The 2012-2013 Development Academy Finals Week kicked off play on Sunday evening from the Houston Amateur Sports Park with the last 16 teams left standing battling for the two National Championship trophies – one for the U15/16 age group and one of the U17/18 age group.
De Anza Force, one of two clubs to send both teams to the event, finished the opening day with a win and a draw. De Anza’s U16 squad looked like it was headed toward a full three points with a 2-1 lead over Colorado Rapids late, but an equalizer from Jovanni Chavez with ten minutes remaining left both teams with a point from the game. Carlos Delgadillo (Santa Clara commit) and Aravind Sivakumar (California commit) scored the goals for the Northern California squad. Edward Venta-Yepes had the other goal for the Rapids.
De Anza Force U18 battled back from an early deficit against St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri on its way to a 3-1 win. Zachary Kavanaugh scored the opener in the third minute, but goals by Jason Romero, Danya Kafai (Stanford commit), and Nicholas Lima (California commit) pushed De Anza to the win.
Shattuck-Saint Mary’s Soccer Academy and Vancouver Whitecaps also recorded wins in the U18 age group in the opening games. SSM defeated New England Revolution 3-2 behind two goals from Creighton commit Ricardo Lopez-Espin. Fellow Creighton commit Lucas Stauffer scored the other tally for the Minnesota club in its first Finals Week appearance.
Vancouver Whitecaps defeated local rival Seattle Sounders 3-1 behind a pair of goals from Duke commit Brody Huitema. Marco Bustos had the other goal for the Caps. David Olsen had the lone goal for the Sounders.
In the other U18 fixture, New York rivals Red Bulls and Alberston SC played to a 3-3 draw. Georgetown commit Alex Muyl had two goals for the MLS Academy in the first half after Brett Nason, a Michigan commit, opened the scoring for Albertson in the second minute. Eric McKenna, a Villanova recruit, put the squads back on level terms just before half. Jeongho Ahn gave Albertson the lead shortly after half time, but a late equalizer from Jhon Estama had the teams splitting the spoils.
From the U16 age group, Solar Chelsea SC and Real Salt Lake AZ both started Finals Week with three points. Solar defeated Crew Soccer Academy Wolves 2-1, while RSL AZ topped Albertson SC 3-1 thanks to goals from Diego Silva, Sebastian Saucedo, and Jose Hernandez. Arthur Bosua had the lone goal for Albertson.
In the other game, local rivals Houston Dynamo and Texans SC Houston played to a scoreless draw with Andy Rios and Michael Veith recording the shutouts in net for Dynamo and Texans respectively.
Finals Week action resumes on Tuesday with the U17/18 age group kicking off at 6:00 p.m. (CT) and the U15/16 age group concluding the day with games at 8:30 p.m. (CT). Games can be viewed live on Hi-Podcasts site.
Picture: Seattle Sounders Academy Twitter