[FINALS WEEK] Development Academy Finals Week kicks off on Saturday at the Home Depot Center with an under-15/16 match between a pair of Chicago rivals, the Fire and Sockers FC. With a 19-game winning streak, Baltimore Bays Chelsea is the favorite. For a look at the eight U-15/16 finalists ...
Baltimore Bays Chelsea -- The Bays, top seeds in June’s playoffs, enter Finals Week with a 19-game winning streak. They have not lost in Academy play since a 2-1 defeat to FC Westchester in April. Michael Gamble leads the Bays with 23 goals. Gamble and teammate Malcolm Harris both had goals selected among the top goals in the playoffs. Both are on the Disney’s Soccer Showcase All-Star Team headed to Chelsea next month.
Cal Odyssey -- The Fresno, Calif., area team finished second in the U/15-16 division in 2009. Villyan Bijev and Gregory Antognoli lead Odyssey with 18 and 16 goals, respectively. Jon-Paul Medina is first on the Odyssey in the playoffs with three goals.
CASL Chelsea FC Academy --The North Carolina program finished seventh in the U-17/18 finals last summer. In 2008, it had teams reach the finals in both age groups. It's riding a 13-game unbeaten streak into Finals Week and hasn't conceded a goal during the playoffs. Liberian-born Monbo Bokar has 20 goals, while Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler is second on CASL with 16.
Chicago Fire -- Former U.S. under-17 resident Victor Pineda scored twice in the last seven minutes to give the Fire a 2-1 win over FC Westchester that clinched the U-16s their first appearance at Finals Week.
De Anza Force -- Force and the Bays were the only teams to come away from the playoffs in Greensboro with three wins in the U-15/16 age group. Force is coached by long-time San Jose Earthquakes star Chris Dangerfield. It is led by Stefano Bonomo, Alfred Edmonds and Hector Herrera each with seven goals.
D.C. United --The MLS program needed a pair of goals from Julian Griggs to earn a 2-1 come-from-behind win against Real Colorado that sealed a place at Finals Week. In 2008, Griggs led the Casa Mia Bays to the U.S. Youth Soccer under-15 championship.
Internationals --The Cleveland area club clinched a berth in the finals when Nicholas Parianos' goal gave it a 1-1 tie with New Jersey powerhouse PDA. It was Parianos' 12th goal of the season.
Sockers FC --Striker Khaliq McKenzie leads the Sockers, who have only lost twice all season, with 15 goals. The Sockers tied the Fire 1-1 and 0-0 in games played last month.
3:00 pm CASL Chelsea FC Academy vs Cal Odyssey
4:00 pm Internationals vs Baltimore Bays Chelsea
6:00 pm Chicago Fire vs Sockers FC
7:00 pm De Anza Force vs D.C. United
3:00 pm Baltimore Bays Chelsea vs CASL Chelsea FC Academy
4:00 pm Cal Odyssey vs Internationals
6:00 pm D.C. United vs Chicago Fire
7:00 pm Sockers FC vs De Anza Force
4:00 pm CASL Chelsea FC Academy vs Internationals
4:00 pm Baltimore Bays Chelsea vs Cal Odyssey
7:00 pm Chicago Fire vs De Anza Force
7:00 pm D.C. United vs Sockers FC