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Sounders Academy claims first national title

U-16/17 throttles Atlanta United to win USSDA championship.

U.S. Soccer

It’s taken a bit longer than they’d probably like, but the Seattle Sounders now have their first U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy national title. The championship came courtesy of the U-16/17s — a team many have called the most talented age-grouping in club history — who scored five unanswered goals to take down Atlanta United, the division’s defending title-holders.

Ray Serrano scored a brace, while Alec Diaz, Azriel Gonzalez and Alfonso Ocampo Chavez each scored one. Serrano, Gonzalez and Ocampo Chavez have all signed professional contracts with S2.

The afternoon did not start out so well, though, as Atlanta jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 8th minute after goalkeeper Robert Harraka couldn’t quite control a hard shot and the rebound was put in.

Although the Sounders had several good opportunities to equalize, they finally found the breakthrough in the 40th minute. That’s when Serrano pounced on a poor back pass to go all alone on the goalkeeper, ultimately rounding him and putting it in the open net.

The game took a bit of a wild turn a few minutes later when Victor Delgado was shown a red card for a studs up challenge. Marlon Vargas then got ejected for shoving Delgado, leaving both teams with 10 men.

On the ensuing free kick, the Sounders turned the tide for good. Alec Diaz scored the goal of the match, lobbing a shot over the goalkeeper from the edge of the penalty area.

Serrano gave the Sounders a bit of breathing room in the 64th minute when he put in a rebound from an Ocampo Chavez shot off the post. Ocampo Chavez had just dribbled through several Atlanta players to create the chance.

Atlanta’s best chance to get back into the game came in the 76th minute when they were awarded a somewhat curious penalty. But Harraka came up big to stop the attempt, setting the table for a glorious finish.

First, in the 90th minute Daniel Leyva picked off a pass, fed Ocampo Chavez, who found Gonzalez all alone in front of the net for an easy finish.

Ocampo Chavez then got one more on the game’s final play, taking a perfectly weighted pass from center back Blake Malone to go in one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

The resounding win in the championship game — the first time any club from Washington has won a USSDA crown — capped a regular season in which the Sounders scored 115 goals in 34 matches.

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