Collin Martin vs NE Reserves - 2011 reserves
Ben Keller/

Academy Update: USSDA Winter Showcase

D.C. United’s Youth Academyresumed U.S. Soccer Development Academy action this past weekend, as the U-18’sand U-16’s faced Sporting Kansas City and Sockers FC. The Academy sides thenfaced Vardar SC Freiburg on Tuesday.

In the weekend’s first match,United’s U-18’s fell 1-0 against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, December 3.The Black-and-Red improved their play on Sunday, earning a 2-2 draw againstSockers FC. Marcus Salandy-Defour opened the scoring in the 25thminute, while Collin Martin tallied United’s second goal in the 31stminute. Salandy-Defour and Martin followed up with another goal-scoringperformance on Tuesday, December 6, giving United a 2-1 victory over Vardar SCFreiburg. After trailing by one goal, Salandy-Defour tallied in the 51stminute, while Martin sealed the final result in the 71stminute.

“We are pleased with theimprovements individual players have made and are excited about the team’sprogress,” said United U-18 Head Coach Nolan Sheldon. “We are challenging theplayers to play the game at a very high level, both technically and tactically.The team will continue to train and prepare for the full Academy season inMarch.”

United’s U-16 side kicked-offweekend action with a resounding 4-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City. RobertPalmer scored a brace for the Black-and-Red, while Nigel Robinson and RafaelFagundo completed the scoring. The U-16’s followed Saturday’s impressiveperformance with another victory, defeating Sockers FC 2-0. Rafael Fagundoscored both goals for United, with assists from Nigel Robinson and JamesMoreno.

“The kids played very hard, thechemistry of the team was very good and the mood was positive,” said U-16 HeadCoach Roberto Da Silva. “I am very happy with them, despite not having the bestgame.”

The U-16’s extended theirunbeaten streak on Tuesday, battling fatigue to overcome a two-goal deficit byearning a 2-2 draw against Vardar SC Freiburg. Tobias Kastan tallied United’sfirst goal in the 53rd minute with an assist from Nigel Robinson,who tied the match unassisted in the 70th minute.

“The match was hard not onlybecause Vardar is a good team, but also because it was clear that fatigue was amajor factor in the game,” said Da Silva. “We struggled defensively, and ourback four had trouble communicating with the midfield. On the positive side, wedid show that we can get back in the game after being down by two goals.”