Reigning Academy Champs FC Dallas Battle Crew SC Wolves to Scoreless Draw

WESTFIELD, Ind. (June 26, 2017) - On the third and final day of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-15/16 and U-17/18 playoff games, the stage was set for the first featured game between FC Dallas and Crew SC Academy Wolves: very simply, it was win or go home, at least for Crew Wolves. For FC Dallas, the reigning 2015-2016 Development Academy Champions had three options: win or tie and advance, or lose and go home.

FC Dallas came into the contest with two Playoff wins in three days, while the Wolves needed a dramatic finish against Baltimore Armour in their second game, where they scored at the death (80+3) to end the game in a 1-1 draw and put themselves in a win or go home situation.

In the first half, the Wolves brought the pressure early, keeping the ball on Dallas' side of the field. But seven minutes after a yellow card was issued in the 28th minute, settling the tension between the two sides, FC Dallas created their first chance to begin their quest to the Knockout Round. After a Thomas Roberts re-directed header was appropriately measured by Brayan Padilla, the forward took a slight volley hit that ultimately came up short, hitting the left side netting. The threat would be the closest scare as neither team could produce a better chance in the first period.

The second half continued to favor the MLS club, who began to piece together the right movements to create solid opportunities. The first big chance came in the 48th minute, when a trio of connections, starting with Pablo Arias to Roberts, helped to set up a clean shot attempt from Johan Gomez, who's effort took an athletic save from Wolves goalkeeper Logan Kowalczyk to keep the ball from finding the net.

The best chance of the entire game from either opponent came in the 67th minute. Pressing for goal off of a throw in, Padilla cradled a deflected clearance, held his positioning down the left side box line and slashed a dangerous ball up for grabs a few yards above the six-yard box. Lucky for Padilla, forward Kevin Kim was there and had a vision to pick out the far corner. The effort was creative, but came up short, gliding over the right top corner.

In the 74th minute, Kowalczyk once again came up huge for Crew Wolves. The '01 birth year goalkeeper was forced to use his entire frame to stop a rocketing shot from Padilla who cradled a nicely played ball from Roberts. Kowalczyk was forced to come out of his line and make himself as big as possible as Padilla was played through, displaying once again the veteran shoulders on the young man's head.

In the end, FC Dallas proved their ability to manage the game out and secured their ticket to host a quarterfinal match, demonstrating that champions know how to get results when they don't play their best game. FC Dallas now moves forward, aiming to conquer a three-peat, which has never been done before in the history of the Development Academy.

"We qualified so yes (I'm pleased)," FC Dallas head coach and Academy Director Luchi Gonzalez said. "At the end of the day, we did what we needed to do. We didn't concede, and we conceded in the first two games, so I have to be proud of the boys for that, and I thought defensively we were strong. On the other hand, it was not a great performance by us but it also shows that we can get a result when we are not performing at our best. Credit to Crew Wolves and (head coach) Lars (Richters) for doing an amazing job with that group, keeping them organized, keeping them motivated. My hat's off to that organization and that coaching staff, that was one of the more difficult teams that we have had to try to break down this year, congrats to them on their season."