The Colorado Rapids U-18s lead their group after day one of U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The Rapids defeated the South Carolina United Battery 4-1 on Monday in the first of three group matches. The Dallas Texans and Empire Soccer Club tied 1-1 in the other group match.
Dillon Serna scored twice for the Rapids U-18s, with Shane O'Neill and IdrIssa Camara extending the Rapids' lead in the second half.
The Rapids had to overcome a knee injury to starting center back Jason Pillard that forced him out of the match in just the 8th minute. Shane O'Neill, who was recently signed by the pro side but is still eligible for the U-18s, was dropped from midfielder to defense for the remainder of the first half.
A few minutes later, Dillon Serna put the Rapids up when he picked up a loose ball at the top of the 18 yard box and hit a rocket past the Battery 'keeper. However the lead didn't last long, with the Battery equalizing minutes later.
After some halftime adjustments, Serna put the Rapids back up with another line drive shot 10 minutes into the second half. O'Neill, back in the midfield, then set up Camara's goal in the 66' with a pass behind the center backs. Camara nicely slotted the ball home on his first touch.
O'Neill then closed out the scoring with five minutes to go, finally knocking in a rebound on sequence when the Battery 'keeper stopped two of his shots.
The U-18s next match is tonight against Empire United Soccer Academy (7 pm MT). Colorado's last match of group play is on Thursday morning against the Texans.
The U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs aims to provide a national platform for Academy teams to play for a berth to Finals Week, an event that crowns a U-15/16 and U-17/18 Academy champion.
Following a 10-month Academy season, the top two teams (based on divisional points per game) from each of the Academy’s 10 geographically-based divisions, plus 12 wild card squads (based on overall points per game), are seeded from 1-32 and placed into eight groups of four. The teams that qualify for the event compete for four days and group winners will earn for one of eight spots to the Academy’s Finals Week in Houston from July 16-23.