This weekend, the Colorado Rapids Under-16 and U-18 teams will compete in their second to last bout of matches before the end of the 2012/13 U.S. Soccer Development Academy regular season, each facing two squads in Texas, Andromeda FC and Dallas Texans, on Saturday and Sunday. Both teams were also in Texas last week for a pair of games against Solar Chelsea SC and FC Dallas.
The U-16s ousted the first place Solar by a 1-0 score on Saturday. The Rapids started the match strong, and forward Hayden Heinrich scored early tucking away an 8th minute goal and his 6th of the season. Then on Sunday, the squad dropped a 4-0 result to FC Dallas, bringing Colorado’s overall record to 13-8-3 (W-L-T) and 5th in the Frontier Division. They also currently hold the 6th Wildcard spot for playoffs, where the top three teams in each conference are guaranteed to play and 13 wildcard teams advance based on points per game played.
The U-18s haven’t seen as much success this season as last, when they finished second overall in the regular season. On Saturday, the Rapids fell 2-0 to Solar Chelsea from two defensive lapses despite maintaining a majority of the possession and having several chances at goal. On Sunday, Colorado hit an early road block when Michael Gottlinger was sent off in the 15th minute for a challenge and played the remainder of the game a man down. Dallas took a 2-0 lead after 54 minutes, and Ricardo Perez answered back in the 74th to pull the deficit to one goal. A counterattack in the 81st minute led to a third FC Dallas goal and a defeat for the Rapids, bringing them to 8-12-4 and out of playoff contention.
This weekend, the U-16s take on Andromeda FC on Saturday and Dallas Texans on Sunday, where any point will be valuable in improving their chances of playoff qualification. The U-18s will face their counterparts on the same days with a younger squad than normal. A handful of U-18 players, including Perez, Isaac Martinez, and Alex Braman, traveled with the Colorado Rapids first team to participate in a Reserve match against the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday. As a result, some U-16 players will move up to play fill out the roster for the older side. Then, both teams will finish out the season against local rivals Real Colorado on Saturday, June 1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
ABOUT THE U.S. SOCCER DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY: The U.S Soccer Development Academy is a nationwide youth development initiative, organized by the U.S. Soccer Federation, featuring 78 of the top youth teams in the country competing in a league system at both the U-18 and U-16 levels. The 78 youth programs, including one U.S. Youth National Team in each age group, are divided into 10 geographically based divisions, each of which will send a single qualifier to the national finals after the regular season concludes in late June. For more information on the U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy, please visit www.ussoccer.com.