Eight U-15/16 teams advanced to this season’s Development Academy quarterfinals after winning their respective groups at the 2013-14 Development Academy Playoffs in late June at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana (Final Standings: U-15/16 Academy Playoffs). The quarterfinal stage is now on the horizon with games taking place Tuesday, July 8, at various locations. The winners will advance to the Academy Championship event running July 17 and 19 at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, California.
U-15/16 Academy Quarterfinals – July 8
- Chicago Magic PSG at Vancouver Whitecaps FC
- San Jose Earthquakes at Real Salt Lake AZ
- Strikers FC at New York Red Bulls
- Vardar at LA Galaxy
This age group includes three clubs that have won the U-15/16 national championship over the past three seasons. Defending 2012-13 champion Real Salt Lake AZ is still in the hunt for this season’s crown after winning Group F of the 2013-14 Academy Playoffs. Real Salt Lake AZ defeated Solar Chelsea in last year’s title game at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. The New York Red Bulls U-15/16s have also advanced to this season’s quarterfinals. NYRB’s U-15/16 team won the 2011-12 national title, defeating St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri 1-0 in the championship match in Houston. The LA Galaxy, which went 3-0-0 during this season’s Academy Playoffs, is a former U-15/16 champion in 2010-11. The Galaxy defeated PA Classics to win the national title in 2011.
The Development Academy adjusted its postseason format to feature this knockout round stage for the first time in its seven seasons. The quarterfinal winners will move on to the Academy Championship round on July 17 and 19 at U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center in Carson, California, with the semifinals on July 17 and the championship and third-place games on July 19.
Here is a look at the U-15/16 quarterfinal matchups and the teams’ road to get to this stage of the postseason:
Chicago Magic PSG at Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Chicago Magic PSG’s Road at Academy Playoffs (won Group E):
- June 24: Chicago Magic PSG 3, Albertson SC 0
- June 25: Chicago Magic PSG 0, Philadelphia Union 0
- June 27: Chicago Magic PSG 2, Kendall SC 1
Chicago Magic PSG’s Academy Playoffs Recap: Chicago Magic PSG capped off its Academy Playoff run in thrilling fashion, overcoming a one-goal deficit and needing a win to make up its points difference against Kendall SC. Luka Prpa tallied two penalty kick goals to complete the second-half rally for a 2-1 win and win Group E with a 2-1-0 record and six points (Two Penalty Kicks Life Chicago Magic PSG U-15/16s to Quarterfinals). Earlier in the tournament, Prpa added a goal and Elijah Rice scored twice to defeat Albertson SC 3-0 on June 24.
- Chicago Magic PSG 2013-14 Records: 19-9-2 (overall); 17-9-1 (regular season); 2-0-1 (Academy Playoffs)
- Chicago Magic PSG Head Coach: Pascal Bedrossian
Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Road at Academy Playoffs (won Group C):
- June 24: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2, Match Fit Academy 0
- June 25: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1, Houston Dynamo 0
- June 27: Vancouver Whitecaps FC 4, Weston FC 1
Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Academy Playoffs Recap: Vancouver was in control of its group from start to finish as it advanced to the quarterfinals. Vancouver Whitecaps FC won all three of its games, and Dario Zanatta was single-handedly responsible offensively for the team’s first two victories. He had a brace against Match Fit and the lone goal against the Houston Dynamo.
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2013-14 Records: 18-5-7 (overall); 15-5-7 (regular season); 3-0-0 (Academy Playoffs)
- Vancouver Whitecaps FC Head Coach: Rich Fagan
San Jose Earthquakes at Real Salt Lake AZ – 7 p.m. MT, Grande Sports World
San Jose Earthquakes’ Road at Academy Playoffs (won Group A):
- June 24: San Jose Earthquakes 3, Orlando City SC 1
- June 25: San Jose Earthquakes 2, FC Dallas 2
- June 27: San Jose Earthquakes 2, Shattuck-Saint Mary’s Soccer Academy 0
San Jose Earthquakes’ Academy Playoffs Recap: The San Jose Earthquakes (2-0-1 in Group A) were the only team to advance out of an Academy Playoffs U-15/16 group that had two unbeaten teams, the other being second-place FC Dallas (1-0-2). San Jose opened with a 3-1 victory against Orlando City as Uriel Cordoba scored twice and Ivan Valencia added a goal. The Earthquakes were up 2-1 against FC Dallas with goals from Amir Bashti and Rory Birse, but settled for a draw when they allowed an 80th-minute tally. Though that opened a bit of a window for the group, San Jose closed strong with an Ivan Valencia brace during a 2-0 win against Shattuck-Saint Mary’s.
- San Jose Earthquakes 2013-14 Records: 16-5-8 (overall); 14-5-7 (regular season); 2-0-1 (Academy Playoffs)
- San Jose Earthquakes Head Coach: Stephen Wondolowski
Real Salt Lake AZ’s Road at Academy Playoffs (won Group F):
- June 24: Real Salt Lake AZ 3, NJSA 04 1
- June 25: Real Salt Lake AZ 5, Georgia United 2
- June 27: St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri 2, Real Salt Lake AZ 0
Real Salt Lake AZ’s Academy Playoffs Recap: Though Real Salt Lake AZ lost its finale of the Academy Playoffs to St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri, the two prior victories and a superior goal differential against Georgia United helped RSL earn first in its group. The key match was a 5-2 win against Georgia United to ultimately earn that plus-3 goal differential. Sebastian Saucedo had a stellar playoff stretch, scoring three goals against Georgia United and another three tallies the day before against NJSA 04.
- Real Salt Lake AZ 2013-14 Records: 23-5-3 (overall); 21-4-3 (regular season); 2-1-0 (Academy Playoffs)
- Real Salt Lake AZ Head Coach: Freddy Juarez
Strikers FC at New York Red Bulls – 7 p.m. ET, Red Bulls Training Facility
Strikers FC’s Road at Academy Playoffs (won Group B):
- June 24: Strikers FC 1, PA Classics 0
- June 25: Strikers FC 5, Montreal Impact FC 0
- June 27: Strikers FC 0, Seattle Sounders FC 0
Strikers FC Academy Playoffs Recap: Strikers FC earned a wild card berth for the Academy Playoffs and had a strong run in group play with a 2-0-1 record and seven points, outscoring its opponents 6-0. Jackson Kerins scored Strikers FC’s lone goal during a 1-0 win against PA Classics to open Group B play on June 24. He added a tally and teammates Shinya Kadono and Robert Knights scored two goals apiece for a 5-0 victory against Montreal Impact FC on June 25. Heading into the final day on June 27, Strikers FC needed a draw or win to qualify for the quarterfinals and did so with a 0-0 tie against Seattle Sounders FC.
- Strikers FC 2013-14 Records: 15-7-8 (overall); 13-7-7 (regular season); 2-0-1 (Academy Playoffs)
- Strikers FC Head Coach: Don Ebert
New York Red Bulls’ Road at Academy Playoffs (won Group G):
- June 24: New York Red Bulls 3, Colorado Rush 1
- June 25: New York Red Bulls 1, Bethesda-Olney 1
- June 27: New York Red Bulls 1, Crew Soccer Academy Wolves 0
New York Red Bulls Academy Playoffs Recap: The Red Bulls and Crew Soccer Academy Wolves entered the final day tied in points and goal differential, and a draw would have resulted in a penalty kick shootout to determine the Group G winner. That was not necessary, however, as Matthew Olosunde’s 32nd-minute goal held up for a 1-0 NYRB win. Following a convincing 3-1 win against the Colorado Rush to open the Academy Playoffs, it was a nail-biting stretch for the Red Bulls. Gideon Metrikin’s 80th-minute goal helped NYRB earn a much-needed 1-1 draw against Bethesda-Olney in the second match to set the table for the important finale against CSA Wolves.
- New York Red Bulls 2013-14 Records: 20-3-3 (overall); 18-3-2 (regular season); 2-0-1 (Academy Playoffs)
- New York Red Bulls Head Coach: Rob Elliott
Vardar at LA Galaxy – 7 p.m. PT, StubHub Center
Vardar’s Road at Academy Playoffs (won Group H):
- June 24: Vardar 2, Pateadores 1
- June 25: Vardar 2, Players Development Academy 0
- June 27: Vardar 3, Crossfire Premier 2
Vardar’s Academy Playoffs Recap: Vardar entered the Academy Playoffs as one of the top wild card seeds and proved its worth with a perfect 3-0-0 run to win Group H. After two games, Vardar was in prime position to advance to the quarterfinals with wins against Pateadores and Players Development Academy. Donovan Perayeff scored a game-winning goal in the 80th minute against Pateadores, and Nash Popovic scored both the opening tally of that match and followed with a brace to lead Vardar past PDA. Perayeff, Mitchell Guitar and Jimmy Todd each had a goal in the finale against Crossfire Premier.
- Vardar 2013-14 Records: 18-6-6 (overall); 15-6-6 (regular season); 3-0-0 (Academy Playoffs)
- Vardar Head Coach: Mike Lupenec
LA Galaxy’s Road at Academy Playoffs (won Group D):
- June 24: LA Galaxy 4, Sockers FC 1
- June 25: LA Galaxy 3, Concorde Fire 0
- June 27: LA Galaxy 1, D.C. United 0
LA Galaxy’s Academy Playoffs Recap: During the Academy Playoffs, the consistent trend for each game was the impact of Rey Ortiz throughout the event. Ortiz opened with a brace as the Galaxy defeated Sockers FC 4-1 on June 24. Ortiz added a goal en route to a 3-0 win against Concorde Fire the next day. Heading into the final day, the Galaxy was tied with D.C. United but needed a victory because of its lesser goal differential. The LA Galaxy benefited from an own goal, which stemmed from Ortiz’s cross from the right side, and held on for the 1-0 victory. (LA Galaxy U-15/16s Clinch Academy Quarterfinals Berth).
- LA Galaxy 2013-14 Records: 21-3-6 (overall); 18-3-6 (regular season); 3-0-0 (Academy Playoffs)
- LA Galaxy Head Coach: Michael Munoz