The Orlando City U.S. Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) U-17/18 and U-15/16 squads headed north for a double dip of soccer matches in Georgia this weekend. A Saturday match-up with the Concorde Fire was followed by a Sunday clash with Georgia United.
The two Orlando City teams combined to collect seven of an available twelve points from the matches with their northern neighbors.
Head Coach Jeff Negalha's U-15/16 squad dropped its Saturday match with the Concorde Fire, 3-2. Striker Nathaniel Adamolekun did his best to keep the Lions in the match, scoring a goal just before the half and another in the opening few minutes of the second, but it just was not enough to secure a comeback.
Fire goals in the 39th, 45th, and 49th minutes of the match kept them one step ahead through to full time.
However, as should be expected from this first-place squad, the young Lions bounced back well on Sunday and earned a 2-1 victory over Georgia United. This match also featured a brace from the Lions' side, this time coming from David Loera netting his eighth and ninth goals on the year.
The weekend split keeps the U-15/16 squad five points clear at the top of the Southeast table.
The U-17/18 boys, led by head coach Paul Shaw, were slightly more successful in their duo of Georgia matches, earning a win and a draw.
The U-17/18 Lions trounced the Concorde Fire on Saturday, 3-0. Cormac Begley put the Lions on the board early, tallying his fifth goal of the year in the fifth minute of the match. Allan Sexius and Aiden Wixted each contributed their second goals of the year in the second half, putting the game out of reach.
The 3-0 shutout over the Fire is quite important. Orlando City sits only one place ahead of Concorde in the Southeast conference, despite trailing in points by two, due to the fact the Lions have played two fewer games so far this season.
Benjamin Michel added to his team leading goal total, now at 12, in the twelfth minute of Sunday's match against Georgia United. Tanner Hummel equalized for Georgia United in the 53rd minute and Josh Bronstorph put the home club into the lead with a goal in the 62nd. It looked as though the U-17/18 squad was going to emulate its U-15/16 brothers with a split, before Gorka Aperribay drew the Lions even with a goal in the 90th minute.
It was a solid weekend of results for the two squads, who will have to wait three weeks before returning to action at home on Feb. 22 against South Carolina United Battery Academy.
The U-13/14 boys return to the pitch on Feb. 7 in Tampa for a match with Tampa Bay United. Meanwhile, the ECNL girls squads return to action at home one day later on Feb. 8 for matches across all five age groups against the West Florida Flames.
Feb. 4 is National Signing Day. Last year, the Orlando City SC programs saw 41 players join collegiate soccer programs, so be prepared to start handing out congratulations to the young Lions you know, as they prepare to take the next steps in their soccer journey.