U-15/16: Chicago Magic, Strikers, LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake AZ Clinch Spots in Academy Semifinals
Chicago Magic PSG, Strikers FC, the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake AZ U-15/16 teams advanced to the 2013-14 Development Academy Championships following their quarterfinal victories. Most quarterfinal action finished Tuesday, but Real Salt Lake AZ needed to postpone its match because of inclement weather. The defending U-15/16 national champion RSL AZ won its quarterfinal match Wednesday morning.
Another previous national title winner is still among the U-15/16 field. The LA Galaxy is in search of its second crown at this age group, having won at the U-15/16s during the 2010-11 season.
The U-15/16 semifinalists will head to California for the 2013-14 Development Academy Championships taking place at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, California. This is the first season that the Academy has implemented a knockout round following the Academy Playoffs. The semifinals are Thursday, July 17, and the championship matches for both the U-15/16 and U-17/18 levels will be held Saturday, July 19, at StubHub Center. The title games will be streamed live on ussoccer.com.
Chicago Magic PSG 2, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1: Chicago Magic PSG’s Kendall Stork notched a first-half brace to lead his side to a quarterfinal victory against Vancouver Whitecaps FC and a trip to the Academy Championships. The win was Chicago Magic PSG’s 20th of the season (20-9-2) and the team improves to 3-0-1 during the postseason. For Stork, it was his first two goals of the postseason. He now has a team-leading 20 tallies in 2013-14.
Strikers FC 2, New York Red Bulls 2 (Strikers FC wins 6-4 in PKs): Strikers FC went on the road and withstood the New York Red Bulls’ late momentum in regulation to earn a 6-4 win in penalty kicks to earn a spot in the semifinal round. Strikers FC built a 2-0 lead in the first half, benefiting from an own goal and then taking a two-goal advantage on a Jackson Kerins goal in the 22nd minute. The Red Bulls responded with a Marcello Borges tally in the 39th minute and a dramatic 80th-minute score from Ethan Lochner to force overtime. Strikers FC, which advanced to the Academy Playoffs as a wild card team, improved to 3-0-1 in the postseason and is now 16-7-8 overall.
LA Galaxy 5, Vardar 3: With three lead changes, the LA Galaxy ultimately prevailed by scoring three straight goals down the stretch to win its quarterfinal match at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center, the host site of the Academy Championships. Rey Ortiz scored back-to-back goals in the 58th and 67th minutes, the latter giving the Galaxy a 4-3 lead that the team would not relinquish. Dylan Smith added a goal in second-half stoppage time and Ethan Zubak contributed a first-half brace that gave the Galaxy a 2-0 lead in the 36th minute. Vardar had a remarkable stretch to open the second half as Alex Ofeimu got the team on the score sheet in the 49th minute and Tommy Dokho scored in the 52nd and 56th minutes to take a 3-2 lead against the Galaxy. With the win, the Galaxy is now 4-0-0 in the postseason and 22-3-6 overall in 2013-14.
Real Salt Lake AZ 1, San Jose Earthquakes 0: Real Salt Lake AZ, the 2012-13 national champion, inches closer toward having a chance to defend its U-15/16 crown with Wednesday’s quarterfinal victory at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Arizona. Midfielder Evan Waldrep scored the game’s lone goal in the second half. Inclement weather disrupted the match Tuesday night in the first half, with RSL leading 2-0. Because the game was not yet official due to Development Academy rules and regulations, it was restarted at the opening minute Wednesday. Real Salt Lake improves to 3-1-0 during the postseason and 24-5-3 overall in 2013-14.
For Development Academy results, visit academy.demosphere.com. Follow the Academy postseason on social media on Instagram, Facebook and on Twitter (@ussoccer_acad) with the #AcademyKnockouts and #AcademyFinals hashtags.