After the holiday weekend, the Development Academy comes back in full force with the playoffs just around the corner. 118 matches will take place between Saturday and Sunday as all teams continue to battle for a shot at post season play.
On the Eastern Conference, Players Development Academy U-15/16s will take on Bethesda-Olney for a clash between Atlantic Division rivals. Currently in third place in the division, PDA will try to continue its three-game winning streak, hoping lead-scorer Zeno Mazzacato can help the team maintain its hold on the 12th spot in the playoffs pool. For its part, Bethesda-Olney’s 1.47 points per game has the team just three spots behind the last qualifying spot of the Wildcard pool, meaning a victory will keep them in the running for a place in the Playoffs. The clubs U-17/18s counterparts will also be facing each other this Saturday and find themselves in similar positions, with PDA third in the Atlantic Division and inside the playoffs pool, while Bethesda-Olney continues to eye a wildcard pool spot as the season begins to wind down.
Also on Saturday, Sporting KC U-17/18s take on FC Dallas in a match between Central Conference teams. Sporting KC has not lost a game since Jan. 18 and will aim to keep its undefeated record alive with the help of Daniel Salloi, who currently leads the team with 11 tallies. The test will be a tough one however, as FC Dallas is trying to keep its undefeated streak that started on Nov. 30, 2014 alive. Both teams find themselves in good positions for post season play as Sporting is 10th in the wildcard pool and FC Dallas has a hold on the 11th spot in the playoffs pool.
Coming into this weekend, Real Salt Lake AZ U-17/18s have an Academy leading 101 goals on the year. Four players on its roster have double-digit goals this season, with Brooks Lennon leading the charge with 19. On Saturday, RSL AZ will take on Pateadores, who currently sits just .44 points per game behind the division leaders in second place. This clash will bring not only division bragging rights but also an opportunity for both sides to remain securely inside the playoffs pool.
Finally, two Atlantic Division rivals will play in both the U-15/16s and U-17/18s age groups, as D.C. United and Philadelphia Union will matchup against each other on Sunday.
D.C. United sits second in the division and fourth in the playoffs pool with lead goal scorer Eryk Williamson (15) playing a key role in its hopes to remain among the top teams in the Eastern Conference. The Union on the other hand is trying to bounce back from a tough loss to Richmond United and will attempt to break into the playoffs pool while it currently remains in the second spot of the wildcard pool.
In the U-15/16’s the script is flipped as it is the Union who is ahead of D.C. United, with Philadelphia grabbing onto that second playoffs spot and D.C. United taking the second position on the wildcard pool.
For the latest Development Academy results, visit academy.demosphere.com.