Derrick Jones (aka Derrick Amaniampong) buried a penalty kick in stoppage time to earn the Union Academy team a crucial point in the opening game of the U.S. Development Academy playoffs on Tuesday in Indiana.
His goal completed a miraculous comeback that started with Sebastian Elney's 89th minute goal off a free kick. The Impact, the top team in the group, opened the scoring in the 30th minute and added a second in the 37th minute. Up next, the U-18s play Kendall SC Wednesday at noon and finish group play against LA Galaxy at 9 a.m. on Friday.
The U-16s played like the No. 2 overall seed and the top seed in their group with a 3-1 win over Everton FC Westchester. Tiger Graham opened the scoring in the 22nd minute on an assist from Jack Skahan that was set up by a cross from Josue Monge.
Justin McMaster made the score 2-0 in the second half and Raheem Taylor-Parkes made it 3-0 two minutes after subbing into the game in the 64th minute. Everton did find the back of the net in the 69th minute and poured on the pressure late but the U-16s held on for the victory ahead of a Wednesday match with Weston FC at 2:30 p.m. The U-16s finish group play against Houston Dynamo on Friday at 11:15 a.m.
The opening round of the playoffs are being played at Grand Sports Park in Westfield, Indiana with eight groups of four teams in each age group.
The winner of each group will advance to a single-game knockout round played at the higher seed's home facility. The knockout round games will be played July 7 for the U-18s and July 8 for the U-16s. The four winners will advance to the Academy Championships on July 16 in Carson, California.
The finals for each age group will be played July 18. Players Development Academy won the U-17/18 championship last season and LA Galaxy the U-15/16 championship.
The Union Academy U-18 and U-16 teams both failed to advance out of group play last season, posting identical 0-2-1 records in group play.