It’s been a big 24 hours for the Sounders FC Academy in Frisco, Texas. On Wednesday evening, the U-16s blasted Orlando City 7-1 in their second match in the Group Stage of the USSDA playoffs, then on Thursday morning the U-18s staged a breathless comeback in a 3-2 victory over IMG Academy to advance to the tournament finals next month in Houston.
After starting off the tournament at 1-0-1, the U-18s would be assured of a spot in the finals with a victory over the Florida-based IMG. Seattle jumped on IMG early with a goal by David Olson in the 17th minute, but IMG responded with two goals before half. However, the Sounders FC U-18s were not to be denied. On the opening kick of the second half, they strung together three passes that finished with a Jordan Morris goal – his second in three games in the playoffs – to equalize at 2-2. They looked to earn a lead when they were awarded a penalty just 12 minutes later, but were denied that lead by the IMG goalkeeper, who made the diving stop on the PK. Another great passing sequence by Sounders FC ended with a Henry Wingo goal, giving them a 3-2 lead in the 71st minute. They held on for the victory, advancing to the finals in Houston July 13-20.
The U-16s still have one more match to play, but after a 7-1 victory over Orlando City, they are brimming with confidence heading into their final match of the Group Stage on Friday. Wednesday night’s match started slow for both sides, as Seattle held a 1-0 halftime lead on a penalty kick scored by Matt Reinikka. Elliott Havens added two quick-strike goals to start the second half, then Orlando scored to make it 3-1 on a penalty in the 53rd minute. From that point, Vic Mansaray took over, scoring four unanswered goals in just 14 minutes to give Seattle the commanding victory. They will meet the Crew Soccer Academy Wolves on Friday morning at 7 am PT in the last match of the Group Stage. A win in that match would ensure advancement into the final.