After last week’s bye, the D.C. United Academy U-18 and U-16 teams resumed play in the 2013 U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) season yesterday, as both sides traveled north the face the PA Classics (Pennsylvania).
The U-18 squad (11-5-2) is still positioned fourth in the USSDA U-18 East Conference’s Atlantic Division after playing the third-placed PA Classics (10-3-4) to a 0-0 draw yesterday afternoon. Although the game remained scoreless, the U-18s nearly captured all three points in the waning minutes of the match, when Rafael Fagundo (Herndon, Va.; Herndon Youth Soccer) hit the post after an exceptional pass from teammate Nigel Robinson (Woodbridge, Va.; Prince William Soccer Inc). After persevering the Classics and putting in a strong performance, U-18 Head Coach Nolan Sheldon commended his team’s defensive back four and goalkeeper Braden Horton (Springfield, Va.; McLean Academy) for putting in a great effort, earning the team a shutout and grabbing a point on the road.
“There were a number of positives to take away from the game,” said U-18 Head Coach Nolan Sheldon. “Our defensive organization was excellent,, we controlled play, and had a number of strong individual performances. With that being said, we had enough chances to win the game and we need to do a better job of converting opportunities into goals against the top opponents in our league. This will be the focus throughout the week.”
Meanwhile, the U-16s (13-2-3) – still sitting atop its age division – fell 3-2 to the fifth-placed PA Classics (8-6-3). The U-16’s got off to a flying start after Graydon Hester (Middleburg, Va.; Lee Mt. Vernon) volleyed home an attempt on goal from teammate Christophe Koffi (Potomac, Md.; Team America Premier) to open scoring 1-0. Koffi would later put his name on the scoresheet, slotting home a mishandled ball from the Classics’ goalkeeper after a Jimmy Filerman (Vienna, Va., Vienna Youth Soccer) low-flying cross into the box, putting the U-16s up 2-0. A defensive miscue saw the PA Classics benefit from a deflection that ended up in the back of United’s net, closing the half 2-1. The U-16 side found itself under a lot of pressure from counter attacks in the second half, seeing the Classics equalize and eventually convert a penalty resulting from a handball inside the area to end the match at 3-2.
“Despite the good start and some quality play, giving up a two-goal lead, overcomplicating the game and getting out-worked are issues that we do not expect from this group,” said U-16 Head Coach Tom Torres. “With seven games left in the regular season, the boys will need much stronger efforts to end the season on the highest note possible.”
The D.C. United Academy U-16s are narrowly leading the USSDA U-16 East Conference, Atlantic Division with 42 points – one point ahead of the Baltimore Bays (41) – and are currently seeded third in the USSDA U-15/16 national playoff standings.
Next up for the U-18s and U-16s are match-ups against Potomac FC at Georgetown University’s North Kehoe Field on Sunday, April 14 at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., respectively.