On this sweltering Saturday afternoon in Dallas, the FC Dallas U18 Academy took on Andromeda in the last game of the regular season. Having stumbled to a 0-0 draw against Andromeda on Wednesday, Dallas would need a win to clinch the hotly contested U18 Texas Division. They got just that as first half goals from Daniel Garcia and Flavio Guzman with a late goal from Homegrown signing Jonathan Top secured a 3-0 Dallas win and a second straight U18 Texas Division championship.
With temperatures pushing 100 degrees, FC Dallas and Andromeda met at University of Texas-Dallas and it was Dallas playing a lineup missing many of their big names. Perhaps in response to the poor performance on Wednesady, Moises Hernandez, Michael Ambrose, and Boyd Okuwono sat on the bench as the game began, but Dallas never missed a beat.
FCD dominated possession early and it paid off in the 13th minute. A beautiful through ball from Daniel Garcia freed Top down the right side in acres of space. Top had time to look up and return a pinpoint ball as Garcia, the smallest player on the field, would head home easily to give Dallas the lead.
Flavio Guzman then produced the moment of the match with just minutes to go in the first half. Guzman, dispossessed an Andromeda player took two steps and blasted a shot from 25 yards out that fizzed past the keeper and doubled the Dallas lead.
From there, the heat took it's toll in a slower-paced second half. Oscar Pareja brought on Ambrose, Hernandez, and Okwuono in the second half to secure the lead while Dallas held most of the possession. Okwuono would play a fantastic low cross in to Top that he would tap in right before the final whistle to give Dallas the 3-0 final scoreline.
With the win, Dallas secures the U18 Texas Division championship, their second straight championship in just their third season of Development Academy play.
Jack Coleman The kid from Norman, OK was fantastic in central defense today and my man of the match. Andromeda hardly had a sniff due to Coleman's fantastic defensive play. Headed to Indiana University in the fall, Coleman is a guy that has a definite future in the FC Dallas system and he really reminds me of Drew Moor out there. He needs to hit the weight room and bulk up a bit, but Coleman's positioning is fantastic, he's calm on the ball and has a great soccer IQ. Interestingly, Coleman was the captain today, something that has usually been Victor Ulloa's in the past.
Depth The defensive depth of the team is amazing and a real testament to what Pareja and Co. have built. I texted a friend to see who the left back was, Kevin Pineda, because he impressed me out there and I hadn't seen him before. Turns out Pineda was starting just his 6th game of the season and is a 1992 player meaning this is his last season with FC Dallas. Pineda is probably the 3rd string left back and would likely start for every other team in the league.
Champions I know that results are not necessarily the most important thing in youth development, but to win two straight Texas championships in just the third season in existence is extremely impressive. All the credit in the world goes to Pareja, Francisco Molina, Scott Dymond, Chris Hayden and co for what they've built in a short time.