While the Chivas USA first team preseason got underway last week, the Chivas USA Youth teams have been in full swing. The U18 team started the year off with a training game against first team trialists who were taking part in a sort of combine specifically for the team. The U18 squad lost 4-0, however this did not deter them. Their official start for their season was this past weekend in their first Academy match of the year against the Vancouver Whitecaps U18 squad, which they won 4-2.
Five minutes into the match Chivas USA received a PK and Whitecaps player Alex Rowley was sent off for denying a goal scoring opportunity. Stevie Rodriguez converted the PK for the goats and scored another goal in the 11th minute. Forward Ben Spencer followed up with two goals in the 15th and 22nd minutes. While the Goats powered through the first half, they conceded two penalty kicks in the second half – one for a handball and the other for a foul that led to a second red. However, they were able to go away with a win.
On the flip side, the U16 side was less successful. The squad lost 3-1 due to a hat trick from Whitecaps forward Brody Huitema. The Goats were able to score off a penalty kick from Jeffrey Quezada, however, as reported by J.R. Eskilson from Top Drawer Soccer, they were unable to convert many chances in front of the net.
In the second double header on Sunday against California Development Academy, the U18s won 5-1 while the U16s earned a win with a final score of 7-3. U18 forward Ben Spencer, who has also been spending some time training with the Chivas USA first team this preseason, scored 2 goals in the U18 win. U18 National Team player Marco Delgado also netted two goals in the fixture, with the other goal being scored by Jose Dheming. In the U16 match, Adam Arana, Edzon Cueva, Ever Delatorre, Joshua Perez, Jeffrey Quezada, and Romario Lomeli (2) scored.
Next week, both teams play away to Real So Cal at Oak Park High School. The U18 squad is now 8-3-1 on the season and in second place in the standings behind rivals LA Galaxy. The U16 squad is 6-5-1 on the season. It is worth noting that Academy players Esteban Rodriguez (midfielder), Marco Delgado (midfielder), Eric Gonzalez (midfielder), Jake McGuire (goalkeeper), and Ben Spencer (forward) have been training with the first team in their preseason camp. If you don't already know, Ben Spencer was one of the winners in the first team's beep test challenge.