MLS Cup champion and two-time MLS All-Star Alecko Eskandarian joined the Union as Youth Technical Director on June 15. Currently in Frisco, Texas with the Union U-17 academy team for the Generation adidas Cup, Eskandarian checks in after the first day of competition.
Good morning from Dallas!
Our Philadelphia Union U-17 Academy team is excited to be a part of this year's MLS Generation adidas Cup. It's always a great opportunity to compete against all the other MLS academies to see how we measure up.
Our players have been training very hard for the last three weeks in preparation for this tournament, and we also had the privilege of playing against Everton's U-18 team last week as a tune up game for this event. Although the result did not go our way, our players took a lot of positives and some valuable lessons from that match. The idea we are trying to instill in our players is to always progress forward and get better by learning from our mistakes.
Last night we played our first game of the GA Cup vs. the Seattle Sounders, and it was great to see our players already incorporate some of what they learned in the Everton match into this game. We won 1-0 on a brilliant first half goal by Darius Madison, and were a bit unlucky not to add to our lead. Defensively, we did a great job as a team in helping our goalkeeper Zack Steffen and the back line keep the clean sheet.
Overall, our coaches were very pleased with our performance against a very tough Seattle Sounders team that played us hard until the very end. Each of our players gave us an honest effort and positively contributed to the win and shutout. I also give a lot of credit to Zach Pfeffer, who has joined us for this tournament and has been our captain for this event. He has been a true leader for us both on and off the field thus far, and we are extremely pleased to have him be with our Academy team on this trip.
Although it was great to get our first win, we must quickly refocus and turn our attention to our next opponent, FC Dallas. They are definitely in the discussion of being the top team in this tournament and will pose a tough test for us. Aside from having a home-field advantage, they are an extremely talented team that plays an attractive, attacking brand of soccer. They are coming off an impressive victory in their first match as well and I am excited about the opportunity for our players to test themselves against top competition.
Our staff (head coach Jim Curtin, equipment manager Dan Nolan, and trainer Kevin Murphy) has worked extremely hard to make sure our players are recovered and prepared for the match. We have placed an emphasis on treating our players like young professionals, and I am proud of the way our players have responded.
We all take pride in representing the Union as best as we can throughout the week here in Dallas. We'll look to build off of our positive start tonight vs. FC Dallas.
UNION U-17'S TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE
July 25 - Union 1, Sounders 0
July 26 - Union vs. FC Dallas - 8:15 p.m.
July 28 - Union vs. Sporting KC - 8:15 p.m.
July 29 - Playoffs
July 31 - Playoffs continued and championship
CLICK HERE for full tournament schedule.
ABOUT THE GENERATION ADIDAS CUP
Formerly known as the SUM Cup, the Generation adidas Cup is the premier youth tournament in the country. Bringing together U-17 squads from 16 MLS Development Academies to compete, the tournament allows each team to see how they stack up against other player development systems from around the league.
The 2011 edition, hosted at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas, will see each team advance to the semifinal and final round to ultimately be ranked 1-16. Since there is no elimination, each team will play a total of five games.