2012 Development Academy Winter Showcase Hits Full Stride on Saturday
Friday saw two exciting matches in the Nike International Friendlies and the start of the U-17/18 portion of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase. On Saturday, the Showcase takes the main stage with 80 matches and two marquee Academy Select games at night.
U-15/16 AGE GROUP BEGINS PLAY AT THE 2012 DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY WINTER SHOWCASE ON SATURDAY: After a full day of U-17/18 matches on Friday that featured several impressive performances, the U-15/16 age group gets the chances to shine on Saturday as all 80 clubs kick off their first matches at the 2012 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. See below for some games to watch.
ACADEMY SHOWCASE MATCHES HIGHLIGHT SATURDAY’S GAMES: Saturday is complete with 40 U-17/18 matches and 40 U-15/16 matches, along with two special Academy Select showcase games at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The U-15/16 Academy Select match takes place at 6 p.m., while the U-17/18 Academy Select match follows at 8 p.m. ussoccer.com has all the rosters for the Academy Select games online.
U/15-16 GAMES TO WATCH
The older age group enters its second day of competition, but with the U-15/16 age group just beginning play, here’s a look at a couple interesting matchups for the younger group.
FC Dallas vs. New York Red Bulls – 1:15 p.m., Field 21 – Just like the U-17/18 teams a day earlier, this is one of the marquee matchups of the showcase as both teams enter the game with undefeated records and lead their respective divisions. FC Dallas, led by Santiago Agudelo’s nine goals in seven appearances, has a 7-0-0 record with 26 goals scored compared with just seven goals conceded. Rob Elliott’s crew, the defending U-15/16 champions, has a 7-0-1 record and has conceded only four goals in eight matches this year. Derek Etienne and Alexander Tejera have scored six goals apiece while Harrison Steadman has chipped in five goals for the Red Bulls.
Real Salt Lake AZ vs. Montreal Impact – 3 p.m., Field 14 – Development Academy newcomers Montreal Impact face a tough test in their first match of the Winter Showcase against Real Salt Lake AZ, a perennial favorite in the Southwest Division. RSL AZ is undefeated with a 6-0-3 record and is led by seven goals from Sebastian Saucedo. Montreal is 4-5-3 so far this season, including 1-1-1 in its last three matches.
Chicago Fire vs. Seattle Sounders FC – 4 p.m., Field 6 – A matchup of equally strong teams. Chicago is 6-3-3 overall this season, including a four-match unbeaten streak to start the season. Collin Fernandez and Shannon Seymour lead a balanced attack for the Fire with five goals each. Seattle is in second place in the Northwest Division with a 5-1-3 record. Following a loss to Northwest rival Portland on Sept. 22, Seattle has rattled off a six-game unbeaten streak entering Saturday’s contest. Denis Kalamar leads the team with six goals.
Georgia United vs. Santa Cruz Breakers Academy – 3 p.m., Field 21 – Georgia United is undefeated through seven matches and has only conceded two goals during a pair of 1-1 draws this season. Jad Arslan leads the club with six goals. Santa Cruz Breakers isn’t exactly having a dream start to the season with a 3-5-1 record and seven goals scored through nine matches, but there’s always a chance to catch a team off guard. Steve Lopez leads Santa Cruz Breakers with two goals this season in nine appearances, including five starts.