USSDA Playoffs Quick Hits: U18s prepare for tough group

The Philadelphia Union Academy’s Under-18 team wrapped up their 2014-15 regular season by finishing fourth in the Atlantic Division with a record of 12-8-6. They made the U.S. Soccer Development playoffs as the eighth-seeded wildcard.

Season Recap

The U18’s has a good start to their season, going 3-1-1 in the month of September with an impressive win over their fellow MLS academy team, the New England Revolution U18’s.

The team’s solid start was due to their ability to score goals with multiple players, something that defined their season. No player on the team has more than seven goals, though nine players have three or more.

Their form continued to shine halfway through November, most notably earning a 0-0 draw with the New York Red Bulls U18 team. They then dropped their next two games against Seattle Sounders and Real Salt Lake, both of whom made the playoffs as Top 10 seeded teams.

No games took place between the middle of December and the middle of March due to winter on the East Coast but after their losses to round out the month of November, they proceeded to go on and post a 4-1-3 record from December through April.

May saw the team play some of the top teams at the U18 level, including the No. 1 overall seeded team in the playoffs, Montreal Impact. The Union team lost three out of it’s last five to finish the season, facing three MLS academy teams and four teams that made the playoffs, including all three from within their own division.

The team then returned to training, facing off in a final scrimmage on Wednesday June 17 against Reading United A.C., a game that saw them lose 2-1. You can read the gam recap here.

Notable Players

Derrick Jones: Jones is a massively athletic individual, standing at 6-feet-3 yet displaying a good touch on the ball. He was the team’s leading scorer for the season, scoring seven goals and playing in 23 games playing as a attacking midfielder or deep-sitting forward.

Yosef Samuel: Samuel is probably the player on the U18 team with the most potential. He is just over 6-feet tall and has amazing feet. He can dribble, pass and shoot without difficulty. Using playing on the wing or as a center forward, Samuel tallied three goals this season.

Sebastian Elney (University of Maryland): Elney is a top-15 recruit in the nation and a top-five prospect at forward. Playing in 16 games this year, Elney scored six goals. He spent time with the U.S. Men’s National Team U18 Squad, winning a tournament in the Czech Republic earlier this year.

Cameron Keys (La Salle University): Keys is the starting goalkeeper for the Union U18’s, starting and playing in 22 games this year. Keys will be playing at La Salle University next year, former college home of current Union keeper John McCarthy.

William Campbell (University of North Carolina): Campbell is the star at the back for the U18’s, playing as a centerback and anchoring them defensively. Campbell is six-feet tall and weighs 170 pounds, making him more athletic than most central defenders. He is also a danger moving forward, having scored three goals this season.

Other U-College Commitments

Kevin Carvalho (Northeastern), Morgan Hackworth (Syracuse), Nick Jachwak (Loyola Maryland), Garrett Keys (La Salle), Brandon Levano (Loyola Maryland), Everet Minchew (Wagner College), Zach Perez (Rutgers), John Schroeder (Delaware), Zach Zandi (Villanova)

Playoff Preview

The Philadelphia Union are in Group E in the USSDA playoffs, along with the Montreal Impact, LA Galaxy, and Kendall SC.

The way the playoffs work is that there are eight groups with four teams in each group. Only the winners of each group will advance, sending the tournament right to single elimination quarterfinals. 14 out of 18 MLS academy U18 teams made it to the playoffs, with the semi-finals and finals being held in the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

Group E

  • Montreal Impact: No. 1 overall seed, finished first in Northeast Division

Games played/record: 26/22-2-2

85 goals scored, 17 goals allowed. Previously played the Union U18’s on May 16 and won 4-1.

Key Player: Badreddine Boulajoul, a forward, scored 12 goals in only 12 games this season
 

  • Kendall SC: 13 seed, finished second in Southeast Division


GP/record: 36/23-10-3

85 goals scored, 43 goals allowed

Key Player: Alexander Moztarzadeh, an attacking midfielder/forward, scored 15 goals in 18 games. Committed to North Carolina.
 

  • Los Angeles Galaxy: 17 seed, finished third in Southwest Division


GP/record: 39/22-11-6

76 goals scored, 43 goals allowed

Key Player: Adrien Vera, a midfielder, scored 17 goals in 32 games. Committed to Cal State Northridge and plays on the U18 USMNT
 

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