FRISCO - The two-time defending U.S. Soccer Development Academy national champion FC Dallas U-16 team will have an opportunity to win a third consecutive national title after winning its group at the USSDA Playoffs in Westfield, Indiana, on Monday.
The U-16s topped Group F with seven points, posting a 2-0-1 record against its three group opponents: Baltimore Armour, Crew SC Academy Wolves and New York City FC. Dallas won its first two matches against Baltimore and NYCFC to set up a crucial Monday afternoon showdown with Crew.
Needing a win or draw to advance, the Dallas defense held firm in a match that finished 0-0, allowing the defending champions to progress. Goalkeeper Michael Collodi made only one save in the match, and forward Brayan Padilla had several close calls on the offensive end.
By virtue of having qualified for the USSDA Playoffs as a top-eight national seed, the top-ranked U-16s will host their USSDA Quarterfinal match in Frisco against the Colorado Rapids U-16 team. The match will be played at Toyota Soccer Center on July 6th, with the time still to be decided.
Unfortunately, the FC Dallas U-18 team will not have a chance to defend its national title.
The U-18s were drawn into a tough group alongside Beachside Soccer Club, New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders FC. An opening 1-0 defeat to Beachside put the team in a hole it was unable to emerge from, despite recording a 3-2 win in its second game against Seattle.
All three teams in the group entered Monday's matches on three points and with a goal differential of zero. While Seattle cruised to a 3-0 win against Beachside, New York and Dallas traded blows in a back-and-forth match.
An early penalty save by goalkeeper Carlos Avilez allowed FC Dallas to stay in the game before taking a 2-1 lead late in the second half on goals by Brecc Evans and Homegrown Bryan Reynolds. Dallas still needed more goals to overcome Seattle's goal differential advantage, though, and the team sent numbers forward in search of offense. However, Dallas was made to pay looking for goals late with New York scoring twice in stoppage time.
New York's 3-2 win wasn't enough to get past Seattle, who won the group on goal differential, meaning Dallas was the only side able to beat the eventual group winners.