PHOENIX, Arizona – The U18 Baltimore Bays Chelsea are really, really good. We’re talking loads of talent and a track record to match:
A third-place finish at the Development Academy National Finals this past summer and well known players like Michael Gamble, Malcolm Harris, Seth Moses and FC Delco transfer Chris Somerville.
It’s the kind of team you’d just as soon avoid. Unless you’re Crew Soccer Academy.
The team from Ohio made a nice statement Monday with an emphatic 4-2 victory that said a lot about its potential. (watch video footage)
“You can’t go in there thinking about how good they are,” said Celestin, who finished with a goal and several shots. “(We had to) just keep pounding them and not stop. Those guys are sick so we couldn’t give up.”
The pounding began early and didn’t let up.
Celestin and Davis are a combination that should cause problems for defenses this season. Celestin, is a tall and slender striker with a smooth stride. He can get north to south quickly and effortlessly.
His partner in crime, Davis, is also a good athlete, but seems to relish making the highlight assist. Although he got just a little too casual at times, he threaded some pretty passes to teammates during the first half.
During the sequence of the half, Davis took space in the middle, turned around and back-tapped an accurate ball to Celestin on the left wing who fired a shot far post.
Just like that, the Crew had a 2-0 lead and a ton of confidence.
From the start, the match was a fairly wide open one with good spacing and ball movement. The Bays started to assert themselves when they were able to find Gamble in better positions.
A truly elite attacker who played well in the Development Academy Select Game this past weekend, Gamble makes some of the sharpest cuts with the ball you’ll ever see, and never stops competing.
Midway through the second half, he got on the board with a 1v1 move in the middle of the field blast in the box.
One player who didn’t have the best of days was Somerville, a guy with a Rooney-esque competitive spirit and motor. It boiled over a little as he was hit with a red card following two yellows.
His ejection was kind of indicative of how frustrating the Crew were as they essentially out-Bayed the Bays.
Rhodes Moore and Michael Dicesare scored the final two goals for Crew, while Christian Wulff added a late score for Baltimore.
U16 Albertson SC 2, Chicago Fire 0
Tarek Beckles is a serious ball-winner. There were a couple of occasions when he literally snatched possession from the Chicago Fire like a neighborhood bully. His heat-seeking pursuit of the ball led to the team’s first goal, when he moved a Fire player off the ball right in front of the net and calmly put it in. The match was cake from there.
U18 Derby County 5, Seacoast United 2
Derby County, which has established itself as one of the top clubs in the country, appeared to be on a different level than Seacoast – at least on Monday. Strikers Nermin Crnkic (two goals) and Gabe Mateo (one goal) worked well up top together while Dzenan Catic scored twice. Per usual, TJ VanSlooten also played a quality match as Derby flashed the kind of form that has delivered them multiple national titles.
U18 Sockers FC 1, Oakwood Soccer Club 0
Charles Giovenco netted a goal in the 86th minute to give the Sockers a dramatic win. A tough defensive game, goalkeeper Jeffrey Gal kept a clean sheet to allow his Chicago club to hold on for the victory.
U16 Indiana United 2, New York Red Bulls 0
Thomas Sanner scored a couple of goals in a 13-minute stretch to lift his Indiana club to an easy win over the Red Bulls. Sanner is a solid striker who know how to position himself to score. Goalkeeper Dayton Jennings was strong for the United in the win.