For the second straight year, New York City FC’s Under-18/19 have finished as Boys Development Academy national champions.
The MLS franchise’s academy defeated FC Dallas by a 2-1 score in Wednesday’s title game at the Great Park Soccer Complex in Orange County, California. Goals from Vejtko Petkovic and Jonathan Jimenez provided the winning margin, but it was goalkeeper Alex Rando coming to the rescue 10 minutes into the game.
With the score level at 0-0 in the 10th minute, FC Dallas forward Gibran Rayo stepped up to the spot. But Rando smartly saved the penalty, diving to his right and turning aside Rayo’s shot. In the wake of Rando’s heroics, Jonathan Jimenez was once again a key figure for NYCFC going forward.
His run down the right with the ball helped unlock the FCD back line, as Jimenez’s cross in the 15th minute was deflected down into the path of Petkovic, who lashed home the game’s opening goal. Jimenez scored gain, picking the pocket of an FC Dallas defender and finishing his chance to seal the scoring, and another title for NYCFC’s Academy. His goal was more important when FC Dallas forward Benjamin Redzic scored in stoppage time, cutting into the lead. But NYCFC held on for a second straight championship.
Goalkeeping took center stage in the Under-16/17 final. Solar SC goalkeeper Chris Edwards was instrumental in keeping Concorde Fire off the board across 90 minutes. Extra time would be required, and it didn’t take long for the Texas side to open the scoring. Just two minutes into the extra period, Bailey Sparks slipped teammate Grant McCarty into a pocket space. Still well outside the 18, McCarty took a few touches towards the box, and released a beauty of a right-footed effort that kissed the post and went in.
But Chase Oliver ensured that Concorde wouldn’t go away without a fight. He found a way past Edwards in the 103rd minute, looping a high, headed ball from a nice cross into the back of the net. With the score knotted at 1-1, penalty kicks were required to award the U16/17 title.
“Please, sir, I want some more.”— Development Academy (@ussoccer_da) July 11, 2019
Oliver sent the Boys U-16/17 #DAChampionships into penalties with this brilliant header and had a celebration to match!@CF_soccerclub @solar_soccer @SportsCenter #SCtop10 pic.twitter.com/WDLD40oufK
The Solar shot-stopper would rise once again, saving two penalty kicks as the Texas club triumphed by a 4-2 score line from the spot.