PHOENIX - There are multiple routes to reach the same destination.
The U18 Sporting Kansas City and Cosmos Academy East (watch game video) squads arrived separately at the Reach 11 Complex on Friday for the opening day of the Development Academy 2010 Winter Showcase, but they ended up sharing the same field – and ultimately a match.
Sporting and Cosmos battled to a 1-1 tie using completely contrasting styles and personnel.
New to the Development Academy this season, the Cosmos, of New York, are characterized by their dynamic attackers.
Striker Aaron Dennis, and Ibrahim Diaby, who played behind him, have a similarly lanky build and smooth dribbling skills. Then there’s midfielder Moriken Sangary, a small and quick player who is surprisingly strong over the ball.
It seemed that what the Cosmos made look seamless, the Sporting had to grind for. They pursued the ball hard played a lot of longer balls into the box.
Midfielder Paul Oliver made some nice plays for the hard working KC group.
During a second half that busted wide open and gave both sides plenty of scoring chances, each team likely came away feeling as though they had lost an opportunity.
“We played well at times and dropped off (at other times),” said Sporting midfielder Lucas Throckmorton, who scored the equalizing goal late in the final half after heading in a cross from teammate Shane Bowlen. “It was a good game. I wish we could have played at a more consistent level.”
On the other side, the talent and athleticism of the Cosmos came into full fruition early in the second when Diaby pinpointed a through ball to a striding Dennis who beat goalkeeper Jonathan Kempin 1v1 for the goal – no small task.
Kempin, who recently signed a professional contract with the Sporting, had a fine day and made two consecutive goal-saving stops in the final minutes when the game was its most frantic.
One of those saves actually glanced off Kempin’s arm and had to be cleared by Throckmorton.
Late close calls for the Sporting included a flick in the box by Asher Herbet and a great corner kick by Garrett Pulliam that found the foot of Raymond Lee who yanked the shot wide.
U18 CASL 9, Met Oval 1
The head-turner of the day came during a morning match when CASL blasted its opponent from New York with little sympathy.
Bryan Roque and Herbet Rivera scored two goals apiece and five other players got in on the action in what was the biggest blowout most of these kids had been a part of that didn’t involve an Xbox.
“We came out ready to play and everyone was pumped and played well the whole game,” Roque said. “We have a really strong group – a lot of the same guys from last year, just a few new ones, so we have good chemistry.”
U16 Internationals 2, Seacoast United 1
Andre Simmond, a holding midfielder for Seacoast United, flashed some really good signs while on the field Friday. Talking and directing his teammates, he also led by example – mainly by aggressively challenging the opposing attackers. He helped Seacoast tie its game 1-1 in the first half on a goal from James White. Internationals bounced back on a go-ahead score from Zach Martin that clinched the win.
U16 Chicago Magic 3, FC Greater Boston 1 (Watch Video)
Josue Chavez is a small attacker with a good nose for the ball. He’s opportunistic around the box, and showed as much when he took a pass and was patient enough to wait for a defender to fly by before shooting and scoring. Chavez’s goal spurred the Magic to two more – from Jonathan Hernandez and Benjamin Gunhus in their victory.
U16 Chicago Fire 1, NJSA 1
Drew Conner swooped in during the 80th minute for an equalizing goal that helped the Fire earn the tie. The Fire had been knocking at the door after NJSA took a 1-0 edge on Ethan Decker’s score in the 14th minute, and they earned the clutch score just in time.
U16 Derby County 1, Baltimore Bays 0
Sanath Shettigar has the look of a kid who has a played a lot of soccer. Shettigar has a feel and technical skill on the ball that comes with hours of practice. He stood out in the Wolves’ win over the Bays where Justin Burrell scored the winner in the 45th minute.
Saturday’s action will feature four select matches of 1994-95 grouped players along with 1992-93s.