D.C. United’s U-16 and U-18 Youth Academy teams returned to Washington, D.C. this week after unsuccessful group stage outings at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Playoffs in Frisco, Tx. United was one of only two academies to have two teams qualify for the postseason after both the U-16’s and U-18’s won division titles in the Mid-Atlantic Division.
The U-18’s (15-8-7) opened the tournament on a high note on Friday, June 24, defeating Empire United 3-0. Mikias Eticha, Marcus Salandy-Defour, and Lester Dewee each bagged a goal en route to the victory.
United’s good fortunes ended, however, as it was held scoreless over the course of its final two matches. The Black-and-Red first fell to Pateadores on June 25, 3-0, and then to N.C. Fusion on June 27, 1-0.
The U-16’s (16-9-5) also had a tough go, falling in all three of its group stage matches. United lost its opening game 3-0 against Empire United on Saturday, and the team was defeated the following day by the same scoreline against Columbus Crew Academy. Collin Martin tallied the U-16’s lone goal of the tournament in the final match against Seattle Sounders FC on June 28, but the strike was not enough as United fell 5-1.
Despite these postseason misfortunes, both squads had successful 2011 campaigns and were a credit to the strides being made in United’s Youth Academy system. United currently has an MLS-record four Homegrown players on its first team roster, all of which have played important roles for the Black-and-Red in 2011.