The Sounders FC U18 and U16 Academy teams got out to a phenomenal start to the USSDA Winter Showcase in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday. The U18 team topped South Carolina United 3-0 and the U16 team followed it up with a 2-0 win over South Carolina United.
Troy Peterson scored twice and Yordan Rivera added another while Ryan Herman logged the shutout for the U18s while Ike Crook scored once and drew a penalty in the U16 victory.
Herman set the tone in the ninth minute with a great save to keep South Carolina from taking an early lead.
Travis Strawn then found Peterson with a cross and Peterson scored on a header for the 1-0 lead in the 30th minute.
To start the second half, Strawn was taken down in the box to earn a penalty and Peterson converted the kick for a 2-0 lead in the 46th minute.
Rivera added an insurance goal in the 80th minute by beating a player and cutting inside from the left flank, then curling a shot into the top right corner for the goal.
Making the win even more impressive was that the U18 team played without starters Nick Palodichuk, Jamael Cox, Sean Okoli and DeAndre Yedlin, who were selected to the Academy Select Game. The all-star game is made up of the best academy players across the league. Those four players from the Sounders were rewarded for their efforts that propelled Seattle to the top of the USSDA standings with an unbeaten record.
The U16s scored twice in the first 17 minutes, then held on the rest of the way to earn the victory.
Crook took a great ball from Jesse Klug in the 10th minute and put it away for the early 1-0 lead, then was taken down in the box in the 17th minute to set up Seattle’s other goal. Jordan Schweitzer knocked in the ensuing penalty kick and Seattle finished with the 2-0 win.
The games have been heavily attended by college coaches and other academy groups, while the Academy Select Game had national team coaches in attendance. The Sounders FC Academy has tomorrow off from games and will participate in SPARQ testing before resuming on Monday with games. SPARQ (Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness) testing is a system set up to measure overall athleticism.