D.C. United’s U-18 and U-16 Academy teams registered a combined record of 3-0-1 during the weekend, facing USSDA Mid-Atlantic Division rivals Match Fit Chelsea and NJSA 04.
United’s U-18 kept a clean sheet in the first match of the weekend, playing to a 0-0 draw against Match Fit Chelsea on Saturday, May 19. The U-18’s improved their level on Sunday, defeating NJSA 04 by 2-0. U-16 players Michael Sauers (Glen Arm, Md.) and Josh Golob (Potomac, Md./DCU Pre-Academy) played their first match with the U-18’s, putting in a solid performance. Sauers scored United’s first goal from the penalty kick spot, while U-18 midfielder Kevin Jimenez (Annandale Boys & Girls Club) tallied the winning goal with an impressive 25-yard volley.
“Although the U-18’s strong play didn’t lead to maximum points this weekend, we are pleased with many aspects of the team’s performance and particularly impressed with U-16 players, [Michael] Sauers and [Josh] Golob,” said United U-18 Head Coach Nolan Sheldon. “It is always gratifying when we see players play up within the Academy system and still make a strong impact on the match. It is a testament to our commitment to individual player development.”
United’s U-16 team compiled a perfect record during the weekend, earning back-to-back wins to climb up to the top of the Mid-Atlantic Division with 12 points. On Saturday, the U-16’s defeated Match Fit Chelsea by 1-0, despite playing down a man for the last 30 minutes. Jimmy Doll (Bethesda, Md./Pachuca) scored United’s winning goal in the 75th minute, heading in a long throw from Christian Kershaw (Severna Park, Md./DCU Pre-Academy).
The U-16’s confirmed their impressive level on Sunday with a 3-0 victory over NJSA 04. Michael Seaton (Capitol Heights, Md./Freestate) was pivotal to United’s success, opening the scoring after a clearance by Dolu Oyewole (Waldorf, Md./Freestate) and assisting Nigel Robinson (Woodbridge, Va./Prince William Soccer, Inc.) in the second tally to close the first half with a 2-0 lead. Chike Nwaezeapu (Washington, D.C./DC Stoddert) sealed the match in the second half, making it 3-0.
“We were extremely happy with the mentality of the group in both matches,” said United U-16 Head Coach Tom Torres. “They could have crumbled in the first [match] going down a man, but instead played some of their finest soccer. In the second, they started and finished with the right mindset to have another solid performance versus a quality NJSA side. They have earned a break this weekend, but will have to regain their focus shortly to finish the season positively.”