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Sporting KC Academy enjoys winning weekend in Houston

By Sam Kovzan,, 05/13/18, 1:45PM CDT


The Sporting KC U-15s, U-17 and U-19s combined for a clean sweep of Texans SC Houston on Saturday before the U-17s and U-19s strengthened their respective playoff hopes with positive results against Houston Dynamo Youth on Sunday.

The Sporting Kansas City Academy enjoyed a successful trip to Houston this weekend as the 2017-18 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season rolled onward.

The Sporting KC U-15s, U-17 and U-19s combined for a clean sweep of Texans SC Houston on Saturday before the U-17s and U-19s strengthened their respective playoff hopes with positive results against Houston Dynamo Youth on Sunday.

The Sporting KC U-19s (13-6-3, 42 points) cruised to a pair of comprehensive victories to keep hold of third place in the Central Conference’s Frontier Division. The U-17s (12-6-4, 40 points), who earned a win and a draw, also occupy third place in the Frontier Division table with both teams set to play four more matches between now and the end of the regular season on June 2. The top three finishers in each division will qualify automatically for the Development Academy Playoffs in June, with the remaining postseason spots determined through a nationwide wildcard pool.

Saturday, May 12 vs. Texans SC Houston

U-15s win 4-1

Sporting KC opened the scoring in the 13th minute behind 12-year-old Gage Akalu’s close-range strike. U.S. youth international Osvaldo Cisneros set up the second goal on the half-hour mark, slipping Francisco Lopez into the box for a routine finish past the goalkeeper. Lopez was just getting started, as the striker embarked on an excellent solo run through the Texans defense before bagging his second of the game. Fellow forward Zion Long sealed the win in the 76th minute, picking out the bottom left corner to give his team a 4-0 lead, minutes before the hosts salvaged a last-gasp consolation goal.

U-17s win 3-1

Sporting KC fell behind early but wasted no time drawing level through Gabe Findley. The forward combined wonderfully with Jonathan Munoz before finding the top right corner from the top of the penalty area for his eighth league goal of the campaign. Munoz recorded his second assist shortly before the break, teeing up U.S. youth international Tyler Freeman for the go-ahead strike.

Freeman played an integral role in Sporting KC’s third goal, settling a corner kick from Ryan Fessler, weaving through the Texans defense and laying the ball off for Brandt Betts to tap home on the doorstep.

U-19s win 2-0

Sporting KC controlled tempo early and landed their first punch in the 35th minute. Jahon Rad’s well delivered free kick found the foot of Sebastian Cruz, and although the Texans keeper made the initial save, Mason Visconti was on hand to smash the rebound into the gaping net. The victory was effectively sealed in the 77th minute on an incisive attack ignited by Camilo Benitez, who played centrally to Cruz. The midfielder drove toward goal with pace before feeding Cameron Duke, whose calm and composed finish doubled the advantage.

Sunday, May 13 vs. Houston Dynamo Youth

U-17s tie 2-2

Sunday’s tripleheader began with a 2-2 thriller involving the U-17s, who came from behind for the second time in as many days. Dynamo Youth jumped ahead after seven minutes, but parity was restored in the 37th minute when Munoz tallied another assist, this time to Fessler near the penalty spot. Sporting KC took their first lead in the 84th minute as Kaveh Rad headed home off a Fessler free kick, but Dynamo Youth produced an instant equalizer to tie the score at 2-2. The hosts had an opportunity with the final kick of the game to secure a dramatic victory when the referee awarded a penalty kick, but goalkeeper Max Trejo proved heroic. Trejo dove at full extension to make the save and help Sporting KC preserve a precious point in their bid for a playoff berth.

U-19s win 5-1

Sporting KC took the lead in glorious fashion when Duke squared the ball to Jahon Rad, who curled a brilliant one-time strike into the top corner from the top of the box in the 17th minute. Visconti created the club’s second goal 15 minutes later, driving to the endline and cutting the ball back to Benitez for a clever finish in the penalty area. Cruz was on the scoresheet just before halftime, picking out the side netting after collecting the rebound off Benitez’s blocked shot.

Dynamo Youth pulled a goal back eight minutes after the restart, but Mason Leeth restored the three-goal cushion with a fine solo effort in the 70th minute. Cruz rounded out the scoring with his second of the afternoon on 84 minutes, slotting home off a feed from Alexander Glynn.

Up Next: Tulsa tripleheader vs. Dallas Texans

All three Academy teams return to action Saturday in a tripleheader against the Dallas Texans, to be played on the campus of the University of Tulsa. The U-15s will kick off at noon CT, followed by the U-17s at 2:30 p.m. and the U-15s at 5 p.m. Follow the Sporting KC Academy on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Snapchat (skcacademy) for updates next weekend and throughout the year.