The 2016 US Soccer Development Academy playoffs kicked off on Wednesday at the Toyota Soccer Center with FC Dallas teams starting the group stage strong. Here's a recap of all the action:
U-18s find goals from four players in win
The U-18's easily found the gaps in Shattuck St. Mary's defense to score a 4-0 win to open their Playoff week with a bang.
Damian Hernandez put Dallas up early in the 22nd minute when he fired a shot straight into the back of the net from about 20 yards out. Hector Montalvo followed in the 38th minute when he managed to connect off a header from Devin Vega, giving Dallas a comfortable 2-0 lead heading into halftime.
Coming back into the second half, Weston McKinnie scored Dallas' third goal in the 48th minute when his volley managed to dribble past the goal line, despite Shattuck's attempts to save the goal. Even with a 3-0 lead, Dallas wasn't done yet - their fourth goal came in the 77th minute from Adrian Ramos, confidently sealing the victory.
With the win, the 18's start off this year's Playoffs with three points which puts them tied for the top spot in their group. The U-18's will play DC United at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 24.
U-16s roll over MLS opponent
Just as the FC Dallas U-16’s tore through their 2015-2016 season, so did they against D.C. United’s academy side Wednesday afternoon en route to a 3-0 victory in their first playoff game.
FC Dallas scored each of their goals in the first half, enabling them to fend off any D.C. United attack in the second half as they saw out the win. Each of Dallas' three forwards scored, starting with Jesus Ferreira in the twelfth minute.
After an FC Dallas player was taken down outside the box along the left end line, Ferreira stepped up to take the free kick from a slim angle. Instead of lofting the ball into the box, he went for goal, sneaking it by the goalkeeper at the near post to take a 1-0 lead.
Just five minutes later, Bryan Reynolds added to the lead after Ferreira made a dangerous run down the right flank and centered the ball in the box for Reynolds, who struck the ball cleanly into the net to make it 2-0.
Dallas added their third and final goal before the stroke of halftime when a Ferreira corner kick found the head of Daniel Evans at the far post. Evans then redirected the ball back towards the near post for an easy headed finish by Aldo Quevedo.
The win starts the U-16 side off on the right foot in their quest to repeat as national champions, asserting their place as the number one seed in the playoffs. They'll play the Chicago Magic on Friday, June 24 at 5 p.m.
U-15s fall to Timbers
After receiving a special invite to participate in the USSDA U-16 Showcase, the U-15's took on the Portland Timbers U-16's but came up short in a hard fought battle in Wednesday's afternoon heat, losing 2-0 in their first game of the week.
Both goals came early in the first half - the first in the 14th minute on an unmarked corner, and the second in the 18th minute by Portland's Alan Cruz. Dallas goalkeeper Sebastian Zavala managed several big saves to keep Portland from scoring again in the second half.
Though Dallas had several opportunities to chip away at Portland's lead, including a shot in the 31st minute from Daniel Evans, one in the 34th from Jalen James, and one in the 53rd from Pablo Arias, they were never able to successfully find the back of the net.
The U-15's had a 15-2-0 record during the regular season in their Pre-Academy league and will play in the US Club Soccer National Playoffs in July. Next up for the U-15's is a Showcase against Vardar on Friday, June 24, at 10 a.m.
With the game all but decided and trailing 1-0, the FC Dallas under-14 team was facing its first loss of the year as their unbeaten record was moments away from being tarnished.
Then, defender Nathan Toledo decided to take the game into his own hands. With his team trailing to the New York Red Bulls under-14 side and time all but expired, the Prosper native knew he had to get up field to help his team possibly find an equalizer.
“I knew I had to do something there because it was the last minute,” Toledo said.
Toledo found open space in the box and fired a shot towards goal but the Red Bulls keeper made an athletic save, forcing a corner on what would be the last kick of the game.
Midfielder Harper Simmons took the corner from the left side and fired it low toward the far post, where a leaping Toledo got enough redirection on it send the ball into the right corner to level the game at 1-1.
“I heard the ref talking and they said ‘a minute left’ so I went up and I was just saying 'please God, please let this go off my head’ and I just let it go and it went in,” Toledo said.
The tie preserved the U-14’s remarkable unbeaten season in their second showcase at the USSDA Playoffs and improved their record to 23-0-3. The U-14's are next scheduled to play Sockers FC on Thursday, June 23, at 8:30 p.m.