All three D.C. United Academy teams won their season openers against the Richmond Strikers this past weekend. The D.C. United U-18 and U-16s begin the second half of the season with (7-3-4) records, while the U-14s continue have tallied a (9-2-1) record.
The U-18s (8-3-4) won 1-0 over the Strikers at Striker Park on Sat., March 1. The Black-and-Red kept the majority of possession throughout the entire match, but were only able to score one goal to secure the victory. A Jorge Calix (Alexandria, Va.; Team America) free kick from 20 yards out in the 43rd minute gave D.C. United its lone goal of the game.
“Despite playing down a man for the entire second half, Richmond did well to limit our chances on goal,” said D.C. United U-18 Head Coach Nolan Sheldon. “Even though we did well to maintain possession, we were not able to unbalance the opponent often enough to create more scoring opportunities to put away the game—that will be our focus moving forward this week in training.”
After ending the first half of the season with an undefeated Winter Showcase, the U-16s (8-3-4) were ready to open the season and defend its win streak. The U-16s won 4-0 over the Strikers with a brace from Owen Marshall (Bethesda, Md.; DC Stoddert) and one goal each from Lucas Mendes (Arlington, Va.; Arlington Soccer Association) and DJ Reeves (Ashton, Md.; Soccer Association of Columbia).
D.C. United U-16 Head Coach Tom Torres said, “We were happy with the boys’ effort in their spring opener. Navigating through an organized Striker defense was an early challenge, but each unit was able to do their part with quality possession, the creation of scoring chances and of course, finishing those chances. We will look to build on the positives and clean up some of the phases that were struggles, but overall, it was a solid performance.”
The U-14s (9-2-1) won 6-0 over the Richmond Strikers on Saturday. SahrFelix Sandy (Woodbridge, Va.; Northern Virginia Soccer Club) and Alexis Cerritos (Beltsville, Md.; Cerritos Academy) both scored two goals, with Luis Rodriguez-Luna (Woodbridge, Va.; Prince William Soccer Inc.) and Chris Durkin (Glen Allen, Va.; Richmond Kickers) each contributing a goal as well.
“The group had a pretty good performance from the start and dominated possession throughout the game,” said D.C. United U-14 Head Coach Jonathan Frias. “It was also good to see that we were able to keep a clean sheet and get all the players a lot of minutes.”
All three D.C. United teams have their home opener this coming Sunday, March 9 at Morven Park against the Richmond Kickers. The U-18s kick off at 11 a.m., the U-16s at 1:30 p.m. and the U-14s at 3:30 p.m.
U-18 Man of the Match: Joshua Golob
“Josh Golob was strong throughout the match for us,” said D.C. United U-18 Head Coach Nolan Sheldon. “He was a strong defensive presence, good in possession and was a leader on the field for our team. He played at right back and center back during the game and he played great in both positions.”
U-16 Man of the Match: Miles Robinson
“There were several players that deserved recognition in the match, but Miles was strong in the holding mid role,” said D.C. United U-16 Head Coach Tom Torres. “He was very good in possession, but was excellent in breaking up the opponent’s midfield possessions and disrupting their counter attacks.”
U-14 Man of the Match: SahrFelix Sandy
D.C. United U-14 Head Coach Jonathan Frias said, “Sahr continues to be in form and had a very good game. He gave us a true target presence up top with the ability to hold the ball, and we were able to play off of him. He was rewarded with two goals this game, and we hope he stays in form the rest of the season.”