HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls U-16 academy team successfully qualified for the Championship Division of the Generation adidas Cup (GA Cup), the highest division in the tournament.
The Red Bulls U-16 won the East Regional division on goal differential with a 3-1-2 record, including one penalty kicks victory, in six total qualifiers. The team is one of six Under-17 MLS academy teams that qualified for the Championship Division to compete against international clubs in Frisco, Texas, between March 18-26 for the GA Cup title.
New York started the Spring qualifiers by shutting out D.C. United en route to a big victory, 5-0. Forward Zach Ryan scored the opening three goals of the match for a hat trick while Giuseppe Margiottiello and Bratislav Petkovic also scored to finish off the club’s MLS rival.
The Red Bulls U-16 faced Orlando City next and played out a scoreless draw, which headed to penalty kicks. Orlando defeated the Red Bulls U-16s in penalty kicks, 4-3.
Heading into the final qualifying match, New York needed a win in regulation or in a shootout against Toronto FC to clinch a spot in the Championship Division. After falling behind by two goals, the Red Bulls staged a comeback and tied the match with goals from Ben Mines and Zach Ryan to send the game into penalty kicks with the score tied, 2-2.
The match needed 10 rounds of penalties for the match to be decided. In the eight round, Red Bulls goalkeeper Sam Ilin made a save to set up a chance to win the game, only to see Toronto’s goalkeeper do the same. In the final round, Toronto’s penalty kick taker struck the post which setup New York with another chance to win the game. Willie Rojas stepped up and buried the game-winner to earn New York the shootout win, 9-8.
The Red Bulls U-16 finished qualifying with 15 goals scored, the most of any team in qualifying, and the top defensive record with five goals allowed. Zach Ryan and Omir Fernandez led the attack with each player scoring six goals.
Toronto, D.C. United and New York finished tied with 12 points, but goal differential sent the Red Bulls and Toronto through to the Championship Division. New York ended with a goal differential of 12, Toronto with a goal differential of 4 and D.C. with a goal differential of 1.
Prior to the start of GA Cup in Texas, the Red Bulls U-16s will begin the Spring section of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy season on Saturday, March 5, against D.C. United.
About Generation adidas Cup:
The Generation adidas Cup is Major League Soccer’s annual elite youth tournament for U-17 academy teams. Teams are divided into three regions (East, Central and West) and participate in two qualifying events per region, one in the Fall and one in the Spring.
The top two teams in each region after both qualifying events will participate against other international sides for the Championship Division title, while the remaining teams will play for the consolation Premier Division title. Both finals tournaments take place in Frisco, Texas, on March 18-26, 2016.