Despite playing their first matches in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy since early December, the Sporting Kansas City Academy U-15s, U-17s and U-19s showed no signs of rust on Saturday.
All three teams cruised to comprehensive shutout victories in a rain-soaked tripleheader at Swope Soccer Village, making an emphatic return to league play after inclement weather had postponed a trio of matches against FC Dallas two weeks earlier.
Sporting KC’s successful return home came at the expense of Colorado Rush, with the hosts combining to score 15 unanswered goals over the course of three games. The U-15s bagged four, the U-17s struck five and the U-19s did one better behind a 6-0 triumph to round out a comfortable day for the Academy.
Midfielder Stefan Bilinac queued the start of Saturday’s goal flurry in the 19th minute, cleaning up a rebound after Gage Akalu had been denied from close range. The U-15s (2-7-0, 6 points) surged in the second half, scoring three goals in the space of 10 minutes as Mitchell Ferguson, Dylan Hooper and Zion Long each found the back of the net, while goalkeeper Landon Turner registered a clean sheet between the posts.
Less than a week after the U-17s punched their ticket to the Championship Division of the 2017-18 Generation adidas Cup in April, head coach Rumbani Munthali’s men (6-5-1, 19 points) carried their excellent form into Saturday’s league fixture. Danny Goddard pushed the U-17s ahead after just five minutes, nodding home off a Ryan Fessler free kick, before another Fessler delivery was steered into the net by U.S. youth international Mitch Eise on the stroke of halftime.
Fessler turned goal scorer in the second period, striking twice in quick succession with assists from Eise and fellow youth international Cameron Duke, who had represented the United States U-18s in a training camp at the start of February. Jacob Davis then capped the win with Sporting KC’s fifth goal of the afternoon in the 66th minute, while goalkeepers Grant Calvert and Ei Crow combined for the shutout.
Led by head coach Jon Parry, the U-19s (8-3-1, 25 points) moved within three points of first place in the Frontier Division with a resounding victory that saw six players get on the scoresheet. The breakthrough came in the 19th minute when Mason Visconti’s deflected effort was prodded past the Colorado keeper Mario Magana, and the lead would remain 1-0 through halftime.
The floodgates opened after the restart as Visconti, Karson Kendall and Sebastian Cruz tallied goals during a rampant five-minute span. Collin Innes made it 5-0 in the 69th minute before goalkeeper Harrison Bouma — who had replaced Alex Brown at the break — produced an excellent penalty kick save to preserve the clean sheet. Roman Knox added icing to the cake with a successful penalty of his own in the dying embers of the match.
Next Up: Back-to-back games in Texas
The U-15s, U-17s and U-19s continue their Development Academy campaigns next weekend with a pair of doubleheaders in the state of Texas. Sporting KC will meet Lonestar SC at Round Rock Multipurpose Complex on Saturday before facing the Houston Dynamo at Houston Sports Park on Sunday. Follow the Sporting KC Academy on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat (skcacademy) for all the latest updates on the club's five youth development teams.