IRVINE, Calif. (July 9, 2019)-The U.S. Soccer Development Academy will crown its U-18/19 Boys
Champion on Wednesday night when FC Dallas faces off with New York City FC at the Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine, Calif. at 7:30 ET. After taking home the title last season, New York City FC will aim to become the first club to repeat as champs in the Academy's oldest age group. Historically one of the nation's most-successful Academy programs, FC Dallas will look for its first national championship since 2016. The two MLS squads, one a rising force and one a perennial powerhouse, are the last teams standing at the nation's highest level of youth soccer after a 10-month regular season and the 32-team Boys U-18/19 Playoffs.

Last season was New York City FC's first at the U-18/19 age group and the club commemorated the occasion by taking home the Academy Championship. Seven players return from last year's title-winning squad, including the team's three leading scorers in the Playoffs: Andres Jasson (six), Veljko Petkovic (four) and Jonathan Jimenez (two).

NYCFC won just one of its first two playoff matches and needed a strong win against Toronto FC to advance out of group. The team responded with a resounding 5-0 win against TFC to earn a berth in the quarterfinals, where New York steamed past Crossfire Premier SC 4-1. On Monday, NYC put together a complete performance against No. 2 seed Sockers FC with a 2-0 victory, scoring on either side of halftime. Jasson and Jimenez netted for New York.

FC Dallas's vaunted youth system has won more Academy Championships than any other club and sent a number of players on to success at the professional level. The club's last national title came in 2016, when both the U-15/16 and U-17/18 squads took home the hardware. Dallas was also the last Academy club to win back-to-back championships, winning at the U-15/16 level in 2015 and 2016.

The Texas power entered the Playoffs as the No. 1 overall seed, with its last defeat in October and losing just three times in the regular season. FCD has won every game in 2019, compiling a plus-66 goal differential this season, the nation's best. Dallas has marched through the Playoffs to the tune of a plus-12 goal differential, winning every game by at least two goals and not conceding in the knockout round.

Tanner Tessman has caught fire for Dallas of late, scoring the insurance goal in the team's 2-0 quarterfinal win over Michigan Wolves and bagging a brace against Saint Louis FC in the semifinal. Johan Gomez is the team's leading scorer on the year, netting 28 goals, including three in the postseason.

The U-18/19 Final is the first of four Academy Championship Finals to be played in Irvine on Wednesday and Thursday. Solar Soccer Club and Concorde Fire clash for the U-16/17 Academy Championship at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, while national champions for the Girls U-15 and U-16/17 age groups will be crowned on Thursday. The Academy Championships cap off the 12th season of the Development Academy.