FRISCO, Texas – The New England Revolution Academy Under-15 side is one of four teams still in contention to be crowned the inaugural MLS NEXT Cup Under-15 champions. Coached by Revolution and MLS legend Shalrie Joseph, the Revolution Under-15s defeated D.C. United in the Quarterfinals, 3-2, in Frisco, Texas on Monday afternoon. New England will take on the Philadelphia Union Under-15s in the MLS NEXT Cup Semifinals on Wednesday, June 30 at 10:00 a.m. ET. The match will be streamed live on MLSsoccer.com. The winner will take on either Real Salt Lake or the San Jose Earthquakes in the title match of the Under-15 bracket.
In Monday’s victory in the Quarterfinals, New England opened the scoring in the eighth minute on a goal Angel Ortez (2006 – Revere, Mass.). However, it only took three minutes for D.C. United to equalize, converting from the penalty spot in the 11th minute. The Revolution were forced to play nearly the entire second half with 10 players, but despite being shorthanded, quickly jumped out to a two-goal lead as forward Enzo Goncalves (2006 – Hyannis, Mass.) scored off the bench in the 52nd minute and Olger Escobar (2006 – Lynn, Mass.) tallied in the 59th minute. Goncalves, the team’s leading scorer, recorded 10 goals in the last 10 games of the MLS NEXT season to help the U-15s go unbeaten in the final nine matches of Northeast Division play.
If the Revolution Under-15s win their next two matches, the team would be crowned the Under-15 MLS NEXT Cup champions in the first edition of the competition. The tournament brought together the top 128 teams from across the nation – 32 in each age group – for the single-elimination tournament. MLS NEXT Cup, hosted in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, will conclude on July 3.
The Revolution qualified all three eligible teams for the MLS NEXT Cup Playoffs, as the Under-19s and Under-17s also participated. The Revs’ Under-19s advanced out of the first round past Atlanta United, receiving a heroic performance in the penalty kick shootout from goalkeeper Max Weinstein (2004 – Montpelier, Vt.), before falling to Cedar Stars Academy in the Round of 16, 2-0. The Under-17 side exited in the first round after falling to Orlando City SC, 3-1.
The New England Revolution Academy, headquartered at the state-of-the-art Revolution Training Center in Foxborough, Mass., is the first step on the pathway to the professional ranks for New England’s top youth soccer players. The Revolution Academy strives to break down barriers to the sport’s highest levels by serving as the region’s only free-to-play, fully funded elite youth soccer program. To learn more about the Revolution Academy, visit RevolutionSoccer.net.