FC Dallas Under-18 Team Tops Vancouver For USSDA National Championship

A goal in the second half of extra time by substitute Juanito Ramirez gave the FC Dallas Under-18 team a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps Under-18 squad in extra time the U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Championship match in the U-17/18 age group.

The result at the National Training Center in Carson, California, gave FC Dallas an unprecedented double on Saturday night. The Under-16 team also won the U-15/16 USSDA National Championship earlier in the evening, winning 2-0 over the Los Angeles Galaxy Under-16s.

The double earns FC Dallas a unique place in history as the only club to win USSDA National Championships in the U-15/16 and U-17/18 age groups in the same year.

The victory didn’t always appear to be on the cards for FC Dallas though, as they fell behind early on to a goal by Vancouver’s Vana Markarian in the 10th minute. Markarian was able to latch onto a corner kick and direct it in at the near post, with the deflection sneaking past FC Dallas goalkeeper Ben Hale.

Hale needed substituting in the later stages of the match following an 69th minute collision with Vancouver forward Daniel Sagno, with Hale being forced to leave the pitch with injury come the 80th minute.

The FC Dallas equalizer arrived just one minute after that change, as Devin Vega fired inside the right post to tie the match at 1-1 with nine minutes remaining in regulation.

FC Dallas nearly won the match and the championship with the final attacking move of regulation, but Vancouver goalkeeper Aidan Aylward did spectacularly to deny Damian Hernandez’s point-blank header.

Active play from Paxton Pomykal paced the Dallas attack in extra time and Ramirez’s winning goal came as a result of good play between Pomykal and substitute Gustavo Lopez.

Lopez provided the final settling touch for Ramirez, who scored his first goal of the season in the 106th minute to put FC Dallas in the lead.

Vancouver was unable to create a clear-cut chance in the dying minutes and Ramirez’s goal stood as the game-winner.

With the U-17/18 and U-15/16 USSDA National Championships earned on Saturday night, FC Dallas has now won four total USSDA national titles. The club also won the U-17/18 championship in 2011-12 and the U-15/16 championship last year.

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