EXTRA TIME THRILLER CATAPULTS FC DALLAS TO U-15 ACADEMY FINAL

By Andrew Sevcik

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (July 9, 2018) - In a thrilling game played on a hot summer day in Kansas City, Mo., FC Dallas capitalized on an extra time goal from Maeve Jones to defeat San Diego Surf 3-2 and advance to the first-ever Girls' Development Academy U-15 Championship game.

FC Dallas regrouped for extra time after conceding a late equalizer in second-half stoppage time. Pushing forward 90 seconds into the first ten-minute period, the ball pinged off consecutive headers following a throw-in in the attacking third. Alessandra Maldonado pressured and won the ball six yards from goal. Her close-range shot rang off the crossbar but the substitute forward Jones hustled to the far post to head in the rebound.

"I knew I had to get in there and help my team," Jones said. "We're all working really hard because we want to take it all the way to the end. It means a lot to our coaches and everyone on the team to play as a team. It would mean the world to keep the legacy going and bring the cup home to Dallas."

Dominating possession to open the game, FC Dallas capitalized with a swift offensive move in the sixth minute. Paige Dixon pierced a ball through the Surf defense toward Jaedyn Shaw who dummied, allowing Riley Baker time and space to place a left-footed shot to the goalkeeper's left to open the scoring.

As both teams grew into the game, defense and organization ruled the remainder of the opening, with neither team finding many goal-scoring chances. But both teams came out of the break refreshed and with a renewed vigor.

FC Dallas earned a corner in the 45th minute. Jaedyn Shaw looped in the restart and right back Jacsyn Clark out-jumped everyone and directed a strong header into the right side of the goal.

Surf hit right back on their first corner kick of the game, four minutes later. Bella Piete's service was cleared to the top of the box where Avery Nicholas was stationed. Nicholas calmly chipped over the mass of players still in the penalty area from the set piece. Dallas defenders lunged to make a last-ditch save, but Nicholas's effort was well-placed to avoid any attempt of a clearance.

Rallied by their goal, San Diego pressed on in search of an equalizer. A turnover in Dallas's defensive zone led to an opening for Coco Thistle, but her shot from 18-yards went straight to Dallas goalkeeper Jordyn Gunnarson. FC Dallas looked to capitalize as Surf threw numbers forward, but two good chances from Jones missed the target.

Desperate for a late goal, San Diego sent everyone, including goalkeeper Bella Grust, forward for a series of late set pieces in the attacking third. Dori Savage's hustle led to a corner kick for one last chance. Piete's corner kick fell loose as all 22 players inhabited the Dallas penalty area. Savage was first to the loose ball and finished from close range to level the game on the last kick of normal time.

Dallas's early extra-time goal triggered San Diego's desperate search for an equalizer, but Dallas stood firm in defense and held out to cap the 3-2 win.

The #2 overall seed FC Dallas advances on to the final and will face Legends FC (Chino, Calif.) in the inaugural Girls' Academy U-15 Championship game. Fans can also follow along on the Development Academy Twitter and Instagram accounts, as well as the live stream on ussoccerda.com, the Development Academy Facebook Page and the U.S. Soccer YouTube channel.