North America’s most prestigious youth tournament kicked off Sunday in the Dallas area, and with it came some early success for MLS academies facing tough challenges. FC Dallas and Vancouver both got their respective campaigns off on the right foot.
FC Dallas take down Barcelona
Behind a goal and assist from Home Grown player Jonathan Top, FC Dallas got the start they were looking for with a 3-1 win over FC Barcelona in the Gordan Jago Super Group.
Top opened the scoring with a crisp finish in the 23rd minute, as Victor Ulloa found Top free in Barcelona’s box. After Jose Perez doubled FC Dallas’ lead later in the first half, fellow academy product Bryan Leyva combined with Top to setup midfielder Daniel Garcia to put the game away in the 55th minute.
A young Barcelona side mustered a late consolation in the 89th minute through a David Babunski penalty kick.
"I thought it was a great performance by the boys," FCD director of youth development Oscar Pareja told MLSsoccer.com. "We were very organized, [had] and a lot efficient play and a lot of hard work. We matched them and we had the opportunities to hurt them and we were very effective. Overall, I thought we were the better team and we are very proud of them."
Fisk, ‘Caps topple Corinthians
Vancouver native Ben Fisk scored a hat trick to lead the Whitecaps Residency squad in one of Sunday’s most surprising results, as Vancouver downed Brazilian squad SC Corinthians 3-2 in Super Group play.
Fisk took advantage of windy conditions in the game’s first half, as his in-swinging corner kick confused the Corinthians ‘keeper and found the back of the net in the eighth minute. The forward added two more second half goals, but the Whitecaps had to hold off a late rally from Corinthians, as the Brazilians scored two late goals to make for a nervy ending.
Whitecaps head coach Richard Grootscholten was pleased with his team’s opening day performance.
"It's always good to win the first game in this tournament," Grootscholten told whitecapsfc.com. "We want to challenge these quality teams and see where we are on this level. We saw a lot of good things from the players today. They worked hard and did everything to get the result today. We scored our goals at the right moments, so it was a very good day."
Arsenal rout 10-men Texans
In Sunday’s marquee matchup, local side Dallas Texans faced the difficult task of contending with an extremely strong Arsenal youth side. And while the locals took the lead on an Eduardo Aranda, Arsenal soon showed their class, scoring five unanswered goals to win handily 5-1.
Midfielder Conor Henderson equalized for the Gunners late in the first half, and after Roarie Deacon gave Arsenal the lead, the English side didn’t look back. Shortly after the halftime break, Dallas’ Conor Richardson was sent off, and Arsenal took advantage of the numbers advantage, padding the final score as Luke Freeman added a third and Josh Rees scoring a late brace.
Other MLS academies in action on Sunday
Tigres UANL 3, Real Salt Lake 1
Cortiba 2, Houston Dynamo 0
Davis Legacy 2, D.C. United 1
FC Dallas Academy 6, Barrio Mexico 1
Santa Clara Sporting 4, Chicago Fire Juniors 1
Chicago Fire Juniors 3, TAP Barcelona/FC Barca 2
Real Salt Lake 4, FB Correcaminos 1