D.C. United’s U-18 and U-16 Academy teams ended their respective 2012-13 U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) seasons on a high note with wins over McLean Youth Soccer. The U-18s and U-16s have qualified for playoffs in the league and will travel to Frisco, TX to compete against other top USSDA sides from June 24-27 and June 25-28, respectively. Meanwhile, the U-14 Pre-Academy squad qualified for the NPL playoffs and will travel to play the Player’s Development Academy for a quarterfinal match this weekend. Lastly, the U-23s claimed victory over Myrtle Beach FC on Saturday in National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) play.
The U-18s (16-6-2) put an exclamation point on another successful USSDA regular season with a 1-0 win over McLean (11-9-4). Despite the close final score, the Black-and-Red controlled much of the possession throughout the game and very much imposed its will on McLean. Jorge Calix (Alexandria, Va.; Team America Premier) missed a penalty kick opportunity in the first half that would have opened the scoring, but goalkeeper Sergio Reyes (Kensington, Md.; D.C. United Pre-Academy) came up big with two huge saves to keep the sides even at 0 at the interval. United would not break through until the last 10 minutes of the match when Bashir Hooper (Haymarket, Va.; McLean Soccer Academy) followed up a rebound off of a Jimmy Doll (Bethesda, Md.; Pachuca) free kick.
“It was a good result to end the season,” said D.C. United U-18 Head Coach Nolan Sheldon. “I'm excited for Bashir Hooper – he has worked hard all year and is deserving of the game-winner. We'll now turn our full attention and efforts to preparing for playoffs.”
While the U-18s played a tight contest with McLean, the U-16s (16-4-5) routed its Northern Virginia opponents (6-16-3) by a score of 5-1. Dominating possession and controlling the tempo of play throughout the game, the team ended its 2012-13 USSDA campaign emphatically. Graydon Hester (Middleburg, Va.; Lee Mt. Vernon) opened the scoring – courtesy of an unselfish pass from fullback Austin Pelto (Vienna, Va.; Vienna Youth Soccer) – and played a part in the second goal as well, with Gerson Umana (Lorton, Va.; Prince William Soccer Inc.) pushing Hester’s effort across the line. Christophe Koffi (Potomac, Md.; Team America Premier) set up Mike Monahan (Falls Church, Va.; McLean Soccer Club) for the third strike, with Hester notching the fourth goal as well. Lastly, Pelto added his second assist of the match when he played a through ball to Monahan for the fifth and final goal.
“It was a great way to end the regular season and give the boys a solid mentality before playoffs,” said D.C. United U-16 Head Coach Tom Torres. “The goals were excellent, but the biggest positive we took away was the style the boys played for the entire match. It was a very clean performance with long stretches of possession. Overall, after a 10-month season, it was great to see them perform well in the last match. They should be proud of their season.”
Lastly, the U-23s defeated Myrtle Beach FC 2-0 on Saturday at Fairfax High School Stadium in Fairfax, Va., and improved its NPSL record to 1-0-1. Daniel Jackson led the charge with a brace, scoring his first goal of the season in the 15th minute and the second in the 35th minute. Tyler Rudy and Uche Onyeador assisted on Jackson’s first tally, while Kevin Fallet found Jackson for the second strike. The second half saw Myrtle Beach start pushing more numbers forward, but Black-and-Red goalkeeper Cody Neidermeier made a few quality saves to keep the clean sheet. Overall, the U-23s controlled the rhythm of play and kept possession for much of the match. This Friday, United’s U-23 squad heads down to Richmond, Va., to play division-leading RVA FC (2-0-1) at 7 p.m. and then CASL (0-2-0) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Fairfax High School.