Sporting KC Academy U-18s cruise to a pair of wins on USSDA's opening weekend

Sporting KC U-18s vs. Texans SC Houston - Sept. 12, 2016

The Sporting Kansas City Academy U-18s earned two emphatic victories on the opening weekend of the 2016-17 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season, while the U-16s took four points themselves during a successful road trip to Texas.

The U-18s fired four first-half goals past Texans SC Houston en route to a 4-1 win on Saturday at Veterans Memorial Park in College Station. Jon Parry's side carried its momentum into Sunday, hammering the Texas Rush 6-2 at Bear Branch Soccer Complex in The Woodlands.

The U-16s, coached by former Sporting KC midfielder Josh Gardner, also went unbeaten after drawing Texans SC Houston 1-1 on Saturday before blanking the Texas Rush 2-0 on Sunday.

The weekend action concluded Sunday when the Sporting KC U-14s opened their 2016-17 campaign with a 4-2 loss to the Texas Rush.

Saturday: Sporting KC U-18s 4, Texans SC Houston 1
Swope Park Rangers midfielder Will Little gave the U-18s a dream start after just five minutes, finishing off a cross from forward Leroy Enzugusi. Following a 26th-minute equalizer from the hosts, Sporting KC retook the lead on a Johnny Hansen header off Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal’s corner kick.

Two goals in the final two minutes of the first half sealed the result, with Enzugusi slotting low after racing onto Joe Corner’s long ball and Wan Kamal burying an impressive strike from distance on the stroke of halftime.

Saturday: Sporting KC U-16s 1, Texans SC Houston 1
The second game of Saturday’s doubleheader was more delicately poised, as Sporting KC and Texans SC Houston both created multiple scoring opportunities. Forward Abdu Kikhia nearly opened the scoring twice within the first 10 minutes before goalkeeper Alex Brown made a solid save on 16 minutes. Texans SC would draw first blood in the 34th minute of a physical first half.

Sporting KC outplayed their opponents in the second period and were rewarded when midfielder Jonathan Munoz did well to pick out Max Rugova, who drew a foul in the penalty box. Rugova would bury the ensuing spot kick to rescue a point on opening day.

Sunday: Sporting KC U-18s 6, Texas Rush 2
Parry’s men delivered another rampant performance on Sunday, taking six minutes to find the breakthrough — an own goal from a Rush defender after Little had swung a teasing cross into the six-yard box. Wan Kamal set up Enzugusi to make it 2-0 in the 12th minute, then Grayson Barber netted the game-winner two minutes from halftime. The rout continued into the second half when Ezugusi secured his brace on 53 minutes and Little added a fifth one minute later. Corner hammered home No. 6 with 20 minutes to go before the Rush tallied two late consolation goals.

Sunday: Sporting KC U-16s 2, Texas Rush 0
The U-16s claimed their first victory of the season in shutout fashion. Sean Karani assisted Mason Visconti’s game-winner in the 35th minute, while Brown was steady between the posts in route to his first clean sheet. Collin Innes ensured all three points in the late stages, burying the rebound after his penalty kick was saved.

Sunday: Sporting KC U-14s 2, Texas Rush 4
The Sporting KC Academy fell short of an unbeaten weekend when the U-14s suffered a 4-2 loss to the Texas Rush. The U-14s would start brightly, taking the lead through Ethan Armbruster’s strike in the 11th minute. Following a 28th-minute equalizer from the hosts, Tyler Freeman restored Sporting KC’s advantage before the interval. However, the Rush would take the win with three unanswered goals in the second half.

Next up: Colorado Rapids
The Sporting KC U-18s and U-16s continue their respective seasons next weekend with a pair of doubleheaders against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (Field 22) in Commerce City, Colorado. The U-18s will kick off at 11 a.m. CT before the U-16s take the field at 1:30 p.m. CT on both Saturday and Sunday. Follow @SKCAcademy on Twitter for live updates.