HOUSTON (July 22, 2012) – After reaching Finals Week in the U-17/18 Division for three straight years and settling for a runner-up finish last season, FC Dallas finally earned the right to be called Development Academy champions.
Halftime substitution Jose de la Tejera scored back-to-back goals, including the game-winner in the 84th minute, as FC Dallas put on a superior passing display to triumph with a 3-2 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC to win the 2011-12 U-17/18 championship on Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium.
De la Tejera scored an equalizer in the 68th minute and in the 84th tallied the game-winner off of a Danny Garcia assist from the right side.
FC Dallas becomes the first MLS-affiliated champion at the U-17/18 level in the Development Academy’s five seasons.
“I think last year’s near championship really drove this team,” FC Dallas head coach Chris Hayden said. “I’m just so proud of the way they played. They worked hard all year, and they absolutely deserve it. My hat goes off to Vancouver. They have a lot of talent on their team. It was very difficult for us today, but we’ll take it.”
In front of a vocal crowd supporting the Texas-based team, FC Dallas put on display their trademark skilled short passing game while showing flexibility by probing the Vancouver backline with balls in behind and over the top. They created a multitude of scoring chances during the final 45 minutes, out-shooting Vancouver 12-4 in the second half and 20-9 overall.
The first half was a different story as Vancouver garnered the early lead with Ben Fisk’s goal in the 24th minute off a Caleb Clarke dish. Clarke crossed the ball in from the left side and Fisk found enough space in the middle of the box to control and pick out an open spot, depositing his seventh goal of Finals Week.
FC Dallas responded on the offensive end in the 31st minute when Garcia was tripped up in the box by Vancouver goalkeeper Callum Irving, who had come off his line to the top of the area to try and snuff out a one-on-one opportunity. Garcia struck the penalty to his left, Irving guessing correctly and blocking the attempt back in front of goal. While he scrambled to recover, Garcia finished off his own rebound as the Whitecaps defenders were late to recover.
Vancouver took back the lead three minutes before the first half whistle, once again Clarke doing the grinding work. As the balled rolled towards the endline, a Dallas defender tried to see it out for a goal kick, but a determined Clarke muscled him off the ball and hit a hopeful pass across the goalmouth. The ball took a difficult bounce off FC Dallas defender Flavio Guzman, who had tracked back into the area, and skidded past the wrong-footed Eduardo Cortes.
The FC Dallas offense bombarded the Vancouver goal in the second half, firing seven shots on goal in the 45-minute span. The sustained pressure and movement was bound to wear down the Whitecaps defense, and in the 68th minute de la Tejera pounced on a miscue and streaked in down the left side alone on goal. Angling toward the center, he opened his hips and curled a shot past Irving.
The game-winner came in the 84th minute as FC Dallas continued to create menacing opportunities. Danny Garcia delivered a precision cross into the area where de la Tejera was lurking, and he skillfully re-directed a header just inside the far post.
The title delivered some redemption for Garcia, who picked up two yellow cards during the 2011 title match that forced his side to play with 10 men for 45 minutes, eventually falling to Pateadores.
De La Tejera’s final strike in the closing minutes capped off the scoring at 3-2, but throughout the match there were ample opportunities for Dallas to add to its tally.
FC Dallas forward Jonathan Top was particularly active in the final third, taking a game-high seven shots. He had the first two shots on goal to open the second half, including a 53rdminute attempt toward the far right post. Irving came up with one of several big saves on the night, his performance pivotal in keeping Vancouver in the match when Dallas had opportunities to gain the upper hand.
Irving had a game-high eight saves for Vancouver in what easily could have been a man of the match performance under different circumstances, while Cortes had two saves.
Vancouver caps off its first Development Academy season with a strong second-place showing among the 78-team field. Whitecaps FC won the Northwest Division, rebounded from an opening game loss to Pateadores in the Academy Playoffs, and built momentum through this past week with a tournament-high nine goals scored during the group stage.
-U.S. Soccer Development Academy Match Report-
Match: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. FC Dallas
Date: July 22, 2012
Competition: 2012 Development Academy Finals Week – U-17/18
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium; Houston, Texas
Kickoff: 8 p.m. CT
Weather: 85 degrees, partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
VAN 2 0 2
FCD 1 2 3
VAN – Ben Fisk (Caleb Clarke) 24th minute
FCD – Danny Garcia 31
VAN – Own goal (Flavio Guzman) 42
FCD – Jose de la Tejera 68
FCD – Jose de la Tejera (Danny Garcia) 84
VAN: 1-Callum Irving; 12-Declan Rodriguez, 13-Alex Rowley, 14-Daniel Stanese, 5-Tim Hickson (15-Jason van Blerk, 59); 2-Bryce Alderson, 8-Ben McKendry (11-Spencer DeBoice, 85), 9-Adam Polakiewicz (17-Sam Adekugbe, 46); 7-Yassin Essa (3-Wesley Cain, 71), 4-Caleb Clarke (6-Carlos Marquez, 75), 10-Ben Fisk
Substitutions Not Used: 16-Carlos Patino, 30-Marco Carducci
Head coach: Craig Dalrymple
FCD: 22-Eduardo Cortes; 6-Nicholas Rochowski (27-Jose de la Tejera , 46), 2-Mark Ashby, 5-Aaron Guillen, 3-Michael Ambrose; 21-Marco Carrizales (28-Marco Ortiz, 79), 14-Kellyn Acosta, 8-Flavio Guzman; 11-Danny Garcia (39-Bobby Edet, 87), 9-Jonathan Top, 17-David Robledo (45-Fernando Laverde, 89)
Substitutions Not Used: 4-Alex Frankenfeld, 13-Alonso Gallegos, 44-Estevan Vasquez
Head coach: Chris Hayden
Stats Summary: VAN / FCD
Shots: 9 / 20
Shots on Goal: 3 / 11
Saves: 8 / 2
Corner Kicks: 0 / 3
Fouls: 12 / 8
Offside: 1 / 5
VAN – Ben McKendry (caution) 23rd minute
FCD – Marco Carrizales (caution) 43
FCD – Kellyn Acosta (caution) 69
FCD – David Robledo (caution) 84
Referee: Robert Sibiga
Assistant Referee 1: Apolinar Mariscal
Assistant Referee 2: Ramon Bermudez Jr.
Fourth Official: Christopher Mercado
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Jose de la Tejera