With only two spots in the championship group stage up for grabs, it was a fierce day of competition at the Seminole Soccer Complex for the Generation Adidas (GA) Cup participants.
The early game saw fourth place Philadelphia Union take on the New York Red Bulls, who still held on to second place, despite coming up short in penalties on Saturday. Both squads needed a result, which made the game very open in the first half. Each team saw their fair share of chances, but neither were able to capitalize. The second half continued with much of the same as both teams struggled to break the deadlock. However, with added time remaining the Philadelphia Union found their hero in Raheem Taylor Parkes. Following a string of passes, Parkes placed the ball out of the goalkeeper’s reach and wheeled around to celebrate with his teammates. The final whistle followed not long after, and the Union moved into second place.
D.C. United and the New England Revolution faced off in the second match of the morning. D.C. was on the scoreboard first after a long cross into the box fell to Jean-Christophe Koffi’s feet, who calmly finished the chance. Koffi doubled his goal tally and United’s lead right before the half through a towering header from a corner kick. The contest turned into a rout when Shaun McKenna pushed D.C. ahead by three from another well-placed corner. Although the Revolution pulled one back through Matthew Ranieri, D.C.’s Collin Jouan re-established United’s three-goal lead before the final whistle – leading to D.C.’s first win of the competition.
Group leaders Toronto FC and Orlando City featured in the final contest of the group stage. Toronto struck first through a goal by Cyrus Rollocks, taking an early 1-0 advantage. However, not long afterwards Orlando’s Jonathan Brasiliano made the most of a miss-hit clearance by Toronto player Brogan Engbers to level the match for the home team. Just before half, Rollocks scored his second goal of the game on a rebound effort following a save by City’s Justin Bauer, reclaiming the lead for Toronto.
Orlando fought hard to even the score, and their efforts paid off when Landon Haig found the back of the net in the 63rd minute. City’s Mario Licor had an opportunity to end the game in the last minute of regulation, but his shot deflected off the frame and skipped across the face of the goal.
As a result, Orlando City ventured into penalties for the second game in a row, but this time it only took nine rounds for the Lions to pull out the victory. Not one of City’s players missed a penalty, and Bauer stepped up with a big save in the ninth round to claim the win. Unfortunately, the result landed City in fourth place which wasn’t enough to carry the Lions into the championship round.
At the end of the day, Toronto FC (11 points) and the Philadelphia Union (9 points) claimed the top two spots in the group and will advance on to play in the GA bracket in April. The GA bracket will determine the overall winner of the 2015 Generation adidas Cup. The New York Red Bulls (9 points), Orlando City (8 points), DC United (4 points) and New England Revolution (4 points) all qualified for the “ESP” bracket.