Washington, D.C. (July 10, 2009) - The D.C. United Academy U17 team earned its second MLS/SUM U17 Cup this week by defeating FC Dallas in the championship game. Forward Luis Cartagena opened up the scoring in the 15th minute, and it looked like United would hold on to the 1-0 lead until Dallas equalized in the 75th minute. After two 10-minute overtimes, the final went to penalty kicks, where United prevailed 6-5.
“We are very proud to have won the Cup for the second time in three years!” said United Director of Youth Development, John Maessner. “Our boys showed tremendous heart, passion and team unity, and demonstrated that we are the best U17 team in Major League Soccer. We have a very talented, very young group of players with an extremely bright future. It was wonderful to watch our young boys play with confidence and heart as a well organized, disciplined unit both on and off the field. They defended well, attacked with numbers and speed and created many scoring chances throughout the week. My hat goes off to our staff as well. They are focused, determined and very serious about developing our players and giving our players the best environment possible.”
The U17 team garnered seven points through three group games, placing United in the top two of the group standings and earning the Black-and-Red a spot in the final for the third straight year. United began the tournament with a fast and furious start. The Black-and-Red scored four minutes into its opening game against the Colorado Rapids, hosts of the 2009 tournament. Julian Griggs scored the game-winning goal on a breakaway and United held on for the opening-game win.
United lost its second game in heart-breaking fashion. The Black-and-Red finished regulation tied 1-1 with the L.A. Galaxy, but dropped the match on penalty kicks, 4-2. United fell behind early when Riley Wolfe put the Galaxy up in the fifth minute before United’s Marcus Salandy-Defur equalized in the 32nd.
The Black-and-Red’s four points through two games left the team in third place and needing a victory against Kansas City to move on to the final. United got a goal from Cartagena just after the half and held on for the 1-0 win against the Wizards and a return trip to the final.
Starting XI: U16 player Andy Najar has been showing well during the US Soccer Development Academy season and it paid off. The midfielder was named to the Eastern Conference U15/16 Starting XI.
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