When the FC Dallas Juniors last squared off against the U-17 U.S. National Team they came off the Pizza Hut Park pitch with a 2-1 victory.
On Friday the two sides faced off again in Frisco, this time in a scrimmage that saw the FC Dallas Juniors score four goals to only one from the U.S. side. The scrimmage didn’t conform to the formats of a typical game, and for good reason – the FCD U-18 Juniors are preparing for postseason play in the Development Academy Finals next week. To make sure both sides got the repetitions needed, three 30-minute periods were played.
The first 30 minutes saw each squad’s starting XI play to a scoreless draw, but play opened up quickly in the middle frame as the visitors took a 1-0 lead early. FC Dallas was quick to answer back, with Cody Adams scoring off an assist from Jonathan Top. Adams returned the favor a few minutes later by sending Top a pass that he would finish to give the FCD Juniors a 2-1 lead heading into the final 30 minutes.
For the last 30 minutes of the scrimmage, both sides fielded fresh squads of U-16 and U-15 players. Dallas’ third goal would come from the spot as Marco Carrizales buried a PK. The final goal was set up by Emerson Hyndman and put away by Erick Chapa to make the final score 4-1.
The scrimmage was the last form of competition the FC Dallas U-18s will see before they head west to The Home Depot Center in Carson, California, where they will be the only MLS affiliate club competing in the Finals from the U-17/18 age group. That distinction is something Pareja said is important not just for the organization, but the players themselves.
“At the end of the day, what we want to do is provide an opportunity for these young boys to be seen by Schellas (Hyndman, FC Dallas head coach) and his staff,” said Pareja. “If they see that they have an elite (development) team that is getting all of this attention, it’s easier.”
The U-17/18 Finals Week contenders will be divided into two groups of four teams. Just like in the World Cup, each team will face the other three teams in their group once.
The winners of each group will then compete in the championship match on Saturday, July 17. The second place teams from each group will meet in a third place match, and so on down to a seventh place match between the two fourth place teams.
The team leaves on Saturday and will play their first game of the playoffs against Crossfire Premier on Sunday, July 11.
Their next game will be on Tuesday, July 13 against the Derby County Wolves – a team comprised mostly of members of last year’s U-15/16 championship-winning Derby County Wolves.
FCD’s final group play match will be against CASL Chelsea FC Academy on Thursday, July, 15 – a team that FCD beat by a margin of 3-1 at the Spring Showcase in Sarasota, Florida back in late May.
Head coach Oscar Pareja said he believes his team is ready for all three opponents.
“The three teams that we are going to face are pretty similar; physical, direct, those are the characteristics that they have,” said Pareja. “Sometimes we have difficulties against these physical teams but we believe in what we’re doing here. The boys are developing in a great way.”
Pareja said his team won’t approach any of their next three opponents differently from the others.
“I think every team has different weaknesses and different strengths,” said Pareja. “Even though I treat the games differently, our style doesn’t vary much. We try to make the other team be worried about us.”
Stay tuned to FCDallas.com for updates as the FC Dallas Juniors U-18 team competes in the Development Academy Playoffs over the next week.