The New York Red Bulls and St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri U-15/16 teams have enjoyed their most successful seasons within the Development Academy, and one will walk away with its first Academy Finals Week championship when they meet at 8 p.m. CT (9 p.m. ET) on Monday, July 23, at BBVA Compass Stadium.
NEW YORK RED BULLS
Scouting Report provided by U.S. Soccer Technical Advisor Rodrigo Marion
Overall Record (including Academy Playoffs and Finals Week): 22-6-4
Head Coach: Rob Elliott
Atlantic Division: 4-3-3 (15 points). Finished in second-place tie with Albertson SC on points; earned second Playoff spot within group based on division goal differential
Finals Week Record: 3-0-0 (6 GF, 1 GA)
Development Academy Playoffs - Group 1*: 3-0-0, 9 points (7 GF, 1 GA)
*One of only two U-15/16 teams (the other being the Chicago Fire) to win its group with a perfect 3-0-0 record
Goal Scoring Leader: Alex Muyl (16 goals in 27 appearances)
Haven’t lost since: A 1-0 loss against Albertson SC on May 20 in Atlantic Division play (currently on 11-game unbeaten streak with 9-0-2 record during that stretch)
2011-12 Record vs. St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri: Teams have not faced each other this season
Potential Starting XI (4-3-3): Evan Louro; Kevin Politz, Matt Miazga, Mike Kapitula, Brandon Tetro; Steven Echevarria, Arun Basuljevic, Adam Najem; Alex Muyl, Ismar Tandir, Amando Moreno
The Red Bulls employ a 4-3-3 formation with little derivation from their chosen path. They have been very consistent all year and have focused on getting the players to learn their individual roles within the formation.
The New York Red Bulls are one of the most technically skilled teams in the Development Academy at the U-15/16 age level. With so many players that are poised with the ball at their feet, the team likes to find a rhythm in the game and maintain it. They’re very attack-oriented, as evidenced by the team’s seven goals in three games during the Academy Finals Week. The strength of the Red Bulls is found in the midfield, as the three players in the center of the park dictate the flow of the match and help create space by utilizing the entire width of the pitch. The attacking players have a good presence and also hold the ball well. In defense, New York will be without one of its best players in Billy Stevens. Stevens was issued a red card in the last group match; this will force head coach Rob Elliott to tinker with his starting lineup. New York likes to pressure the opposing team in its own half, forcing the opposition to try and send long balls over the top. When the pressure becomes too much, however, it can open up gaps in the midfield which leaves New York exposed to the attack.
Strengths: Technical ability, combinations in midfield, depth.
Area of concern: Managing all the amount of individual talent on the team without players becoming selfish, allowing gaps in the center of the pitch
One key player is central midfielder Arun Basuljevic. A very good defender, he recovers loose balls and his distribution is accurate. Basuljevic is also a good communicator and a leader.
In the attack, wide forward and Georgetown University recruit Alex Muyl leads the team with 16 goals in 27 appearances entering Monday night’s match. A very technically proficient forward, Muyl combines well with the midfielders building the attack.
On the other attacking wing is explosive forward Amando Moreno, who has scored 13 goals in 24 games this year. Moreno’s speed and creativity on the ball can make a difference in the game.
In addition to all this firepower, Adam Najem has scored three goals in Finals Week.
Off the bench
New York brought U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team member Wesley Wade off the bench in two of the team’s three group games. Every time he steps on the field he makes a difference, recording a goal and an assist in three appearances during Finals Week. He’s very direct with his runs and physically strong.
Another U-17 MNT member has come off the bench at times during Finals Week. Midfielder Christopher Lema brings more energy in the middle of the park when he enters a match.
Yet another midfielder that gives head coach Rob Elliott plenty of options on the bench is Joe Swenson. Swenson is poised on the ball with good technical skill.
ST. LOUIS SCOTT GALLAGHER MISSOURI
Scouting Report provided by U.S. Soccer Technical Advisor David Santesteban
Overall Record (including Academy Playoffs and Finals Week): 18-5-4
Head Coach: Tim Leonard
Frontier Division: 9-5-0 (27 points). Finished in first-place tie with Shattuck-Saint Mary’s; earned top Playoff spot within group based on division goal differential)
Finals Week Record: 3-0-0 (8 GF, 1 GA)
Development Academy Playoffs, Group 8*: 2-0-1, 7 points (5 GF, 3 GA)
* Opened Playoffs with a 2-2 draw against Solar Chelsea SC and has won five straight since
Goal Scoring Leader: Tommy Barlow (13 goals in 27 appearances)
Haven’t lost since: 1-0 against Real Colorado on June 5 in Frontier Division play. Currently on seven-game unbeaten streak with 6-0-2 record
2011-12 Record vs. New York Red Bulls: Teams have not faced each other this season
Potential Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): Leeker; Ledbetter, Klipsch, Graham, Pesek; Hodges, McHugh; Segbers, Panchot, Barlow; Jones
SLSG bring a very direct approach, which will provide an interesting contrast to New York. Scott Gallagher can transition quickly and look to take advantage of their bodies up front with Tommy Barlow, Mark Segbers and Nick Jones. This team has proved incredibly efficient at finishing chances, scoring eight goals in three matches. Their backline is packed with strength and skill in the air. If there’s a knock, it’s their impatience at times with building out of the back. When they do choose to build, Austin Panchot can be a difference maker in his ability to unlock defenses. One potentially lethal weapon is the long throw of Jones, whose throws can reach the center of the penalty area.
Strengths: Clinical finishing, organization, talented attacking options
Areas of concern: Speed of play against a fast, well organized opponent, depth
Tommy Barlow has a good nose for the goal, and he’s shown it here this week. Austin Panchot can be a driver in the midfield with his skill on the ball and ability to deliver well-conceived passes.
Mark Segbers possesses dangerous speed and will switch sides throughout the match, having the ability to deliver quality service or cut inside and take care of business himself. In the back, Jordan Klipsch marshals the defense in front of the athletic goalkeeper Jake Leeker, who has shown the ability to come up with the timely save on which ‘keepers stake their claim.
Off the bench
Curtis Shillingsford is a workhorse holding midfielder who can break up plays, which could be key against the talented central midfield of New York. He took a knock in the first game and Finals Week and has come off the bench since. Blake Gonzalez is a right back who can alter the dynamic of a game with his ability to get involved in the attack.