CHICAGO (July 20, 2015) – On Saturday, July 18, the 2014-15 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season came to an end in Carson, California, with a pair of championship matches. FC Dallas U-15/16 and Chicago Fire U-17/18 came out victorious in their respective games to take home the title of best in the Academy and wrap up another successful season.
FC Dallas U-15/16 earned its crown with a dominant 4-0 shutout performance against New York Red Bulls. Despite heading into the championship match with a 13-game winning streak, there was little the New York side could do against the offensive attack the Texas side was displaying.
Weston McKennie began the scoring for FC Dallas in the 11th minute with a beautiful header following a perfect cross from Giovanni Montesdeoca into the middle of the box. McKennie saw the ball coming his way from the right flank and jumped over his defenders to head it to the upper left corner of the net for his side’s first goal of the game.
Montesdeoca, one of three FC Dallas players to net more than 18 goals this season, added to the scoreline with a tally of his own in the 31st minute with a powerful shot from eight yards out into the far post to put his team 2-0 at the halftime mark.
Less than a minute into the second half, FC Dallas continued its control of the game when Central Conference Player of the Year Devin Vega found himself alone in the box to confidently send a right-footed strike towards the near post, making it 3-0 to guarantee his team victory., Juan Ramirez added a goal in stoppage time to make it 4-0 with the game already in the bag.. FC Dallas finished the season with an unblemished 8-0 record and outscored opponents 26-0 during that span.
Chicago Fire U-17/18s 3-1 victory against Real Salt Lake AZ was a battle featuring several nationally recognized players. Michael Jimenez opened up the scoring for his Chicago side in the 13th minute, after a long driven cross that shot off of the right post. Jimenez was in the perfect position to meet the rebounded ball with a well-timed header that sailed into the back of the goal to give the Fire an early lead.
Andrew Gutman made it 2-0 just before the halftime break, intercepting a loose ball on top of the opposing third, bulldozing his way past two Real Salt Lake defenders, and eventually challenging the on-rushing RSL net-minder Luis Barraza to finish his solo break. The momentum created by the late first-half goal inspired a blazing solo-attack from the Fire’s top goalscorer Ryan Sierakowski early in the second-half. Sierakowski juked his way past the last man of RSL’s high defensive line and dribbled his way into the opposition’s box to find Luis Barraza between him and certain victory with a three-goal lead. However, Barraza stood his ground and pounced on Sierakowski’s chip deflecting it away keeping the scoreline to a two-goal deficit in the 46th minute.
- Photo Galleries: U15/16 and U17/18 Champions Crowned
Three minutes later, Real Salt Lake struck back with a sensational long distance goal from Amar Sejdic. Sejdic, powered the strike past the outstretched hand of Chicago’s goalkeeper Sawyer Jackman and into the back of the net. With RSL AZ’s newfound momentum, the game intensified as RSL aimed to find the equalizer. An own goal in the 85th minute however, shut down any chance of a comeback for the Arizona based side making it 3-1.
The 2014-15 Academy Season came to its conclusion for four other clubs with both Philadelphia Union U-15/16s and San Jose Earthquakes U-17/18s claiming the third-place prize for their age groups. The Union defeated a very strong Georgia United side that dominated the majority of the first half in both possession and tempo, however, Tiger Graham was able to sneak a goal in before halftime to give the Union a one-goal advantage. Graham’s goal proved to be enough for the Union, but Anthony Fontana added a second goal forty minutes later to end the game 2-0. The San Jose Earthquakes U-17/18s end their season on a high note with a victory over the Montreal Impact. The Quakes led at halftime thanks to a 38th minute goal from Rory Birse. Zachary Penner added to San Jose’s one-goal lead in 64th minute. Montreal fought back with Heikel Jarras scoring five minutes later, but that was not enough for the Canadian side as the game ended 2-1.