Chicago Fire, FC Dallas youth sides win U.S. Soccer Development Academy national championships

A pair of MLS teams took home titles this weekend, with the Chicago Fire U-18s and FC Dallas U-16s winning the US Soccer Developmental Academy championship in their respective age groups on Saturday at the US Soccer National Training Center in Carson, Calif.

The U-18 level is for players born in 1996 or later, with the U-16 level for players born in 1998 or later, as the age designations are made at the start of the season (fall 2014).

Chicago pulled an upset in the U-18 final, with the 15th-seeded Fire downing second-seed Real Salt Lake-Arizona 3-1 to claim the second USSDA championship in club history.

Michael Jimenez gave the Fire an early lead, heading home a shot that rebounded off the post to put Chicago up 1-0 in the 13th minute. The Fire struck again on the stroke of halftime, with midfielder Andrew Gutman forcing a turnover near the top of the RSL box, dribbling into the area and slotting home to make it 2-0 in the 45th.

RSL pulled one back through Amar Sejdic in the 51st, but the Claret-and-Cobalt were undone 20 minutes later, scoring an own goal to give Chicago the 3-1 victory.

FC Dallas cruised to the U-16 title, defeating the New York Red Bulls 4-0 to capture their second USSDA championship. FCD jumped all over the Red Bulls, getting an 11th-minute opener from midfielder Weston McKennie before adding goals from Giovanni Montesdeoca in the 31st, Devin Vega in the 46th and Juan Ramirez in the 89th to secure the title.

The win put a cap on an incredible season for the FCD U-16s, who finished the year with a 19-3-5 record in USSDA play and outscored their opponents 20-0 in the Academy Playoffs. They were also the only MLS team to advance to the semifinals of the 2015 Generation adidas Cup in April, finishing fourth after losing a semifinal shootout to runners-up Eintracht Frankfurt. 

The pair of titles mark the third time in the last four years that MLS teams have swept the U-18 and U-16 Developmental Academy championships. MLS teams have now won the last six U-16 titles.

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