The Orlando City U15s and U17s both qualified for the 2022 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs this past weekend, topping their groups at MLS NEXT Flex at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, MD. Both teams will get to compete for the national championship beginning on June 25 in Frisco, TX.
The U17s, the defending national champions in their age group, took one on the chin in their first match, drawing New York City-based youth club BW Gottschee 0-0 and falling in penalties to take just one point from the affair. The side quickly bounced back though, easily defeating Albion SC San Diego 3-0 thanks to goals from Ethan Subachan and Favian Loyola, along with an own goal. Orlando wrapped up the group with a 5-1 throttling of Sockers FC Chicago, with braces from both Subachan and Loyola along with a Chase Vazquez goal accounting for the scoring.
The U15 side faced three tight games in their group against quality competition, but managed to pull out all three one way or another. They opened with a 1-1 draw against New Jersey’s Player Development Academy, with Marshall Treese getting on the scoresheet for the Lions. They would go on to win in penalties and did not miss a single PK in the shootout. Israel Daniels and Bernardo Rhein Goncalves both scored in a 2-1 win over Colorado, and the U15s finished off the group decider with a 1-0 victory over Atlanta, with Theo Franca accounting for the game’s lone goal.
Attention now turns to the 2022 MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs, taking place at Toyota Soccer Center in Frisco from June 25 to July 3. Only 32 teams from each age group qualify, making it the highest-level youth soccer tournament on offer in the United States. Orlando City won last year’s U17 championship, defeating PDA on penalty kicks in the final. More information on the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs will be released in the coming weeks.