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Academy Weekend Preview: March 17-18

Published: March 16, 2012

While the arrival of mid-March jumpstarts the year for numerous clubs, many Development Academy sides aren’t quite into the thick of their Division schedules.

That aside, non-division games are just as important considering the determining factors of wild card playoff spots.

One of the most dominant teams across the Academy, FC Dallas’ U18s, welcomes a pair of Ohio visitors this weekend, with Internationals and Crew Soccer Academy heading to Texas. Crew U18 center back Andrew Souders will have to be at his best to stop high-scoring FC Dallas forward Danny Garcia.

boys club soccer player andrew soudersAndrew Souders
Internationals and the Crew will make the most of their trip south also getting a non-division game against the Dallas Texans.

Central Conference

The two St. Louis Scott Gallagher clubs – Missouri and Metro – take to the road this weekend to face the Chicago Fire. Chicago has two talented sides, with the U16s led by goalkeeper Kyle Dal Santo and Louis Bennett, while two full professionals in Kellen Gulley and Victor Pineda are part of a strong U18 team. Along with playing the Fire, the two Scott Gallagher sides will also take on the Chicago Magic while in the Windy City.

The Colorado Rapids are amongst those sides playing this weekend for the first time in a long time, hosting Classics Elite and Lonestar SC. Akron-bound midfielder Dillon Serna is likely to be hungry to close out his club career on a high note for the Denver-area side.

The Rapids coaching staff will have plenty of patience given the long layoff entering this weekend.

“Our focus will be totally on ourselves this weekend,” Rapids U18 head coach Brian Crookham told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “We’ve obviously looked at Classics, looked at Lonestar, just kind of see where they are and there are dangerous players in both groups.”

FC Milwaukee, like many others, restarts this weekend, hosting Shattuck-Saint Mary’s Academy and the Minnesota Thunder. Shattuck-Saint Mary’s also plays Sockers FC on the weekend.

West Conference

A rivalry on the MLS stage dips down to the Academy this weekend, as the LA Galaxy hosts the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday. It’s a massive test for the Earthquakes who need to boost its points per game average at both the U18 and U16 age groups to have a shot at the playoffs. LA is also scheduled to play against Cal Odyssey on Sunday.

One of the few divisions to see inter-division games is in the Northwest, as the Seattle Sounders face cross-city rivals Crossfire on Sunday. Seattle’s U16s are currently top of the division standings, with the U18s trailing only the De Anza Force. Three points are a must for both sides.

East Conference

It was a perfect start to a new part of the schedule for Baltimore Bays Chelsea, which won all four games last weekend at both age levels. The Bays will host South Central Premier and Oakwood Soccer Club, trying to continue and build momentum in the early stretch of their season.

LA and San Jose aren’t the only two MLS Academies to square off this weekend, as the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United tussle on Sunday. Both programs have already sent players through to the first team, and New York’s U18 side led by Brandon Allen takes on a tough D.C. side comprised of top players like Jalen Robinson and Collin Martin.

South Conference

Action in the South Conference is limited to just a few teams as the Florida clubs prepare for the chase. IMG Academy is making the trip to North Carolina, where they’ll face both Charlotte Soccer Academy and North Meck SC.
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