC Golden State nearly equalized in the 35th minute, but a shot from the left side of the box was saved by Arany, and the half ended with Real leading 1-0.

Needing at least a goal in the second half, FC Golden State made several substitutions at halftime and changed their formation to put 3 forwards up top. FCGS continued to push numbers forward in organized attacks, looking for their first goal. FCGS created a dangerous chance in the 55th minute, when a free kick near midfield was played into the Real Colorado goal box. The ball fell to the feet of forward Roberto Garcia Vargas Jr, who had a clean shot from 15 yards out, but Arany again came up with the save to parry the ball high into the air and collect the rebound.

As the game wore on, Real Colorado was content to stay organized and compact in their 4-2-3-1 formation, absorbing the attacks from FC Golden State and trying to spring quick counter attacks. Real nearly doubled their lead in the 75th minute, when a few quick passes in the FCGS goal box found a streaking Marcu, but Marcu’s first-time effort from 10 yards out went just wide of the far post.

Real Colorado seemed comfortable defending and protecting their lead in the final minutes, which has been their calling card this postseason. In their final Playoff group game on June 26th, Real needed one point against San Jose Earthquakes U-15/16 to win their group. Despite failing to score, they were able to keep the clean sheet and advance with a 0-0 draw. In the late stages against FC Golden State on Wednesday, the Real defense again looked composed and comfortable.

As the clock ticked off the final minutes of stoppage time, FC Golden State played several long balls into the Real Colorado goal box, but the Real defense stayed organized to shut down the final few attacks and close out the 1-0 victory. With the win, Real Colorado earned their 3rd straight shutout in postseason play and have only allowed a single goal in 4 games.

Real Colorado advances to the Academy Championships where they will face the hometown LA Galaxy at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA on July 14th.

Featured Players

Midfielder, Forward
See Commitment List