So here’s the situation.
The USSF Development Academy season concludes with two major events. The first is the DA playoffs, held this year in Frisco, Texas June 24-28. Thirty-two teams qualify, the top two teams in each of 10 divisions (based on inter-divisional play) and then 12 wildcard teams (based on overall points per game). Seeding is based entirely on points per game.
So in the U16 age group, the picture of who’s going is becoming much clearer following last weekend’s matches. Here’s a rundown of what the playoff picture looks like, including divisional berths and wild card slots, division-by-division.
Great Lakes Division: Crew Soccer Academy is in the driver’s seat for a two two finish, with 29 points from 14 matches. Vardar is at 27 but out of games, while Sockers FC and Chicago Fire each have a chance to move into the top two as they each have three games remaining, including one for each Wednesday night (we will update). Sockers, Vardar and Fire each currently would fit in the top 12 of the wild-card standings, but much remains to be determined as soon as Wednesday.
Texas Division: Houston Dynamo are at 29 points but are finished with divisional play. Texas Rush AJ Auxerre are also at 29 but have one more match, played this Saturday vs. Texans SC. Dallas Texans and Solar SC are each at 25 points, but with two matches remaining each against South Texas opposition over the next two weekends. Dallas Texans stayed alive with a 1-0 win over Lonestar SC last weekend, behind a shutout in goal from Kevin Wright and a winning strike from Andre Reyes. Solar on the other hand took an untimely 4-0 loss to FC Dallas, led by two goals from Bobby Edet.
Solar, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo and Texas Rush are all in the points range for a wild card berth should they not finish in the top two of the division. Dallas Texans are just outside of that category with two games remaining.
Albertson and Cosmos are both in wild card range, as is New York Red Bulls, which has two home matches remaining. Albertson defeated Red Bulls 3-0 last weekend behind a shut-out in goal from Eric Orologio and goals from Donovan Fraser, Jake Freeman and Franky Villegas.
Mid-Atlantic Division: Four teams still have a chance for a top two berth in this division. PA Classics are on 24 points, while DC United and FC DELCO have 21 each and Baltimore Bays Chelsea are on 20, with all four teams having two matches remaining. The matches are all against one another, with the Pennsylvania teams each traveling to D.C. and Baltimore for two games this weekend. DC kept pace last weekend with a 4-0 win over Potomac as Mason Fish recorded a shutout in goal and Collin Martin, Kennedy O’Shea, Damitola Adetola and Patrick Foss each scored.
Each of the four teams appears in good position for a wild card berth if they can’t finish in the top two.
Northeast Division: Empire United have clinched the division title with a 2-1 win over Seacoast United, as Jordan Allen banged home a couple of goals on the road. New England Revolution have the 2nd spot all but wrapped up, barring a total collapse from two matches on the road this weekend. Nobody else in this division looks like getting a wildcard berth.
Southeast Division: Concorde Fire and South Carolina United will get the berths from the division, the latter due to a superior goal difference over 3rd-placed IMG Academy. SCU punched their ticket last weekend with a pair of shutout wins as James Carlin scored a hat trick and Joseph Wichmann recorded a pair of shutouts in goal. Bradenton, Florida based IMG looks good for a wild card berth.
Northwest Division: As many as five teams could still fit into one of the top two berths here, as Seattle Sounders, De Anza Force, San Jose Earthquakes, Cal Odyssey and Crossfire Premier battle it out over the next two weekends. Seattle is the only one of the quintet that looks good for a wild card berth, and the Sounders have three matches remaining in the division as well, but didn’t help themselves with a 4-1 loss last weekend at home to De Anza Force. The Northern Californians got goals from Kody Wakasa, Ron Renznichky, Andy Perez and Ryan Masch, with Jeffrey Collings scoring the lone Seattle goal.
So Cal Division: Real Salt Lake/AZ has one divisional slot wrapped up, but LA Galaxy, Real So Cal, Irvine Strikers and Pateadores have a chance for the other. Galaxy, Real So Cal and San Diego Surf have a chance at a wild card berth as well.
Galaxy bounced into contention with two shutout wins this weekend. Stephen Copley recorded a shutout in goal and Drew Murphy scored the winner in a 1-0 defeat of Surf, while Copley got another clean sheet vs. Nomads and Murphy, Joseph Barakat, William Raygoza and Sebastian Velasquez scored in a 4-0 win against Nomads.
Tomorrow: A look at the U18s