This past weekend, the Black-and-Red played at fellow MLS Developmental Academy rival the Philadelphia Union. D.C. United went 1-1-1 over the weekend with the U-18s coming home with a tie, the U-16s with a loss and the U-14s with another convincing win. Games were played at YSC in Wayne, Pa.
The U-18s (3-2-2) started the weekend off with a hard fought 2-2 tie. Ronald Ventura (Kensington, Md.; Potomac) scored in the 3rd minute on a breakaway to put United up 1-0. The Union made the score 1-1 going into halftime and scored a second goal 20 minutes into the second half to go up 2-1. Goalkeeper James Knoelbel (Warrenton, Va.; McLean) made a fingertip save in the last five minutes to keep United down by only one goal. In the dying minutes, Christian Kershaw (Severna Park, Md.; Baltimore Bays) fired a hard shot on goal that was impressively saved by the Union goalkeeper, but United’s Cristhyan Najar (Springfield, Va.) put home the rebound to tie up the score that would stand until the final whistle.
“It was a good competitive match today,” said D.C. United U-18 Head Coach Nolan Sheldon. “I give the players a lot of credit to keep searching for the second goal, which was well deserved.”
The U-16s (2-2-3) dropped a difficult 3-1 match to the Union on Saturday. The Union scored two goals in the first half and another early in the second half to go up 3-0. Liam Hoen-Beck (Vienna, Va.; Vienna) scored the lone goal for United in the 67th minute off a Christophe Koffi (Potomac, Md.; Team America) through ball to make it 3-1.
“It was a pretty disappointing effort for the most part,” said D.C. United U-16 Head Coach Tom Torres. “The two most glaring issues were not stepping up to the physical challenges of the game and making mistakes in our possession that led to turnovers. With that, the boys had plenty of chances to score, but came up a bit short. We will make sure they regroup and refocus to prepare for next week’s match.”
The U-14s (6-0-1) were challenged early on by a physical and talented Union team, but through impressive individual and combined efforts, United pulled off a convincing 5-2 road victory. Luis Rodriguez-Luna (Woodbridge, Va.; Prince William Soccer Inc.) opened up the scoring in the 4th minute and Andres Villanueva (Woodbridge, Va.; Prince William Soccer Inc.) scored another in the 23rd minute off a Rodriguez-Luna pass. The Union countered in the 26th minute to make the score 2-1 going into halftime. The Black-and-Red pressured the Union early in the second half and Alexis Cerritos (Beltsville, Md.; Cerritos Academy) toe-poked in a goal in the 44th minute after applying pressure to the goalkeeper. The Union made it a close game in the 70th minute with a second goal, but Jacob Williams (Severn, Md.; Baltimore Bays) put home another goal off a Sahr Felix Sandy (Woodbridge, Md.; North Virginia Soccer Club) cross. Williams later returned the favor and assisted Sandy in added time to give United the 5-2 win.
“We are proud of the intensity and mentality the boys approached this match with against a quality side like the Union,” said D.C. United U-14 Head Coach Jonathan Frias. “Ultimately, we were better in transition, which created a lot of our goals and kept the Union at bay for most of the match. This is a talented group that is showing up every week.”
All three D.C. United teams (U-18, U-16 and U-14) will continue their USSDA seasons at home on Saturday, Nov. 2 against the Virginia Rush at Morven Park in Leesburg, Va. The U-18s and U-14s are both set to kickoff at 12 p.m. with the U-16s following at 2:30 p.m.