Sporting KC U-18s - May 28, 2017

The Sporting Kansas City Academy U-18s and U-16s learned their group stage opponents on Wednesday for the 2017 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs, which will take place June 22, 24 and 26 at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana.


The tournament’s official draw split 32 academy clubs at each age level into eight groups of four. The group stage will send every first-place finisher to the Development Academy quarterfinals, with four single-elimination matches to be played between July 5-7. The final four teams at the U-18 and U-16 levels will then advance to the Development Academy Championships on July 14 and 16 at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, California.


For the second straight year, the Sporting Kansas City U-18s and U-16s have qualified for the Development Academy Playoffs in the same season.


The Sporting KC U-18s will look to go a step further than they did in 2016, when they won their group in miraculous fashion before suffering an extra-time defeat to eventual national champion FC Dallas in the quarterfinals. The team qualified for the postseason thanks to a second-place finish in the Frontier Division, just six points behind FC Dallas. Forward Leroy Enzugusi led the side with 14 goals, while midfield talisman and Swope Park Rangers signing Felipe Hernandez added nine goals of his own.


The U-18s join a daunting Group B that includes No. 1 overall seed Atlanta United FC as well as fellow MLS academy LA Galaxy and FC Boston Bolts.


2017 Development Academy Playoffs: U-17/18 Group B

<strong>Team</strong>
<strong>League<br> Record</strong>
<strong>League<br> PPG</strong>
<strong>GF</strong>
<strong>GA</strong>
Atlanta United FC
23-2-5
2.47
92
28
Sporting Kansas City
15-8-3
1.85
60
46
FC Boston Bolts
12-6-6
1.75
40
25
LA Galaxy
17-11-8
1.64
81
46

The Sporting KC U-16s booked their playoff berth in similar manner, finishing second in the Frontier Division behind FC Dallas. The division's top-scoring team bagged 73 goals over 26 matches, propelled by a balanced scoring attack that often involved Abdu Kikhia (10 goals), Sean Karani (eight goals), Collin Innes (seven goals) and Gianluca Busio (six goals), a 15-year-old playmaker who spent the final stretch of the season with the U-18s.


The U-16s were drawn into Group E alongside Weston FC of Florida, Pateadores of Southern California and New York outfit Everton FC Westchester. Group stage schedules and kickoff times for the U-18 and U-16 divisions will be announced in the coming days.


2017 Development Academy Playoffs: U-15/16 Group E

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<strong>Team</strong>
<strong>League&nbsp;<br> Record</strong>
<strong>League<br> PPG</strong>
<strong>GF</strong>
<strong>GA</strong>
Sporting Kansas City
17-6-3 (54 pts)
2.08
73
37
Weston FC (Fla.)
17-6-7 (58 pts)
1.93
48
32
Pateadores (Calif.)
20-10-6 (66 pts)
1.83
62
35
Everton FC Westchester (N.Y.)
14-10-2 (44 pts)
1.69
47
33

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