The D.C. United Academy U-18 and U-16 teams continued play in the 2013 U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) season this weekend, as the sides took on the nearby Richmond Strikers.
The U-18s (11-5-1) – positioned fourth in the USSDA U-18 East Conference’s Atlantic Division – squared off against the 10th-placed Richmond Strikers (3-9-2) this past Saturday, routing Richmond in a 5-1 victory. The U-18s got off to a flying start, scoring four of its five goals in a span of 15 minutes, with all four of these strikes coming in the first 30 minutes of the match. Jorge Calix (Alexandria, Va.; Team America Premier) took a free kick in the 15th minute that rebounded nicely for Graydon Hester (Middleburg, Va.; Lee Mt. Vernon), who finished the play and netted the first goal for the U-18s. Ian Harkes (Fairfax, Va.; Herndon Youth Soccer) tallied just four minutes later to put United up 2-0. And three minutes later, Calix took a chance from 25 yards out to beat the Strikers’ goalkeeper, before Christophe Koffi (Potomac, Md.; Team America Premier) added the fourth goal of the half in the 30th minute. Bashir Hooper (Haymarket, Va.; McLean Soccer Academy) would cap off the five-goal tally in the 75th minute to put the U-18s up 5-0. However, Richmond was able to grab a consolation goal before the final whistle, ending the game with a 5-1 scoreline.
"We had better urgency to go and score goals, which was a positive from the match,” said U-18 Head Coach Nolan Sheldon. “It is the second straight game we've conceded a goal just moments before the final whistle, so that is a concern we need to address moving forward. But overall, it was a good team performance."
Meanwhile, the U-16s (13-1-3) – first place in its age division – had to settle for a 1-1 draw with the Richmond Strikers (4-8-2), despite dominating possession and creating more chances throughout the match. The U-16s went up early in the 6th minute as Milton Juarez (Woodbridge, Va.; Prince William Soccer Inc.) linked up with teammate Noah Pilato (Oakton, Va.; Chantilly Youth Soccer) with quick combination play to open the scoring. Richmond would answer quickly, though, tallying in the 10th minute to level the score 1-1. As play carried on, the United U-16s maintained quality possession, but simply could not break down the Strikers’ defense to grab a game-winner.
“Overall, it was a solid a group effort,” said U-16 Head Coach Tom Torres. “Despite attacking the entire game, we were unfortunate to not find that second goal.”
The U-18 and U-16 Academy teams will have the next week off before returning to training ahead of the teams’ next matches against the PA Classics in Manheim, Pa., on Sunday, April 7.