CARSON, Calif. — Opportunity knocked for many players this past weekend at the StubHub Center, home of the Galaxy and Chivas USA. U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy hosted their first U14 showcase for its west coast clubs, and the event gave teams the chance to test themselves against new competition.
Each MLS academy team managed to win their opening match on Day 1, displaying the quality these clubs are starting to produce. Here are some highlights among the 14 games played on Saturday.
Seattle Sounders 7, Santa Cruz Breakers 0
In the most lopsided game of Day 1, the Sounders steam-rolled the Breakers with an impressive performance. After a choppy start to the game, the Sounders began to knock the ball and show their quality.
Much of the Sounders’ offense moved through Sam Rogers, a center midfielder who sprayed the ball across the field throughout the game. A great through ball by Joseph Richardson put Rogers in on goal and he calmly slotted the ball into the side netting to begin the rout.
The floodgates opened after Rogers’ goal, and the Breakers had no match for the depth of the Sounders. 2nd half sub Sam Johnson scored a hattrick and Cameron Martin added another goal off a corner.
In defense, the Sounders were compact. Left back Khai Brisco won all of his 1 v 1 battles, and joined the attack with his blistering pace. The Breakers’ defense was unorganized and lacked the speed to keep up with the Sounders’ subs.
Man of the Match: Sam Rogers
Chivas USA 1, San Juan Soccer Club 0
This Chivas USA U14 team is a pleasure to watch. They are extremely well coached, and every player knows their role perfectly. Chivas had a majority of the possession in the game, and frequently applied high pressure to San Juan’s back 4.
Carlos Anguiano, or Charlie as he’s called by teammates, is a very intelligent soccer player. He plays very simple and rarely gives the ball away. He’s like a mini Pirlo in the way that he sees passes and has the technical ability to execute them.
Chivas’ heralded right back John Hilton is excellent going forward, and put in some great crosses. San Juan’s midfield did well, particularly Jack Handen. Handen is a very technical player and is smooth on the ball.
The lone goal of the game was provided by Chivas’ versatile captain Daniel Villegas. Villegas hit a beautiful left footed volley into the back of the net.
San Juan kept the match close, but just couldn’t get enough of the ball to make an impact on offense. Chivas stayed very patient in possession in their own third, but when they were attacking in the final third they did so ferociously. All of their attacking players were comfortable taking players on, and their combination play was extraordinary.
One gets the sense this team will continue to develop under head coach Brian Kleiban.
Man of the Match: Carlos Anguiano
San Jose Earthquakes 3, Pateadores 1
The San Jose Earthquakes academy is starting to really come together, particularly with their younger teams. A forward who is quickly turning heads is Kaya Fabbretti, who provided two of the Quakes’ three goals on the day. Kaya now has 15 goals in 8 games, and is an absolutely clinical finisher in the box.
The Earthquakes’ midfield duo of Amado Lozano and Trent Hudson proved to be too much for the Pateadores. Both players were comfortable on the ball in the buildup, and worked hard on the defensive side to overrun the Pats’ midfield. Felipee Sanchez, a midfielder from the Pateadores, displayed his technique and creativity throughout the game though.
A goal by Earthquakes forward Ivan Valencia right before the half deflated a creative Pateadores team. The Pats started the 2nd half with the bulk of possession and really tried to play out of the back, but just couldn’t execute. In the end, the Earthquakes had too much individual quality for the Pats to keep up.
Man of the Match: Kaya Fabbretti
Los Angeles Futbol Academy 6, Cal Odyssey 3
LAFA came out with a lot of energy, and their forwards worked relentlessly to win the ball back for their team. The unorganized backline of Cal Odyssey allowed LAFA numerous shots on goal.
LAFA forwards Bryan Perez and Alejandro Barrera were excellent on the ball. They constantly forced Cal Odyssey’s back line into errors, and took their opportunities well. Perez scored two goals, while Barrera added another.
Cal Odyssey midfielders Ulysses Vega and Carlos Osuna put in solid performances, but didn’t have enough help up top. Osuna took advantage of a hand ball in the box to slot home a well taken penalty.
LAFA center back Daquan Dawkins was excellent defensively. Dawkins is a very strong defender who won his fair share of tackles on the day.
Man of the Match: Bryan Perez