The game of the weekend in the USSF’s Development Academy is in Arizona, where Real Salt Lake’s residency youth academy in Casa Grande hosts San Jose Earthquakes.
Both of the U18 teams for those clubs sit in first place in their respective divisions with just over four months left in the season. Earthquakes are 10-5-0 on the season, but suffering through a slump at this point with two losses in the last three games.
RSL-AZ continues to roll past opposition with two commanding victories since returning from break a couple of weeks ago. RSL is 11-2-3 on the season with a seven-point lead at the top of the standings. However, second place LA Galaxy have three games in hand.
The matchup in Arizona will definitely highlight some of the top talent coming out of the Development Academy this season with South Carolina-bound outside back Ive Burnett, Marquette-bound forward Jose Navarro, and Virginia-bound midfielder Riggs Lennon all expected to feature with RSL.
The desert fixture is not the only game on the docket in the West Conference this weekend. Aforementioned LA Galaxy is headed north of the border for a game against the Whitecaps on Saturday.
Vancouver is red hot since the returning to play in 2013 with three wins in a row and a plus 13-goal differential. Yassin Essa and Duke-bound striker Brody Huitema have combined to score 10 goals in the last three games.
Chivas USA is also making the trek to the great Pacific Northwest this weekend with a game against Crossfire Premier on Saturday before switching places with the Galaxy on Sunday. Chivas USA’s U16 side is undefeated in its last five games, and sitting in second place in its division.
In Northern California, Cal Odyssey hosts San Juan Soccer Club and De Anza Force takes on local rival Santa Cruz Breakers on Saturday.
The other game up for discussion as game of the week is in the East Conference where the streaking Orlando City U16 squad faces a difficult road test against Concorde Fire (on Saturday) and Georgia United (on Sunday). OCYS has won five games in a row, as the team is enjoying a stellar debut season in the Development Academy.
The fixtures this weekend pit the squad against fourth and third best teams in the division, respectively. Georgia United went four months without registering a loss to start the season, but saw the streak slip away last week against Charlotte Soccer Club.
Georgia United, still one of the top defenses in the Academy statistically, will hope to slow down the onslaught of goals from Orlando City’s Richard Prestridge who has 15 goals in 13 games.
North Meck SC plays IMG Academy, Charlotte Soccer Academy hosts Chargers SC, and Richmond Strikers takes on Virginia Rush in the other games this weekend.
All the action from the Central Conference is in Texas this weekend.
FC Dallas, the bullies of the division for the past couple of years, take on Andromeda on Saturday. Dallas sits alone in the top spot in the Frontier Division for the U18 age group, but remains in third in the U16 age group.
One of the teams that the MLS academy is chasing is also in action this weekend. Solar Chelsea SC, second in the division, hosts Classics Elite on Saturday. Solar’s 32 goals this season have predominantly come from four players with Bryson Asher, Casey Collins, Brock Dudley, and Nathanael Rennhack all getting in on the action.
Also in Texas, Texans SC Houston take on Texas Rush while Lonestar SC Academy faces Houston Dynamo and Classics Elite also takes on Dallas Texans.