The U19’s finished off their Development Academy regular season games for 2017 down in South Florida, but the results didn’t quite go as planned. We tell you about it in this week’s prospects recap, as well as a look at how the Atlanta United alums set to contest for an NCAA title.
Tough sledding in South Florida
The academy took a road trip South over the weekend to take on the two Miami-area based DA clubs in their region: Kendall SC and Weston FC. Kendall and Weston have a long history of producing fine players from greater Miami, and their current squads represent some of Atlanta United’s toughest challengers in the Southeast.
The U19’s dropped a 2-1 result to Kendall on Saturday. Chad Letts scored a late goal to bring United back in the match from 2-0 down, but the comeback was not meant to be. On Sunday, a first-half brace from Weston FC striker Gabriel Muzy put United in a hole, and they were finished off by a penalty kick from United States U17 star George Acosta in a 3-0 loss. Despite the on-field results, it was somewhat of a milestone weekend for the U19’s, specifially goalkeeper Justin Garces, who made his first appearances for an Atlanta United squad after returning from the U17 World Cup. Alessandro Castro also returned to the lineup after contesting the U17 World Cup with Honduras.
The U17’s got a 4-0 win against Kendall on Saturday, with goals from Victor Delgado, Jackson Conway, Liam Butts and Natneal McDonald. Sunday’s match against Weston was a thriller, with the home side coming out on top by a 4-3 scoreline. Another U17 World Cup veteran, defender Alex Bahr, made his return to the academy after almost a year spent in Honduras with their U17 side.
Alums Learn Tournament Fates
The NCAA Division I men’s soccer tournament kicks off this week, and for the first time ever, multiple Atlanta United alumni will have a presence in the bracket. Both Machop Chol’s Wake Forest and Kareve Richards’ Mercer will take part in the 48-team competition, with the winner set to be crowned in about a month’s time at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, PA.
Wake Forest wrapped up the number one overall seed in the tournament after winning the ACC Tournament title on penalty kicks against Virginia on Sunday. Chol appeared briefly as a substitute in the final, his 12th appearance for the team on the season. The Demon Deacons won their second straight ACC tournament to go with three consecutive regular-season titles, continuing their domination of the nation’s toughest men’s soccer conference.
Mercer, meanwhile, made something of a Cinderella run to win the Southern Conference tournament as the fourth seed in the conference. The Bears won two penalty shootouts in 3 days, first knocking out top seed East Tennessee State before beating UNC Greensboro in the final. Atlanta United’s Richards played every minute of the tournament on the Mercer back-line, which allowed just two goals over three tournament matches.
Mercer’s reward for their run is a first-round match-up this week against Sun Belt champions Coastal Carolina, while Wake awaits the winner of William & Mary vs. Columbia in the round of 32. Many NCAA tournament matches will be streamed on various platforms, so stay tuned for some high-stakes, single-elimination soccer over the next few weeks.
Another Round Against a Local Foe
For the second time this season, Atlanta United’s academy will take on local youth super-club United Futbol Academy this Saturday. Last match-up took place at Fowler Park in Forsyth County, but this one will be a home game for Atlanta United at the CHOA Training Ground.
UFA performed very admirably in the season’s first meetings, taking wins in the U14 and U17 ages while drawing the U15 game. This is UFA’s first season playing in the Development Academy at an age group older than U12, and the club’s teams are already developing a reputation for playing an aesthetically-pleasing style in their DA teams. It should be a highly-competitive affair at every age, so keep up with how things go next weekend in Marietta.