LA Galaxy Academy U-16 team to play for National Championship on Saturday
CARSON, Calif. (Friday, July 15, 2011) – For the first time in club history, the LA Galaxy Academy U-16 team will play for a National Championship when they face the PA Classics in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-16 Final on Saturday. The game, which kicks off at 6 p.m. (PT), will be played at Valley Fields on the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.
The Galaxy, who are in competing in Finals Week for the first time in the program’s history, qualified for the championship game of the U-16’s by winning their group with a 2-0-1 record for seven points. The Galaxy, who are coached by Kenny Arena, finished the regular season with a 20-5-3 record, which was good for first place in the West Conference’s SoCal Division and earned them a spot at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Playoffs in Frisco, Texas. There, the Galaxy were placed into Group 3, which they won thanks to a perfect 3-0-0 record behind wins over Sporting Kansas City, the IMG Academy and the Houston Dynamo. By winning their group in Texas, the Galaxy advanced to Finals Week for the first time in club history.
On Tuesday, the Galaxy began their run to the national championship with a 1-1 draw with Real So Cal. Two days later, the Galaxy got their first win of Finals Week, knocking off the Dallas Texans 4-0 to move into first place in their group. Needing just a draw to win their group and advance to the championship game, the Galaxy defeated Seattle Sounders FC 3-0 on Thursday behind goals from Sebastian Velasquez, Justin Dhillon, who has a team-best 21 goals on the year, and Jack McBean.
WATCH: Development Academy U-16 Highlights
Dhillon, who was named to the U-16 Development Academy West Conference Starting XI earlier this month, his brother Sean Dhillon and Jack McBean, who signed a professional contract with the Galaxy in January, have each scored twice so far for the Galaxy at Finals Week while Ludwing Vargas and Sebastian Velasquez have each added a goal. At the other end of the field, Josh McNeely kept two clean sheets in goal for the Galaxy and has conceded just one goal in 270 minutes of action, with that goal coming off a deflected shot in the 1-1 draw with Real So Cal in their first game of Finals Week on Tuesday. The Galaxy lead Finals Week with eight goals scored while their one goal allowed is the fewest of any of the eight teams that competed in Milwaukee.
The Galaxy, who entered the Development Academy Playoffs as the No. 4 seed, will now face PA Classics, the No. 11 seed, in the championship game on Saturday. The Pennsylvania-based club qualified for the championship game by winning Group 2 at Finals Week thanks to a 2-0-1 record for seven points. They beats CASL Chelsea FC 1-0 in their opener before playing to a 2-2 draw with Real Salt Lake AZ and then beating North Carolina Fusion 3-0 yesterday to advance to the championship. They finished the regular season with a 17-7-3 record to finish second in the East Conference’s Mid-Atlantic Division and qualify for the Playoffs, where they won Group 7 with a 2-0-1 record, earning them a spot in Finals Week.