New York City FC U19s are US Soccer Development Academy champions!
James Sands struck home the winning penalty to give the Club its second-ever piece of silverware in Kansas City, MO.
Following a goalless 120 minutes, Johan Peñaranda saved LA Galaxy’s fourth spot-kick to give Sands the opportunity to win it for the Boys in Blue and City’s first-ever Homegrown Player didn’t flinch, sending his penalty into the net to clinch the trophy.
Reaching the final of the US Soccer Development Academy Playoffs for the first time, NYCFC had already achieved so much to outlast more than 75 teams from across the nation.
To lift the trophy, they had to overcome a tough LA Galaxy side who had defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps in the semifinals.
City defeated Columbus Crew SC for the right to take on their bicoastal rivals, following a hugely successful 2017/18 season in the Northeastern Division.
NYCFC dominated the first half and came closest to taking the lead inside the opening 10’ when Gio Reyna found the crossbar with a wicked dipping free-kick.
Good chances were at a premium thereafter until the halftime interval but the Boys in Blue played some attractive, mature soccer, playing through the lines from back to front and pressing in packs to win the ball high.
It was from City’s seventh corner of the night when they finally forced the ball into the net through the head of Justin Haak but the celebrations were brought to an abrupt end by the referee who disallowed the goal for a perceived infringement.
The game grew more fragmented and tense after the break with regular stoppages following tough challenges, with chances drying up after that disallowed goal.
Peñaranda was required to make a huge double save in extra-time, while Sands brought out the best of the Galaxy goalkeeper on 112’ but the teams just would not be separated.
Following four successful NYCFC penalty kicks, Peñaranda made the crucial save, giving Sands the chance to win it, which he took with both hands to spark wild scenes of celebration.
This victory gives the Academy the second piece of silverware lifted in as many years, following the Generation adidas Cup win in Frisco last year, with a squad comprised of many of the heroes of this latest title.
We’ll be celebrating the team’s achievements at Yankee Stadium on Saturday evening when Columbus Crew SC come to town… more details to follow in the coming days.
Congratulations to the staff and the players on this incredible achievement from everyone at New York City Football Club.