June 30, 2012
DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY PLAYOFFS
Fire U-15/16s advance
FRISCO, Texas---The Chicago Fire U-15/16s advanced to finals week of the US Soccer Development Academy playoffs, winning Group 4 during competition at the FC Dallas Stadium Complex.
The Fire swept through their three games, defeating the Clearwater Chargers 4-2 on Tuesday, shutting out fellow MLS Academy Seattle sounders 3-0 on Wednesday, then taking a 2-1 decision over Real Salt Lake AZ on Friday.
The eight teams from each age group., U15/16 and U17/18 advance to Finals Week which will be held from July 16-23 in Houston.
Two of the eight teams in the age group, Charlotte Soccer Academy and St. Louis Scott Gallagher are first time finalists.
In Group 3, Charlotte Soccer Academy finished tied alongside Vancouver Whitecaps FC with seven points apiece, but clinched the group and the club’s first Finals Week appearance based on goal differential with Friday’s 2-0 win against FC Greater Boston. The other first-time finalist is St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri, which will compete for a national championship after a 1-0 win against Players Development Academy gave the team a three-point cushion in Group 8 competition.
Two clubs posted a perfect 3-0-0 record through group play as the New York Red Bulls defeated CASL Chelsea FC Academy 3-0 to win Group 1, and the Chicago Fire edged Real Salt Lake AZ 2-1 to take Group 4. The Red Bulls earn their second Finals Week appearance in the U-15/16 age group (also advanced in 2008-09) and their third overall as the U-17/18 team qualified in 2010-11. The Chicago Fire will compete for their second Academy championship at this age level after winning in 2009-10, and participate in their third Finals Week overall (U-17/18 team advanced in 2007-08).
Pateadores overcame a two-goal deficit against Albertson SC and scored in the waning moments to post a 3-2 victory and capture Group 2. The Dallas Texans won their finale against the New England Revolution to end up even on points with seven, but Pateadores earned the tiebreaker advantage based on goal differential. Pateadores moves on to Finals Week for the first time in the U-15/16 age group and second time overall as the U-17/18 team advanced in 2010-11 and went on to win the title.
Crew Soccer Academy Wolves entered Friday behind Shattuck-Saint Mary’s Soccer Academy based on goal differential after two days of play, but the Wolves jumped ahead of Shattuck with a 1-0 victory against Texans SC Houston to win Group 5, while Shattuck played to a 1-1 draw against NJSA 04. Crew Soccer Academy Wolves reached Finals Week for the second time at the U-15/16 age group, previously advancing to the 2008-09 Finals Week and winning the championship that season when the club was known as the Derby County Wolves. This also is the third Finals Week overall as the U-17/18 team advanced in 2009-10.
Also on Friday, D.C. United scored four second-half goals and topped the Colorado Rush 4-2 to win Group 6 and capture the club’s third Finals Week berth and second in the U-15/16 age group after advancing to the 2009-10 Finals Week. PA Classics’ U-15/16 team advanced to its second straight Finals Week with a 1-0 victory against Chicago Magic PSG to hold on the top spot in Group 7.
Three teams had the group lead at various times while the last two games in Group 4 were played simultaneously. Needing to make up a five-goal differential and hoping for a draw between group leaders Colorado Rapids and Dallas Texans, Empire United sprinted to a 6-1 win against South Carolina United Battery with four second-half goals. Empire took the group lead on goal differential and finished in enough time watch the final minutes between the Rapids and Texans. The score was tied 1-1 but Empire’s tenuous grasp on a trip to Houston was thwarted due to a 90th-minute goal by Rapids midfielder Dillon Serna. The win advanced the Rapids to their first Finals Week.
Baltimore Bays Chelsea registered its fourth trip to Finals Week in the past five years with a game-winning goal in the 75th minute against PDA. Baltimore Bays Chelsea finished group play as one of three teams to win all three group games. FC Dallas, which advanced out of Group 5, and Solar Chelsea SC (Group 7) also earned the full nine points and advanced to its third straight Finals Week. FC Dallas completed the Playoffs without conceding a single goal.
Defending U-17/18 Academy champion Pateadores found itself in the Group 2 driver’s seat heading into the final day of matches, but a 4-0 loss to Weston FC combined with a 2-1 Vancouver Whitecaps FC win against Texans SC Houston clinched the group for the MLS-affiliated side. This will be Vancouver’s first Finals Week.
In Group 1, Crossfire Premier of Kirkland, Wash., needed a win or a draw against North Carolina Fusion to advance to Finals Week, but the Fusion’s Alec Rotunda shocked the group leader with a 60th-minute goal and held on the win, surviving a stoppage-time scare when a Crossfire Premier shot glanced off the left post. North Carolina will get their first shot at a national championship.
The ball rolled the right way for De Anza Force in Group 3 as the SoCal Division club scored on either side of halftime for a 2-0 win against Vardar SC Freiburg, finishing on top of the group with two wins and seven points. De Anza Force advances to its first Finals Week in the U-17/18 Division, as the club’s U-15/16 team has previously clinched a U-15/16 Finals Week berth in 2009-10.
U 15/16 GROUP WINNERS:
Group 1: New York Red Bulls
Group 2: Pateadores
Group 3: Charlotte Soccer Academy
Group 4: Chicago Fire
Group 5: Crew Soccer Academy Wolves
Group 6: D.C. United
Group 7: PA Classics
Group 8: St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri
U17/18 GROUP WINNERS
Group 1: North Carolina Fusion
Group 2: Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Group 3: De Anza Force
Group 4: Colorado Rapids
Group 5: FC Dallas
Group 6: Chivas USA
Group 7: Solar Chelsea SC
Group 8: Baltimore Bays Chelsea