Duncan McCormick celebrates after scoring a goal versus Crossfire - Chris Coulter (soundersphotos.com)
The Sounders Academy teams had a very successful road trip to southern California this weekend, picking up 3 wins and a draw. Most impressively, they didn't allow a goal in the four games.
If the emergence of DeAndre Yedlin to the senior team brings some increased attention to the Academy, any new observers will discover a pair of teams playing excellent soccer. Combined, the U16s and U18s haven't lost in their last 11 matches — a run stretching back to December 3rd, when the U18s lost to Shattuck-Saint Mary's at the Winter Development Academy.
That run continued in dominating fashion this weekend. On Saturday they overwhelmed Nomads SC with a pair of 4-0 victories. The U18s scored all four of their goals in the first half, with Jordan Morris picking up two goals and an assist. And despite Morris going off at half and the team going down to 10 men for the last 30 minutes, that score held up. The U16s spread their goals out a little more, but ended on the same scoreline.
On Sunday, the teams took on San Diego Surf. The U18s won 2-0, with Morris picking up another assist and keeper Connor Adkisson saving a penalty to preserve the shutout. The U16s had a rougher time of it, going down to 10 men in the 25th minute when keeper Ben Willis was ejected for handling a ball outside the area trying to shut down a breakaway. They were able to hold on to the shutout and it's hard to argue against a point being a good result after being down a man for 65 minutes.
The 10 point weekend kept the teams in the top of the Northwest Division standings. The U18s are in first place ahead of Vancouver. The U16s are in second behind De Anza Force, who are on an absurd pace of 2.4 points a game and could nearly coast into the playoffs at this point.
The teams next play at home on March 16 and 17th, meaning it'd be possible to catch the Academies at Starfire on Saturday morning and then head north to CenturyLink for the first Cascadia Cup match of the season, when the Timbers come to town.