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U16 and U18 teams go 3-1-1 in Florida Showcase

The U18 and U16 teams traveled to Lakewood Ranch, Florida last weekend for the U.S. Development Academy Showcase.

Joseph DeZart
Joseph DeZart

The U18 team went 1-1-1 in the three games in Florida.

They lost 2-1 in the first game to Houston Dynamo on a late goal after Emmanuel Perez had tied the game on an assist from Frederick Gil.

The second game against Georgia United ended in a 2-1 win for the Union on a Joseph DeZart goal. The Union took the lead 17 minutes into the game on a Matthew Real cross that defender Auston Trusty headed home.

Cal Jennings leveled the game for Georgia United with a free kick just after the break, but DeZart's goal in the 82nd minute held up as the winner.

The third game ended in a draw with FC Dallas. Devin Vega scored 15 minutes into the game but Perez's second goal of the showcase leveled before halftime and the game ended 1-1 after a scoreless second half.

Anthony Fontana Matt Ralph

U16s

The U16 team had an exciting tournament with wins over FC Golden State and Vancouver Whitecaps and a loss to LA Galaxy in a seven-goal thriller that was live streamed on USsoccer.com and YouTube.

Daniel Bloyou and Anthony Fontana (pictured above) got the goals and the defense kept FC Golden State off the board in the first match.

Fontana's winner came in the 49th minute after faking out a defender in the box and Bloyou scored off a pass from Kalil ElMedkhar.

The game against LA Galaxy started off relatively slow but the Union fell down 1-0 on an Oscar Penate goal minutes after a Fontana first-time volley was called back for offside.

Justin McMaster got the Union on the board and the flag stayed down in the 52nd minute, tying the game at 1-1 but the Galaxy responded immediately to retake the lead 2-1 three minutes later on a Kevin Negrete goal.

ElMedkar's equalizer started a parade of goals in the final 15 minutes of the game. The Galaxy retook the lead on a beautiful free kick by 13-year-old Efrain Alvarez in the 79th minute, but the Union tied it again minutes later when Issa Rayyan headed home a ball that had hit the crossbar before bouncing back into the mix and making its way to Rayyan's head.

With stoppage time running out, LA retook the lead one last time on a Jonathan Estrada strike.

The U16s overcame a 1-0 deficit in the last showcase match against Vancouver Whitecaps with goals from McMaster and Fontana.

McMaster started the play that led to Fontana's winner with a backheel to Rayyan who played a ball across the front of goal to Fontana. McMaster's equalizer hit off the post and went in.

The six showcase matches for the U18 and U16 teams were the final matches of the year for the teams. The next games on the schedule aren't until March 5 when they host Baltimore Armour at YSC Sports.