Day two of the second round of U-15 and U-17 Generation adidas Cup Central Region qualifying was packed with dramatic finishes. With the forecast calling for on-and-off rain throughout the day, all six games were played on the Field Turf pitch at Houston Sports Park.
U-15: Chicago Fire 1-0 Toronto FC
A late goal helped the Chicago Fire U15’s remain unbeaten in the weekend’s Generation adidas Central Region qualifying tournament. Six minutes from full time, Fire midfielder Erik Kocs-Washburn headed home the winner off a rebound for his second game-winning goal in as many days.
The winning strike came after Chicago midfielder Alex Gonzalez worked free at the top of the penalty area for a right-footed shot that forced a sliding save from Toronto goalkeeper Dino Bontis. The ball rebounded high off Bontis and across the goalmouth, where Kocs-Washburn leapt and nodded it into the net.
Toronto surged late, looking for the equalizer, but Chicago’s defense was up to the challenge on each TFC foray, throwing bodies in front of crosses before they could find a Toronto attacker. The Canadians’ best chance came in the 20th minute, when winger Kobe Franklin latched onto the end of a cross with a right-footed side volley, forcing a diving save from Chicago ‘keeper Gabriel Sionina.
U-15: Houston Dynamo 2-1 Columbus Crew SC
Just hours after winning on penalties Friday night, the Dynamo U-15’s rallied in the second half to remain unbeaten on the weekend with a 2-1 result over Columbus Crew SC. Columbus came out of the gates fast, creating a pair of dangerous chances inside the first five minutes, and opened the scoring after just eight minutes. Applying pressure high up the pitch, the visitors intercepted a pass inside Houston’s defensive third that led to a through-ball from midfielder Aidan Wolf to midfielder Tyler Wolff behind the Dynamo back line. Wolff rounded the onrushing goalkeeper and slotted the ball home to put his side up.
The Dynamo settled in and created a few chances of their own in the first half, but didn’t level the match until the second stanza. After a Columbus foul 25 yards from goal, Dynamo captain Jack Clarkson whipped in a free kick that forced a diving save from Columbus goalkeeper Sam Rojanasakdakul. Houston midfielder D’Alessandro Herrera pounced on the rebound and put it in the back of the net.
Columbus continued to apply pressure as the match wore on, including a dangerous double chance inside the penalty area in the 63rd minute, but the Houston defense and goalkeeper Ismael Espinosa were up to the task. Then, with seven minutes left, the Dynamo drew a free kick at the right corner of Columbus’ penalty area. Clarkson played a high ball in toward the back post, and the cross deflected off the ‘keeper’s hands and into the net. Columbus nearly equalized in stoppage time, but Espinosa recovered to swat a flicked-on shot off the line.
U-17: Houston Dynamo 1-1 Columbus Crew SC (4-2 penalties)
For the second day in a row, a Dynamo Academy side won on penalties, as the U-17’s pulled out a 4-2 victory from the spot after playing to a 1-1 draw in regulation. Dynamo Academy goalkeeper Osmar Chavero stopped Columbus’ final two penalty attempts in the shootout, and his teammates made four consecutive attempts after a miss on the first shot, to earn the win.
Like their U-15 counterparts, the Columbus U-17’s came out fast, scoring in the eighth minute off of a corner kick. Midfielder Parker Crowell rose above the Dynamo back line and flicked a header that floated over Chavero and glided just inside the far post. The teams traded chances through the remainder of the half, but neither could find the net.
Again like the U-15’s, the Dynamo came out quickly after halftime, scoring just 90 seconds into the second half when forward Heriberto Soto got onto the end of a corner kick from forward Jaden Servania and smashed a first-touch volley into the net to level the score.
Both teams had penalty shouts denied late in the match; and Columbus came inches away from winning at the death, having three consecutive shots blocked inside the Dynamo penalty area in quick succession, the last of which came on the goal line as Dynamo defender Erik McCue threw his body in front of a shot to keep it out and send the match to penalties.
U-15: Colorado Rapids 4-0 South Texas ODP
The Rapids rebounded from a disappointing ending on Friday night with a strong victory Saturday afternoon, riding three second-half goals to top South Texas ODP 4-0.
While Colorado controlled possession in the first half, they were unable to find their scoring touch until a minute before the break when midfielder Luis Reyes stole the ball off the foot of an ODP defender and drove in alone at goal, slotting home a right-footed shot to give his side the edge at intermission.
Colorado kept the pressure on after halftime and doubled their lead eight minutes in when a free kick from Reyes was deflected inside the box and midfielder Ethan Ballek put away the rebound. Ballek notched a brace just seven minutes later with a stellar individual effort, dribbling in and out of traffic from 40 yards out before firing a left-footed shot in from the top of the 18. Defender Jaden Ohlsen finished the scoring with a right-footed shot in the 66th minute, shortly after subbing on.
The South Texas ODP side nearly hit the net early on when midfielder Jesus Iniguez took the ball down the left side before cutting in on his right foot and blasting a shot that whistled just over the crossbar; and goalkeeper Dominic Florio came up with three big saves in the final minutes.
U-17: Colorado Rapids 2-2 Toronto FC (2-4 penalties)
The second penalty shootout of the day saw Toronto FC stay atop the group thanks to a 4-2 shootout win after a physical, back-and-forth affair. Midfielder Mehdi Essoussi, a halftime substitute, pulled off a Panenka in the fifth round of penalties to win it for the Reds.
Toronto went ahead within the first two minutes through Ryan Robinson. The midfielder showed excellent technique, settling a long cross with his chest and then calmly lofting the ball over the Colorado goalkeeper with the outside of his right boot.
Colorado leveled in the 29th minute on a gorgeous goal from distance by midfielder Oliver Larraz. The center midfielder drifted wide near the right touchline and, seeing the ‘keeper off his line, drove a high ball from 25 yards out toward the net. The ball sailed over the leaping Toronto goalkeeper and just under the bar to tie the score at one apiece. Toronto reclaimed the lead in the 37th minute when midfielder Theo Corbeanu scored from a tight angle on the right side of the Colorado penalty area.
Colorado pulled even once again in the 52nd minute after forward Logan Dorsey ended a scramble in the box by smashing the ball into the net. The goal started from a free kick 30 yards out on the left side, and the first ball fell in the box and started a scrum, which ended in Dorsey’s goal. Both teams traded dangerous chances throughout the second half, before eventually settling for the draw.
U-17: FC Dallas 2-0 Chicago Fire
FC Dallas started strong Saturday night against the Chicago Fire, and the first 17 minutes were enough to come away with a 2-0 victory in the second match of the weekend for both squads.
Dallas forward Johan Gomez opened the scoring in the seventh minute when he finished off a nice combination play to complete a quintessential team goal. The play started with midfielder Thomas Roberts outside the penalty area, who played wide to Julian Hinojosa, and the left back quickly squared the ball in to Gomez in front of the net.
Ten minutes later, Gomez bagged a brace when he scored again, this time with his head, to finish another combination play. Dallas midfielder Tanner Tessman switched the field from right to left, finding forward Bryan Reynolds, who headed the ball back across the goal where Gomez nodded it in. Chicago gained momentum late in the half and created a pair of scoring chances, but saw one shot saved and another deflected wide of goal to deny them an opener.
The second half saw Dallas continue to apply pressure, but they were unable to find the net again. Much like the first half, Chicago pressed hard late in the match, looking to draw within a goal, but the Dallas back line repelled wave after wave of Fire attacks to preserve the clean sheet.
Central Region (U-17s)
|Team||Pts||W||L||D (PK Wins)||GF||GA||GD|
|Toronto FC||14||4||0||1 (1)||10||4||+6|
|Chicago Fire||6||1||1||2 (1)||4||4||+0|
|Colorado Rapids||6||1||2||2 (1)||6||8||-2|
|Columbus Crew SC||3||1||4||1||7||12||-5|
|Houston Dynamo||3||0||3||2 (1)||2||9||-7|
Monday, February 19
|Time||Home Team||Away Team||Age|
|9:00 a.m.||Toronto FC||Dynamo Youth||U-15|
|9:00 a.m.||Columbus Crew SC||Toronto FC||U-17|
|11:00 a.m.||Columbus Crew SC||Colorado Rapids||U-15|
|11:00 a.m.||FC Dallas||Colorado Rapids||U-17|
|1:00 p.m.||Houston Dynamo||Chicago Fire||U-15|
|1:00 p.m.||Houston Dynamo||Chicago Fire||U-17|