FRISCO, Texas — A goal on either side of halftime paced the LA Galaxy to a 2-0 win over FC Dallas in the Under-17 championship at the Generation adidas Cup.
Sebastian Velasquez and Mario Rodriguez grabbed the goals, as the Galaxy secured their second major trophy of the summer after winning the USSF Development Academy U-16 Championship at Finals Week earlier in the month.
As the busy tournament came to an end, the heat and number of games caught up with the players in Sunday’s final.
“Both teams were completely shot today,” LA coach Kenny Arena said.
“In this heat, to play five games in seven days, it’s nearly impossible.”
However, they both had to fight through it and play in the same conditions, and in the early going, proceedings favored LA, as their attack channeled through forward Raul Mendiola.
In the 10th minute, FC Dallas had a chance to open the scoring against the run of play. Forward Victor Portillo played a through ball between the Galaxy back line to Bobby Edet. The forward, in alone on goal, spurned the chance and allowed the Galaxy defense to catch up to stifle the threat.
Mendiola helped orchestrate the Galaxy’s opener in the 21st minute. Played into space on the left flank, he spotted a wide-open Velasquez, and played the ball across goal in front of Richard Sanchez for an easy tap-in.
“I actually thought we put a good product on the field,” Arena said of his team’s performance. “We talked to [our players] early in the game just about finding each other’s feet. As many passes as they can make will help us in terms of our energy getting through the game.”
As the game went on, FC Dallas couldn’t quite hit their stride, as they were missing forward Alfred Koroma, who left for another youth tournament.
Edet had another chance before halftime when he intercepted a bad back pass by LA center back Matthew Tilley, only for goalie Daniil Slepukhin to come up with a big save.
Down a goal at the half, FC Dallas started well after the break but couldn’t get anything dangerous on frame in the first 20 minutes of the second half. They continued to pressure LA’s back line, and in the 73rd minute, Diego De la Tejera Farias found space in the box only for Tilley to block his shot at the last moment.
On the ensuing counter, Just Dhillion created space in the right hand corner, and threaded a pass to US U-17 forward Mario Rodriguez, who beat Sanchez to seal the game.
“It just shows a lot about our character about how we came in here and worked,” Galaxy midfielder Grady Howe said. “We disregarded the pain, the tired legs we had; it was something special to see our team put in that kind of shift.”
Red Bulls win U-15 Showcase
An own goal by the Chivas USA defense in the game’s final five minutes was the difference, as the New York Red Bulls defeated Chivas by a 3-2 score to win the U-15 Showcase Cup.
“I’m happy we played the way we liked to play – good soccer, keep possession, continue to attack throughout the game,” New York’s U-15 coach Jeff Zaun said after the game. “[It] paid off with the third goal there at the end.”
Red Bulls midfielder Malcolm Dixon picked up the Golden Ball, the award for best player at the U-15 tournament’s conclusion.
New York Red Bulls 3, Houston Dynamo 0
San Jose Earthquakes 2, Colorado Rapids 1
Sporting KC 3, Chicago Fire 0
Chivas USA 6, D.C. United 0
Toronto FC 3, Philadelphia Union 3 (Toronto wins on PKs, 9-8)
Seattle Sounders FC 5, New England Revolution 3
Real Salt Lake 4, Columbus Crew 2