Two goals by forward Jose Villareal clinched the 2011 Development Academy championship for Pateadores, who won 2-1 against 10-man FC Dallas squad on Friday afternoon in Milwaukee.
The championship featured two of the best U-18 teams in the nation, as FC Dallas, one of the top MLS clubs in producing young talent, faced Pateadores, an Orange County, Calif., club that only qualified thanks to two late goals on Wednesday.
After a nervy start, Pateadores struck first in the ninth minute. A foul by FCD defender Jack Coleman gave the California club a dangerous free kick chance. Villareal, the club’s leading scorer, delivered by curling a beautiful free kick with his left foot around the Dallas wall and past goalie Eduardo Cortes.
On the heels of the goal, Dallas improved, slowly getting back into the mix, dominating possession and getting forward in search of an equalizer. However, it almost proved costly in the 26th minute when Villareal tried to flick in a second goal, his shot bouncing just wide.
On the other side of the break, FC Dallas picked up where they left off in search of that elusive tying goal. The effort hit a hitch in the 58th minute as Daniel Garcia picked up his second yellow card and Dallas were reduced to 10 men for the rest of the match.
That didn’t stop them from getting the equalizer five minutes later. Victor Ulloa scrapped to maintain possession in the Pateadores box, then found substitute Michael Ambrose at the top of the 18, who crossed to a wide open Bryan Leyva who calmly slotted past Jose Cervantes.
A defensive mistake by Pateadores almost proved costly later on. A defender stumbled over a bouncing ball, allowing substitute Victor Pinal in on goal alone, but Cervantes got enough on the Pinal’s shot to preserve the deadlock.
Moments later, Villareal came through again in the 81st minute. With his back to the Dallas goal, the diminutive forward leapt to trap a high ball with his chest, settled, turned and fired past Cortes with his left foot.
It was a fitting end for a special player, who is reportedly a late addition to the US U-18 roster heading to Ireland for the Milk Cup next week.
LA Galaxy to face Union affiliate PA Classics in U-16 final
The LA Galaxy will face Philadelphia Union youth affiliate PA Classics in the U-16 final on Saturday after both topped their respective group.
The Galaxy triumphed in an all-MLS encounter against the Seattle Sounders to clinch a spot, with the winner of the match topping the group and advancing to the championship game. After a scoreless first half, the Galaxy scored three times in a 10-minute span after the break to clinch the spot.
The Galaxy’s latest Home Grown signing and US U-17 international Jack McBean led the U-16s, who have been dominant in the group stage.
They’ll face PA Classics to close out Finals Week as the Union affiliate, led by a Connor Maloney brace, knocked off the North Carolina Fusion 3-0 to win Group 2 .
Other MLS Academies at Finals Week
Seattle’s heavy loss on Thursday meant a third-place finish in Group 1, and they’ll take on the North Carolina Fusion on Saturday to wrap up their Finals Week experience.
The New York Red Bulls U-18s couldn’t overcome an opening-day loss to the eventual champion Pateadores, and they will aim for a fifth-place finish when they take on Baltimore Bays Chelsea on Friday afternoon.
They got the result they need on Thursday, but Real Salt Lake’s U-16s didn’t get the help required to advance to the Finals. Needing a draw between PA Classics and North Carolina Fusion, the Pennsylvania club’s 3-0 win over the Fusion consigned RSL-AZ to a second-place finish in Group 2 and the third-place game.
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark.