The 2015 U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs have been nothing short of being electrifyingly entertaining as group play concluded and quarterfinals kicked off.
The Houston Dynamo U-17/18 Academy faced off against the Chicago Fire U-17/18 Academy in the first match of the single-game knockout round at Houston Sports Park on July 7, 2015.
Fans gathered at the park and sat on lawn chairs and on the grass on the sunny and breezy evening to watch their Dynamo Academy team play in the quarterfinal match.
Casual soccer fans weren’t the only ones in attendance to watch the teenagers play the game they love, but players and coaching staff from the first team were also in attendance, including Ricardo Clark, Alec Cochran and Houston Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle.
The Dynamo and Fire each finished atop their respected groups, with the Dynamo being the only team to sweep through the tournament by winning all three of their matches.
The Dynamo were led by the team’s leader in goals Juan Flores, 28 goals in 30 games, while the Fire were led by Peter Schropp, 29 goals in 29 games.
Both teams did not disappoint as the match turned out to be a grueling physical battle from the start to the final whistle. Both teams played with 10 men in the second half as Josue Palomino of the Houston Dynamo received a red card in the game, while Oscar Gonzalez of the Fire also received a red card.
The Fire got off to a quick 2-0 start scoring their first two goals in the 17′ and 39′, both by Ryan Sierakowski.
The Dynamo weren’t going to back down trailing by a deficit of two goals as Christian Lucatero brought his team to within one in the 51′ with a goal coming off a penalty kick. The Fire and Dynamo then exchanged goals by Andrew Gutman and Juan Flores in the 66′ and 69′ leaving the Dynamo trailing 3-2 in the 69′. The Dynamo rested their fate of the season in the hands of Christian Lucatero as he scored in the 75′ tying the game up 3-3.
Even though the Dynamo rallied all the way back to tie the game after trailing 3-1, it just wasn’t enough as Ryan Sierakowski put the dagger in the Dynamo’s hearts by scoring the game winning goal in the 94′ and completing the hat trick which lead the Fire to defeat the Dynamo 4-3 and move on to the semifinal round.
With the loss occurring in heartbreaking fashion, the Dynamo Academy showed incredible heart and character after the game.
With the win, the Chicago Fire U-17/18 Academy will move on to the semifinals vs the Montreal Impact U-17-18 Academy, which will take place on July 16 in Carson, California at the StubHub Center.