2012 Academy Playoff preview
FRISCO, Texas - When the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs come to FC Dallas Stadium next week, the FC Dallas U-18 and U-16 teams will play three games each with the chance to qualify for Finals Week in Houston next month on the line.
U-18 preview and schedule
The U-18s qualified for the Playoffs by clinching the top seed in the Texas Division with an overall record of 24-4-3. They'll be led by top goal-getters Danny Garcia and Jose de la Tejera, who combined for 38% of the team's offense this season with 18 and 13 goals scored, respectively. The side will also benefit from the leadership of team captain Mikey Ambrose, the experience of U-17 World Cup veteran Kellyn Acosta and two age-eligible Homegrown professionals in forward Jonathan Top and goalkeeper Richard Sanchez.
Monday, June 25 vs. McLean Youth Soccer: 8 p.m. on Field 6
FCD's first opponent of the week will be Virginia's McLean Youth Soccer. McLean qualified for the Playoffs as the tenth seeded wildcard after finishing third in the Atlantic Division of the South Conference with an overall record of 11-6-8. The Virginian side featured four key offensive contributors during the regular season. Forward Joel Teston led the team with eight goals, while fellow striker Amardo Oakley bagged six during the regular season. Tied for third are midfielder Conor Nogueira and defender Peter Lam with five goals apiece.
Tuesday, June 26 vs. Real Salt Lake AZ: 8 p.m. on Field 11
The U-18s will be somewhat familiar with their next opponent, as they faced Real Salt Lake AZ earlier this season at the 2011 Development Academy Winter Showcase in Sarasota, Florida in December. That match ended with FCD picking up a 1-0 win courtesy of a goal scored by Garcia in the 54th minute. RSL finished the season in third place in the SoCal Division of the West Conference behind the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA. The side qualified for the Playoffs as the sixth seeded wildcard with an overall record of 14-8-5. RSL's offense is led by forward Maikon Orrellana with 13 goals followed by Ricardo Velasco with seven and Etiandro Tavares with six.
Thursday, June 28 vs. Sockers FC: 11 a.m. on Field 5
Likely to be the hottest game of the week for the U-18s, they'll play Sockers FC of Chicago in their final group game. Like FCD's other two opponents, Sockers finished third in their division, coming in behind the Chicago Fire and Vardar SC Freiburg in the Great Lakes Division of the Central Conference with an overall record of 14-6-3. Qualifying as the top seeded wildcard in the U-18 age group, the bulk of the Illinois-based team's offense has come from four different players as Tyler Davis, Michael Maley, John Pothast and Victor Sanchez have each scored five goals apiece this season.
U-16 preview and schedule
The U-16s finished the season in fourth place in the Texas Division with an overall record of 15-6-10, but qualified for the Playoffs as the sixth seeded wildcard team. The bulk of their scoring this season has come from midfielders Antonio Aguilar and Abdul Yassine. However, the squad will be missing two talented players next week while Jordan Cano and Aaron Meyer are in Costa Rica with the U.S. U-17 MNT.
Tuesday, June 26 vs. New York Red Bulls: 4 p.m. on Field 7
The U-16s will start off the tournament agianst a fellow MLS side when they take on the New York Red Bulls on Tuesday afternoon. New York qualified for the Playoffs as the second seed in the Liberty Division of the East Conference with an overall record of 16-6-4. The Red Bulls' leading scorer is their number 10, Alex Muyl, with 13 goals on the season. Right behind Muyl is Amando Moreno with 11 goals for the side this year. The two goal-scorers accounted for 40% of New York's offense this season.
Wednesday, June 27 vs. CASL Chelsea FC Academy: 6:30 p.m. on Field 5
The U-16s will meet the number one seed from their group on Wednesday evening when they face CASL Chelsea FC Academy. The North Carolina side won the Atlantic Division of the South Conference by and eight point margin and boast an overall record of 17-2-6. The side is led offensively by Evan Deycaza, whose 21 goals in 25 games played accounts for 38% of the side's offense this season. The team also rosters ironman Davis Robinson, who started every game for CASL this year.
Friday, June 29 vs. Georgia United: 9 a.m. on Field 7
FCD's final match of the week will be against a fellow wildcard team in Georgia United. Georgia finished the season in fourth place in the Southeast Division of the South Conference, but qualified as the eighth wildcard seed with an overall record of 12-5-8. The bulk of United's offense was provided by four players this season. Forward Sebastian Ille and number 10 Eli Carrasco contributed nine goals each, while forward Aaron Redlinger and midfielder Jason Sayers each scored seven this season. Those four account for 64% of Georgia United's offensive output this season.
By the end of the week, the 64 teams that qualified for this year's Playoffs will be whittled down to 16 squads - eight from each age group - that will make it to Finals Week in Houston in July. FCDallas.com will have match recaps each day for both squads. Also, like FC Dallas Youth on Facebook for daily updates and photo galleries and follow @FCDallasYouth on Twitter for in-game updates.