It is a rare weekend in the Development Academy.
The West Conference is finally on a brief break, and there is action in nearly every other division.
There are a number of highly ranked teams facing off against each other in the Midwest this weekend. Crew Soccer Academy Wolves (12-1-2) will be hosting the Chicago clubs (Magic and Fire) on Saturday and Sunday respectively. These are the first two games for the Wolves since December.
Will the break disrupt Wolves’ rhythm? Or is the Michigan club going to keep rolling through the competition?
Chicago Magic PSG U18 is trying to keep pace with Indiana Fire Academy at the top of the Mid-America Division this weekend. Indiana is off this week, which means Magic could shrink the nine-point lead at the top of the table with a pair of wins. Standing in the way is a trip to Michigan with games against Crew Soccer Academy Wolves and Vardar SC Freiburg.
Shattuck-Saint Mary’s Soccer Academy (Minnesota) U18 is only trailing Magic by one point in the standings, so any slip by the Chicago club this weekend could open the door for the residential academy. SSM’s potent attack will be on display in St. Louis this weekend with games against Scott Gallagher Metro and Scott Gallagher Missouri. SSM attackers Michael Bajza and Eddosa Muhammed have combined to score 14 goals this season.
The San Diego derby is the lone contest from the weekend in the West Conference. Nomads SC plays host to San Diego Surf at UC San Diego on Sunday evening. Surf U16 has the most realistic postseason ambition from the group, and greedily needs a full three points for the game. Bryce Flores and Pablo Pelaez have been the go-to players for Surf with 20 goals between the two. However, Pelaez will be with the U15 Boys National Team camp at the Home Depot Center and looks like he will miss the clash. Surf attacking midfielder Lucas de La Torre is also set to miss out as he will be with the U15 BNT.
Players Development Academy continues to steamroll through the opposition in Development Academy with its two teams combining for 21 wins in the first 28 games. This weekend Match Fit Academy has the honors of taking on its fellow New Jersey club. Like other teams across the country, PDA U16 will be shorthanded due to the U15/U14 BNT camp. Match Fit U16’s season has been rough, but forward Tarek Fayed has still found ways to score with seven goals to his name. He may be the key to an upset on Sunday.
D.C. United, the leaders of the Atlantic Division in the U16 age group, hit the road this weekend for a game against Richmond Strikers. United’s attack is proving to be too difficult to contain with five players already scoring six or more goals this season. Winger Gerson Umana leads the way with 12 goals in 16 games.
Also in the Atlantic Division, Baltimore Bays Chelsea hosts Richmond Kickers on Sunday. Bays U18 are in second place in the division behind the prolific output from striker Yaw Amankwa, who has 15 goals this season. A win on Sunday (and a loss by PDA) would only close the lead at the top of the table with the division leaders set to play once more this season.
Matthew Vasquenza and the Oakwood Soccer Club U16 side are trying to close the gap on New York Red Bulls in the Northeast Division standings. Oakwood is in second place and takes on Montreal Impact this weekend. The Connecticut club has won two in a row since returning from winter break.
In its five games of 2013, Weston FC has scored 23 goals. Over four goals per game is a rate that not many other clubs in the country can come close to, and the Florida Academy does not look like it will be slowing down anytime soon. This weekend, Weston FC travels up to South Carolina United Battery Academy, which is a rematch from a few weeks ago that Weston U18 won 6-3. Nicholas Pappacena looks like he is gunning for the Golden Boot in the Development Academy with 21 goals to his name.
CASL Chelsea FC Academy, second place in the U18 Southeast Division and first place in the U16 division, takes on North Meck on Sunday. CASL is coming off a loss to Georgia United in both age groups two weeks ago, and will be looking to get back on track against its in-state rivals.