This weekend, two teams from Minnesota United’s Development Academy – the U15s and the U17s – made the six-hour drive south to Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, Missouri, to compete in the first round of qualifying for the Generation adidas Cup. Hosted by Sporting Kansas City, the U15s and U17s went head-to-head with three other MLS academy teams: San Jose Earthquakes Academy, Chicago Fire Soccer Academy and Seattle Sounders FC Academy.
Friday, October 11
1:00 p.m. | U17 vs. San Jose Earthquakes Academy | 0-0 (5-4 PK)
Minnesota United’s U17s kicked off their Generation adidas Cup campaign with a hard-fought game against San Jose Earthquakes Academy. After the regulation 80-minute game ended goalless, the two sides went to a penalty shootout to determine who would be victorious. MNUFC scored each of its five spot kicks while goalkeeper Fred Emmings denied San Jose’s fifth and final penalty kick from Tarun Karumanchi to win the shootout, 5-4.
3:30 p.m. | U15 vs. San Jose Earthquakes Academy | 1-3
The U15s began their Generation adidas Cup against a strong U15 San Jose Earthquakes Academy squad. The Quakes dominated the opening 45 minutes as they tacked on two goals in the first half of play, a first in the 10th minute and a second in the 38th minute. The Fire extended their advantage and put the game out of reach for the U15s just a minute into the second half. Although down three goals, MNUFC put together a much better second half and got on the board in the 80th minute through a Cooper Lijewski goal but it proved to be too little, too late as the Loons couldn’t bring the score level and dropped their first game 3-1.
Saturday, October 12
1:00 p.m. | U17 vs. Chicago Fire Soccer Academy | 0-2
Looking to build on a strong start and a thrilling penalty shootout win, the U17s squared off against the Chicago Fire on Saturday afternoon. In a tale of two halves, the U17s played a strong first half but conceded two goals in the second half. The Fire’s Alex Monis scored the game’s opening goal in the 56th minute before Missael Rodriguez doubled Chicago’s lead in the 64th minute, leading to a 2-0 defeat for the U17s in their second qualifying game.
6:00 p.m. | U15 vs. Chicago Fire Soccer Academy | 0-3
After a disappointing first game against the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday, the U15s looked to rebound in an evening game against the Chicago Fire. The Fire U15s came out with a well-balanced attack that MNUFC struggled to contain throughout the game. Opening the scoring in the first half through a Sergio Oregel goal in the 34th minute, the Fire then built on its 1-0 lead through second half goals from Benjamin Chavarria in the 51st minute and Zion Ash in the 60th minute to give Chicago a 3-0 win.
Monday, October 14
9:00 a.m. | U17 vs. Seattle Sounders FC Academy | 1-1 (3-5 PK)
In their last game of the first round of Generation adidas Cup Qualifying, the U17s looked to finish their trip to Kansas City on a strong note against Sounders FC Academy. Getting off to a quick start, MNUFC’s Bajung Darboe gave the Loons a 1-0 lead in the first minute of the game. Closing in on the final whistle, misfortune struck as a Minnesota own goal leveled the score, sending the U17s into their second penalty shootout of the weekend. This time it was the opposition who came away victorious as Sounders FC netted all five of its penalties while MNUFC’s Alexander Romero saw his effort saved to give Seattle a 5-3 shootout victory.
11:00 a.m. | U15 vs. Seattle Sounders FC Academy | 0-11
After a long weekend of soccer, the MNUFC U15s came up against a very strong Seattle Sounders FC Academy side who had previously dominated the Chicago Fire in a commanding 2-0 win and only lost via penalty kicks to Sporting KC. On short rest, the Loons shipped in 11 goals in a disappointing end to their first weekend of Generation adidas Qualifying play but they will return to action in February to improve on a weekend filled with positives all over the field.
What is the Generation adidas Cup?
Known as one of the premier competitive youth soccer tournaments in North America, the Generation adidas Cup offers intense competition and exposure for some of the brightest young talent in youth soccer.
Consisting of 25 MLS U17 teams and 24 U15 MLS teams, the qualifying stage is split regionally into three different groups (A, B and C) for the U17s and four different groups (A, B, C and D) for the U15s. Minnesota United’s Development Academy is in Group B of the 2019 Generation adidas Cup regional qualifying round.
After two weekends of qualifying action – Oct. 11–Oct. 14 and Feb. 14–Feb. 17 – the top two teams from each U17 regional group will advance to play in Division 1 of the 2020 Generation adidas Cup Finals at the Toyota Soccer Center in Frisco, Texas. Even if teams don’t manage to finish in the first and second spots, the third and fourth placed teams will play in Division 1 and the fifth and six placed teams will play in Division 3 (Location TBD). Each of the four group winners from the U15 bracket will advance to the Final Event – an eight-team international challenge.
Both the U15s and the U17s will return to qualifying action on February 14 when they travel to Dignity Sports Health Park for the second and final round of qualifying. For more information as well as full results and standings of the 2019–2020 Generation adidas Cup, click here.