It was a day of firsts at the 2016-2017 U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Championship at the National Training Center in Carson, California. Atlanta United and Texans SC Houston won the National Championship for the first time in club history.
Atlanta United won the first game on Sunday in the U15/U16 age group against perennial favorite FC Dallas 2-1 behind a brace from Andrew Carleton. Texans SC Houston knocked off the home team LA Galaxy 2-1 in the second game of the night thanks to goals from Christian Cappis and Omar Vasquez.
A two-goal performance from Andrew Carleton lifted Atlanta United to a 2-1 win over defending champion FC Dallas in the 2016-2017 U15/U16 Development Academy National Championship on Sunday at the National Training Center in Carson, California.
After a scoreless first half, Carleton scored the opener in the 63rd minute. Second-half substitute Jackson Conway was brought down right outside of the 18-yard box in the attacking third for Atlanta United. It was a soft foul, but the free kick was a convincing strike. Carleton bent the ball over the wall and then inside of the post.
Carleton doubled the lead with another memorable tally. The U.S. U17 Men’s National Team standout scored his second in the 67th minute on a sublime volley. The play started with center back Will Crain who hit a free kick long to Conway. The striker flicked it on for Carleton. The winger hit it while in stride and left FC Dallas goalkeeper Michael Collodi helpless with perfect placement.
FC Dallas made it interesting late with a goal in stoppage time from Edwin Cerrillo. Homegrown signing Jesus Ferreira delivered the ball for Cerrillo to flick into the net and cut the lead to 2-1 with only a couple of minutes left in the game.
Atlanta United held on during the final seconds of the game thanks to a great save from goalkeeper Sai Brown and claimed a 2-1 win in the national championship clash. It was the first championship for the MLS academy in their first trip to the finals.
Texans SC Houston scored the opening goal in the 34th minute when standout midfielder Christian Cappis put in his 18th goal of the season after a whiffed clearance from a Galaxy defender gave him an easy look on goal. Cappis passed the ball into the net for the first tally of the game.
Galaxy responded in the second half with a wonder strike from 15-year-old Efrain Alvarez off an assist from 16-year-old Ulysses Llanez. Alvarez’s sweet left-footed strike bent away from the goalkeeper and into the far post of the net.
Texans SC Houston regained the lead with just under 20 minutes left in the game. Left back Omar Vasquez was the hero of the night with the game-winner. Vasquez’s curler found the top corner of the goal past the diving effort from LA Galaxy goalkeeper Eric Lopez.
Texans’ pressure created problems for the Galaxy in the second half, and helped kill off the game through the final 10 minutes of the contest. Galaxy’s youthful players were uncharacteristically sloppy with their passes in the final stages of the game. The imprecise play prevented Galaxy from generating many chances at the end of the game.
The best chance from the run of play came on a cross that fell in front of right back Zico Bailey inside of the six-yard box, but Texans goalkeeper Gregory Baxa was first to the ball with his hands and smothered the ball before Bailey could connect.
Forward Alex Bruce and Cappis did an excellent job in killing off the game late, and the Texans held on for a 2-1 win in the 2016-2017 U17/U18 Development Academy National Championship.