Seattle Sounders U18 could clinch the Northwest Division this weekend when the MLS academy travels to Southern California for the final time of the regular season. The Sounders take on Pateadores on Saturday and Strikers on Sunday. Seattle needs a win from either game to take the division title. Pateadores also have a lot on the line, as the Southern California squad needs to win its final three games to have a shot at a wild card berth for the postseason. Brian Pacheco has been the main threat for Pats lately with three goals in the last two games.
The Pats U18 pressure to close out the regular season on a winning streak puts an added emphasis on Sunday’s game against Portland Timbers. The Timbers U18 are undefeated in their last six games and hold one of the final wild card spots. Akron commit Anthony Macchione has scored in three games in a row to propel Portland on this undefeated run.
In Northern California, San Jose Earthquakes U14 put a nine-game undefeated run on the line on Saturday when they take on Juventus Sport Club. Ivan Valencia and Kaya Fabbretti have been the focal points of the lengthy undefeated run as the two forwards have combined for 51 goals over the course of the Academy season.
Solar Chelsea SC U18 is attempting to close out the regular season with authority as the Texas club recorded shutout victories in its last three games. This weekend, Solar takes on Texas Rush. Solar needs four points from its final two games to clinch the third spot in the division and the automatic berth to the playoffs. The Dallas team will be without the services of leading scorer Alan Winn this weekend, as the forward is currently playing with the U.S. U20 Men’s National Team in North Carolina.
Sporting KC U18, another team battling for a wild card spot, has a difficult task this weekend with a game against division leaders FC Dallas. Sporting KC needs a victory to stay in the hunt for one of the final wild card spots. Zach Wright’s hot streak has kept Sporting KC alive this long as the forward has five goals in his last three games.
It is a quiet weekend for the Mid-America Division as many teams have a brief break. Chicago Fire U18 against FC Wisconsin Nationals on Tuesday is one of the only games on the slate. Fire already locked up the division title, but continues to climb the national standings for a better seed for the playoffs. Fire goalkeeper Adrian Remeniuk and Sawyer Jackman have recorded shutouts in three of their past four games.
The battle for Georgia is on the schedule for Monday as Concorde Fire hosts rival Georgia United. Georgia United U18 is in need of a win as it sits in the final wild card spot heading into the weekend. Georgia United’s strength has been in the second half when it has scored five of its last seven goals. Concorde Fire U18 sits in the third spot in the division standings with a six-point lead with five games left. Both clubs’ U16 squads are in good playoff spots via the wild card. The two teams battled to a 1-1 draw earlier this season with Patrick Okonkwo and Jarius Romano finding the back of the net.
The game of the weekend may come on Monday from Maryland where Bethesda-Olney, the impressive Academy debutants, hosts D.C. United. Bethesda-Olney needs to navigate past a tricky Match Fit Academy FC side first. Match Fit U16 has won nine of its 10 games entering the weekend. Both Bethesda-Olney and Match Fit Academy sit in wild card spots in the U16 age group. Match Fit won the first meeting this season 1-0 behind a goal from Brandon Sabinsky.