The Chicago Fire Academy U-18 squad made it two wins in two to open Group F play at this week’s U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs in Westfield, Ind.
The U-18 squad, seeded No. 15 in the USSDA playoffs as the champions of the Central Conference’s Mid-America Division, opened play Tuesday with a 2-0 victory over Sporting KC, receiving goals from a tandem of U.S. youth internationals. The Fire seized a late lead with an 86th-minute goal by Mauricio Pineda and iced the win when Cameron Lindley tallied four minutes later.
The U-18s were right back to action Wednesday morning and posted a 1-0 win over New York City-based BW Gottschee Academy. Djordje Mihalovic provided the match-winner in the 43rd minute.
The Fire round out group play Friday at 8 a.m. CT against the New York Red Bulls, the No. 4 overall seed in the event and the first-place team out of the East Conference’s Atlantic Division. The Red Bulls defeated BW Gottschee, 4-0, in its first game, before falling to Sporting KC, 1-0, Wednesday afternoon.
The Chicago Fire Academy team is among 32 clubs competing in the U-18 age group playoffs this week in Westfield. The top team from each of eight groups move on to a single-game knockout round held July 7-8 at the higher-seed’s home facility. From there, four winners move on to the Academy Championship games July 16-18 in Carson, Calif.
Also on Tuesday, the Chicago Fire U-16 squad scored a 1-0 victory against the Colorado Rush, bouncing back from a defeat by the same score Monday against Montreal Impact FC. Vitalis Takawira Jr.’s goal in the ninth minute stood up against the Rush, giving the Fire a split of their two matches at the National Showcase.
The Chicago Fire U-14s participated in the inaugural U.S. Soccer-sponsored National Showcase at that age level over the weekend, falling in a trio of matches against Chivas USA, Orlando City SC and FC Dallas Academies.
Chicago Fire Academy at USSDA Playoffs/National Showcase
Tuesday, June 23 -- Chicago Fire 2:0 Sporting KC
Wednesday, June 24 -- Chicago Fire 1:0 BW Gottschee Academy
Friday, June 26 -- Chicago Fire vs. New York Red Bulls (8 a.m. CT)
Monday, June 22 -- Chicago Fire 0:1 Montreal Impact FC
Tuesday, June 23 -- Chicago Fire 1:0 Colorado Rush
Friday, June 19 -- Chicago Fire 1:5 Chivas USA
Saturday, June 20 -- Chicago Fire 0:2 Orlando City SC
Monday, June 22 -- Chicago Fire 1:3 FC Dallas