Academy Returns Strong Image

Academy Returns Strong

After three months away for the high school soccer season, the Sounders FC U18 and U16 teams went 3-1-0 over the weekend to maintain a hold atop the Northwest Division.

The Sounders FC returned to their dominance of the U18 and U16 Academy circuits over the weekend after taking three months off for the high school soccer season.

The U18s went 2-0-0 against the Santa Cruz Breakers and DeAnza Force, outscoring the California teams 11-1 in the process.  The U16s, meanwhile, split at 1-1-0 with a win on Saturday against Santa Cruz before falling to DeAnza Force on Sunday.

On the U18 side, Darwin Jones cored four goals while Jamael Cox and Sean Okoli each scored three goals in their two routes.

The weekend started against the Santa Cruz Breakers and the U18s set the tone with five first-half goals to coast to a 5-0 win, getting two goals and two assists from Okoli and two goals from Jones.

In the sixth minute, Okoli scored off an assist from Aaron Kovar for the early 1-0 lead.  In the 11th minute, Okoli set up Cox and later added an assist on a Darwin Jones goal in the 22nd minute before scoring unassisted in the 29th minute.  Jones also scored an unassisted goal in the 15th minute.

They picked up where they left off on Sunday against DeAnza Force.

Jones scored twice in the first 24 minutes to take a 2-0 lead, getting assists from Chase Hanson in the fourth minute and Cox in the 24th minute.  Ryan Herman also came up with a huge save in the 21st minute to keep the Force off the board.

Then, Cox stole the show with two stunning free kicks that found the back of the net.

First he bent a free kick around the wall and into the top corner of the net in the 32nd minute for a 3-0 lead.  Then, after Okoli scored on a pass from Troy Peterson in the 35th minute, Cox did it again in the 41st minute, driving a thundering shot inside the left post for a 5-0 lead.

In the 62nd minute DeAnza pulled one back, but then second-half substitute Andrew Gleaser made strong saves in the 85th and 86th minutes to keep them from getting another tally.  Glenn Paden added one last goal in the 89th minute, with another assist from Peterson, for the final 6-1 score.

The U18s improve to 14-4-4 overall (7-1-1 in the Northwest Division) and maintain a stronghold on the top spot in the division.

The U16s started off the weekend strong against the Breakers, but ran out of gas against DeAnza to split on the weekend.  Ike Crook scored three of Seattle’s five goals on the weekend as the younger side returned to action.

Crook opened scoring in the 21st minute against Santa Cruz, getting an assist from Jesse Klug as that forward tandem renewed acquaintances.  Crook then scored again in the 33rd minute off of a long throw from Jacob Beck and the Sounders held a 2-0 lead.

They wouldn’t settle for that going into halftime though, and Jordan Schweitzer made it 3-0 when he scored off of an Austin Sweeney corner kick in the 42nd minute.

Santa Cruz pulled one back in the 50th minute, but the Sounders would not be so easily broken and Odason Pelogi made a great individual effort to pick the goalkeeper, then scored to seal the win in the 75th minute.

On Sunday, DeAnza held off the Sounders through the first half-hour, then capitalized with two quick goals in the 33rd and 39th minutes, scoring from the penalty spot for their second goal to make it 2-0.

Crook made it a game before halftime though, taking a nice pass from Isidro Huerto-Prada and masterfully finding the net for his third goal of the weekend to make it 2-1.

However, that’s as close as it would get as a defensive miscue led to a DeAnza goal in the 50th minute and then the visitors capitalized on a Sounders team that had committed everyone forward late in the game to add another in the 80th minute for the final 4-1 score.

The loss pulls the Sounders FC U16s even with DeAnza with 17 points in the Northwest Division standings, though Seattle has two games in hand.  They are now 5-2-2 in the division and 15-3-4 overall.

The Sounders FC Academy will take to the road for two matches in the Bay Area next weekend, facing Cal Odyssey on Saturday and the San Jose Earthquakes Academy on Sunday.  Their final USSDA match of the season will be at Starfire on June 18 against the California Development Academy as both teams strive to hold the top spot in their divisions.