Saturday proved to be an excellent day for Sporting Kansas City and its Academy.
Hours before the senior team defeated Minnesota United FC 3-0 to move into first place in the Western Conference, the Sporting Kansas City U-18s and U-16s cruised to three-goal victories of their own to close out the 2016-17 U.S. Soccer Development Academy regular season at Swope Soccer Village.
The U-18s hammered Real Colorado 5-2 before the U-16s defeated the same club by a 4-1 scoreline, offering the perfect end to a regular season campaign that saw Sporting Kansas City finish in second place in the Frontier Division at both the U-18 and U-16 levels.
The Sporting KC U-18s and U-16s now await Wednesday’s playoff draw for the 2017 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs, which will take place from June 22-26 in Westfield, Indiana. The draw will divide 32 academy clubs from across the country into eight groups of four in both age groups.
Each team will play three group stage matches between June 22-26 before quarterfinal matchups take place from July 5-7 at the site of the higher seed. The Development Academy Championships will then take place July 14 at 16, with the semifinals, third-place game and championship unfolding in Carson, California. Follow @SKCAcademy on Twitter for live updates of all playoff matches involving Sporting KC.
Sporting KC U-18s 5, Real Colorado U-18s 2
Led by head coach Jon Parry, the U-18s (15-8-3, 48 points) jumped from third to second in the Frontier Division table thanks to a commanding, wire-to-wire performance. Gianluca Busio, who celebrated his 15th birthday last Sunday, assisted the opening goal as Sebastian Cruz fired Sporting KC ahead in the eighth minute with his second goal in as many games. Cruz was involved in the next scoring play in the 38th minute, combining with Cameron Duke before Mason Visconti found the bottom corner to double the lead.
Busio bagged an impressive third in the 44th minute, beating multiple defenders before rifling into the net. Real Colorado added intrigue to the contest with goals immediately on either side of halftime, but Sporting KC’s supremacy resurfaced in the late stages as substitute Leroy Enzugusi struck in the 82nd and 84th minutes to finish the regular season with a team-best 14 goals.
Sporting KC U-16s 4, Real Colorado U-16s 1
The U-16s (17-6-3, 54 points) ousted fourth-place Real Colorado in the second match of Saturday’s doubleheader at Swope Soccer Village to solidify second place in the Frontier Division. Abdu Kikhia sent Sporting KC into an early lead with his team-leading 10th goal of the regular season campaign before assisting the second goal to Jahon Rad in the 56th minute.
Real Colorado pulled one back on the hour-mark, but Kikhia restored the two-goal cushion in the 70th minute following an excellent buildup involving Dontell Gilyard and Kaveh Rad. The same duo would help set up the final goal with seven minutes left, allowing Jonathan Munoz to hammer home off the crossbar for his sixth regular season goal.