Day five. It doesn’t sound like very many days, but they sure do add up when you play, watch, coach and write about six different soccer games. Games fluctuate with a flick of a ball or a shot on goal and emotions dip and rise with goals, cards, fouls, wins and losses. Dramatic victories, unbelievable saves, and clutch performances from players made for an exciting and intense Winter Showcase.
The D.C. United U-16s were undefeated going into their last Showcase game against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 9 a.m. United pushed the tempo and had San Jose on their heels almost the entire first half. There was a lot of possession for United, but few chances on goal. The San Jose backline was able to contain the United forwards and keep the Black-and-Red attack at bay. The first half ended in a scoreless draw. The second half was a physical battle for both teams. San Jose countered against the United attack in the 65th minute and had a point blank shot on goal that was blocked by defender Kyle Brathwaite. The physicality of the match caught up with San Jose when their goalkeeper took out D.C. United forward Gerson Umana in the 70th minute. Umana converted the penalty for United, which put them up 1-0 with 10 minutes to go. United defended well for the last 13 minutes and won the game 1-0.
The D.C. U-16s went undefeated during the Winter Showcase and gained nine points that will be added to their first half of the season total. They beat two fellow MLS academy teams, scored nine goals and had two players, Donovan Pines and Jonathan Sousa, play all 80 minutes of all three games. The U-16s will have a few weeks off and then begin training for next half of the season in January.
The Winter Showcase ended successfully for the Black-and-Red. The U-16s went 3-0 and the U-18s went 1-1-1 against top ranked teams. College coaches numbered in the double digits at every single D.C. United game, along with several U.S. Soccer technical advisors. Florida treated D.C. United well. Everyone returns home today a little tanner, a little more tired and little more proud to wear the D.C. United badge. Vamos United!