With the final weekend of USSF’s Development Academy play on the horizon, much of this week’s recap examines the teams at the top of the table in their respective divisions.
For a quick refresher on how the Development Academy playoffs work, the top two teams based on points at the end of the regular season from every division qualify automatically for the postseason.
Of the remaining teams, the top 16 based on points per game played qualify for the postseason. Once the 32 spots are filled, the teams are seeded based on points per game played regardless of finish in division and then drawn into groups for the week-long playoff even. The winners from the groups move on to Finals Week in Houston in July.
The 2012 Development Academy playoffs kick off June 25 from Frisco, Texas. TopDrawerSoccer.com will be on hand for the action, so make sure to keep checking the site for exclusive content from the event.
TopDrawerSoccer.com Development Academy Team of the Week:
Alex Bono, Goalkeeper, Empire United U18
Matthew Nance, Defense, Vardar SC Freiburg U16
David Gray, Defense, Clearwater Chargers U16
Connor Davis, Defense, Georgia United U18
Evan Deycaza, Midfield, CASL Chelsea FC U16
Alan Winn, Midfield, Solar Chelsea SC U16
Alex Ainscough, Midfield, FC Greater Boston U16
Noah DeAngelo, Midfield, North Carolina Fusion U18
Nicholas Pappacena, Forward, Weston FC U16
Brandon Allen, Forward, New York Red Bulls U18
Tyler Jugon, Forward, Vardar SC Freiburg U18
Despite the appearance of U.S. U17 Men’s National Team standout Junior Flores, McLean U18 continues to hobble to the finish line. The Virginia squad that ended February on a five-game undefeated run has now lost two of its last three games.
Over the weekend, McLean dropped a 3-0 result against North Carolina Fusion. Samuel McBride, Noah DeAngelo and an own goal helped Fusion secure the three points.
Even with the recent struggles, McLean still has a shot at the playoffs. With a win against CASL next week, the Virginia club would claim the division crown. But CASL is also fighting for a playoff spot and enters the game with four wins out of its last six games including a 3-1 win over Richmond Strikers on Sunday.
Charlotte Soccer Academy U18 has secured one spot from the Atlantic Division in the playoffs.
In the younger age group, CASL Chelsea FC Academy U16 clinched the top spot in the division following an 8-0 win over Richmond Strikers on Sunday. Evan Deycaza recorded a hat trick in seven minutes at the start of the second half. Yousef Asad added two goals to the one-sided result. Cormac Garrett, Caleb Duvernay, and Yanni Hachem also scored for CASL.
Deycaza is in the midst of a hot streak. The midfielder has scored ten goals in the last five games for CASL. His season tally is now 17 goals in 23 games played.
Charlotte Soccer Academy U16 is the other team from the Atlantic Division that will be in the playoffs at the end of the month.
In the Southeast Division, Concorde Fire U18 booked its spot in the playoffs with a 5-1 win over Clearwater Chargers on Sunday. Holden Fender, Preston Gayton, Rett Webb, Jordan Duru, and Jose Garcia all notched one goal in the win for the Georgia club.
South Carolina United Battery U18 claimed the top spot in the division with a pair of 2-1 wins over Weston FC and Kendall SC. Devin L’Amoreaux and Daniel Zaremba scored for the Battery on Saturday.
South Carolina United Battery also won the division in the U16 age group. Weston FC and Clearwater Chargers are contending for the other spot. Weston FC needs a win over Georgia United next week to surpass the Chargers and claim the playoff berth.
Behind two goals from Brandon Allen, the New York Red Bulls U18 topped Albertson SC 2-0 on Saturday. The Red Bulls then stormed past FC Westchester on Sunday 5-0 and secured a playoff spot and the top spot in the Liberty Division.
Players Development Academy U18 claimed the other playoff spot from the division with a 3-0 win over FC Westchester on Saturday. Tyler Lundgren, Jelanie Williams, and Robert Kroschwitz scored for the New Jersey club.
With only one loss on the season, Players Development Academy U16 is comfortably into the playoffs as the Liberty Division Champions. PDA’s 2.56 points per game played is best in the country.
Over the weekend, PDA was slowed down slightly with a pair of 0-0 results against FC Westchester and Albertson SC. U.S. U14 Boys National Team goalkeeper Kevin Silva recorded the shutout in the latter result. It was his eighth appearance of the season in the Development Academy.
Albertson SC and New York Red Bulls are battling for the other guaranteed playoff spot from the Liberty Division. Albertson only claimed two points in the two games over the weekend against NYRB and PDA. Santiago Moore scored for Albertson in the 1-1 draw against NYRB.
In the Mid-Atlantic Division, Baltimore Bays Chelsea U18s undefeated run has reached 20 games. After starting the season 1-3-0, the Bays have charged past everyone in the division and now hold the third best points per game played mark in the nation with 2.36.
After FC Delco’s 2-0 win over D.C. United on Saturday, the Pennsylvania club was only two points away from a playoff spot with a game against cellar-dwellers Potomac on Sunday.
However, FC Delco squandered the opportunity and settled for a 2-2 draw against the Maryland club. Potomac’s Peter Behm scored the game-tying goal in the 55th minute.
Now, FC Delco will need at least a point against Baltimore Bays Chelsea on Saturday to clinch the second place spot in the division.
In the younger age, FC Delco is top of the division after a 5-1 win over Potomac on Sunday. Kenneth Lassiter, Michael Desiderio, Daniel White, George Tsirukis, and Justin Hiltwine all scored for Delco.
But the race at the top is tight with PA Classics, Baltimore Bays Chelsea, NJSA 04, and D.C. United all in the mix heading into the final weekend.
In the Northeast Division, nothing is set in stone for either age group, but Empire United U18 continued its strong start to June with a 2-0 win over Seacoast United on Sunday. Adam Lauko and Ben Ramin scored for the New York club.
With a six-point weekend, Colorado Rush U18 is back in the mix of things to grab a playoff spot. The Rush flagship club beat Minnesota Thunder 3-1 on Saturday. Ruben Siguenza, Cameron Mohseni, and Arkadiusz Raciawski scored for the Colorado club.
On Sunday, Rush topped division champions Shattuck-Saint Mary’s 1-0 to move within one point of second place Colorado Rapids with one game to go.
In the U16 age group, St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri clinched a playoff spot with a 3-0 win over Sporting Kansas City over the weekend. Austin Panchot, Tommy Barlow and Nick Jones scored in the win.
After winning all five of its games in May, Chicago Fire U18 has suffered two draws in its first three games of June. The most recent draw came on Sunday in a 1-1 result against Chicago Magic PSG. Luis Barajas scored in the 20th minute for Fire before Chris Rassel answered in the 59th minute for the Magic.
Joining Fire in the postseason from the division is Vardar SC Freiburg. The Michigan club grabbed two wins over the weekend against Sockers FC and FC Milwaukee to end the regular season on a five-game winning streak.
In the younger age group, Crew Soccer Academy Wolves U16 and Chicago Fire U16 claimed the two automatic playoff spots with positive weekends. The Wolves cruised past FC Milwaukee 7-0 on Saturday then topped Sockers FC 2-1 on Sunday.
Texas Rush U18 held Texans SC Houston to a 2-2 draw on Saturday and opened the door for Solar Chelsea SC to claim the second place spot in the division. Rush, out of the mix for the playoffs, took swimmingly to the minor spoiler role with the split points. Diego Galdamez and Javier Vazquez scored for the Rush in the opening 15 minutes before Christian Duarte and Timothy Lagrimas answered for Texans SC Houston late.
Across the state, Solar SC U18 crushed Classics Elite 8-2 and is only one point away from a playoff spot now with a game remaining. Texans SC Houston is still in a comfortable position to make the postseason based on the Wild Card standings.
All of the playoff spots in the West Conference are already set.
Over the weekend, Arsenal FC took on Nomads in the final game of the regular season in the SoCal Division. Arsenal won the U18 matchup 2-1 behind goals from Miguel Gonzalez and Harrison Houle.
Arsenal U16 won the younger fixture 1-0 thanks to a late strike from Gabriel Salas.
J.R. Eskilson is a staff reporter at TopDrawerSoccer.com. Send him an email.