Orlando City’s U-16 USSDA team kicked off their Generation Adidas Cup campaign in Toronto, Canada this past weekend playing the first of two qualifying events for the East Region group stage. City had a positive start to their cup run picking up two wins and a draw, putting the young Lions in excellent position to progress into the Championship Division title.
Day one of the Cup qualifying event saw the City U-16s advance to a penalty shootout with the Philadelphia Union U-16s after a scoreless regulation. City saw a penalty strike the cross bar and another saved by the Union goal keeper resulting in a hard fought 4-2 loss on penalties.
Orlando’s squad responded well on day two after day one’s tough loss with a win over the DC United U-16’s. The Lions jumped out to a commanding 2-0 first half lead behind goals from Mario Licor and Alejandro Duran. United, however, pulled a goal back before the half and eventually equalized in the second half sending the game to another penalty shootout. Unlike the previous day’s shootout the Lions made no mistakes and walked away with a 5-4 shootout win.
City capped off the qualifying round with an important 2-1 comeback victory against the New England Revolution U-16s. City fell behind early 1-0 in the first half but roared back behind second half goals from Jose Aldaco Jr. and Landen Haig. The win put the City U-16’s in third place on six points in the East Region table, one place below the Championship Division Title qualifying spots.
“I thought the first qualifying event for the Cup was a positive one,” said U-16 coach Jeff Negalha. “Our players demonstrated great character in and out of possession. We learned a lot about our team in a very competitive environment.”
The U-16’s will compete in the second, and final, qualifying event for the East Region of the Generation Adidas Cup on February 12th-15th. Until then, the U-16’s will head back to their USSDA regular season schedule this Saturday when they face Kendall SC in Miami.