U-18/19 ACADEMY PLAYOFFS: WHAT TO WATCH FOR

By Jeremy Reid on June 18, 2018

As the set of games in group play begin in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-18/19 Playoffs on Monday at SoCal Sports Complex in Oceanside, Calif. here are some of the storylines to look for in the U-18/19 age group.

Unbeaten in 18

After winning the U-15/16 Academy Championship a season ago, many of those players have moved up to the Atlanta United FC U-18/19 team, which enters the Summer Showcase unbeaten in their last 18 games (13-0-5). Atlanta United's last loss came at the Winter Showcase to Seattle Sounders FC, 1-0, on November 30. Drawn into Group B, Atlanta United U-18/19 will open against Houston Dynamo on Monday before facing LA Galaxy on Wednesday and Montreal Impact FC on Friday.

Wednesday's matchup against LA Galaxy will be a feature game, streamed live on ussoccerda.com, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Facebook page and the U.S. Soccer YouTube Channel, and will kickoff at 1 p.m. PT.

Philadelphia Union U-18/19 also has an 18-game unbeaten streak as it enters the Summer Showcase. The last time Philadelphia Union suffered defeat was on November 5, when it fell to Bethesda SC, 2-1. During its 18-game winning streak, Philadelphia Union has kept 11 clean sheets, including four in a row, last conceding a goal on May 6 in a 4-2 victory over New England Revolution.

Philadelphia Union is in Group H where it will open the Playoffs on Monday against Shattuck - Saint Mary's before facing Portland Timbers on Wednesday and Colorado Rapids on Friday.

Red Hot FC Dallas

Playing in Group E, FC Dallas U-18/19 comes to San Diego with a 15-game winning streak. The last loss for FC Dallas came on December 3 at the Winter Showcase, where it fell, 3-2, to LA Galaxy. As U-15/16 champions in 2015 and 2016, as well as U-17/18 champions in 2016, FC Dallas brings a tradition of success into this week's showcase.

FC Dallas will play Sacramento Republic on Monday, Saint Louis FC Academy on Wednesday and New York City FC on Friday.

The Top Seed

New York Red Bulls U-18/19, division winner in the Atlantic U-18/19 East Division, is the top overall seed in the U-18/19 Playoffs, bringing a 23-2-1 record into the Playoffs.

New York Red Bulls have been drawn into Group F where they will face Kendall SC on Monday, Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday and Crew SC Academy on Friday.

The Hometown Club

At the 2017 Development Academy Summer Showcase and Playoffs in Indianapolis, Indiana Fire U-17/18 rode the momentum of raucous hometown crowds to a pair of victories to start the showcase before falling just short of the quarterfinals with a 2-1 setback against Orlando City SC in its final group stage game. As the Summer Showcase heads to the west coast and the SoCal Sports Complex, Nomads SC, based in nearby La Jolla, Calif., will hope to have the benefit of similar home crowd support.

A wildcard entry out of the Southwest Division, Nomads SC is in Group G, along with Crossfire Premier, North Carolina FC Youth and Players Development Academy. Nomads SC will meet Crossfire Premier on Monday, Players Development Academy on Wednesday and North Carolina FC Youth on Friday.