D.C. United’s U-18 and U-16 Academy teams participatedin the Development Academy Carolina Challenge Cup held in Charleston, SouthCarolina this past weekend. The tournament ran in conjunction with the CarolinaChallenge Cup, which is currently taking place with United’s first team set to facehost Charleston Battery on Wednesday, February 29.
The U-18’s compiled an unbeaten record of 1-0-2 in theAcademy Carolina Cup, facing Indiana United Fire in the first match. TheBlack-and-Red were able to get the lead with a goal from Sebastian Cahe,although the course of the match would change rapidly with United going down1-2. But the Black-and-Red fought back and managed to equalize late in thesecond half with a penalty kick-goal from left back Patrick Foss, earning a 2-2draw in the end.
United’s U-18’s kept their unbeaten record in thesecond match with a scoreless draw against their Chicago Fire counterparts,concluding tournament play with a 3-2 victory against Columbus Crew in thefinal match of the Cup. A brace from Jannik Eckenrode and another penaltykick-goal from Patrick Foss were enough to secure the victory for United, whoplayed down one man the last 30 minutes of the match.
“The Charleston trip was an ideal way to prepare forthe Academy season,” said United U-18 Head Coach Nolan Sheldon. “We playedagainst a very accomplished Academy team in Indiana United and two good MLSclubs, such as Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew. We were very pleased with thelevel of our play and look forward to our match on March 10 against New England Revolution.”
The U-16’s kicked off the tournament with a draw againstIndiana United Fire. D.C. United’s Nigel Robinson played a major role in the matchwith two assists, finding Cristhyan Najar in the first goal and Ian Harkes inthe second one, earning a 2-2 draw for United.
The second match was unfortunate for United, as theU-16’s fell 0-1 to Chicago Fire. The Fire’s goal came from a set piece in the79th minute, with the ball finding the back of the net after aseries of deflections. But the Black-and-Red would get their reward in thefinal match of the tournament, earning a 3-0 victory over Columbus Crew. NigelRobinson gave the 1-0 lead to United in the 41st minute, connectinga corner kick-cross from Ian Harkes. Michael Seaton assisted Robert Palmer forUnited’s second goal, while James Moreno buried the third and final tally forthe Black-and-Red.
“We were extremely happy with the improvement of theplay from game to game,” said United U-16 Head Coach Tom Torres. “Closing outthe preseason by playing quality soccer was the goal. We have a couple of weeksto clean some things up and get a bit more organized, but the trip was a hugesuccess.”