Austin FC Academy continued its successful start to the 2020-21 MLS Next season this past Sunday, with all three of its teams showing growth in their victories over Dynamo Unidos teams.
The U15 team won its match 3-1, the U14 squad fought to a 2-1 win, and the U13s blanked its Unidos counterparts 4-0. Academy General Manager Tyson Wahl noted, all three Academy teams scored within the first 10 minutes of their respective matches.
“They came out really energized,” Wahl said of the U15s. “We set the tone early, and we finished our chances early as well. I thought our ball circulation was really good, and we were able to find wide areas well.” Finishing was a focus for the U15s leading up this match, and Wahl was pleased to note that the players responded by converting a higher percentage of its chances than in its prior week’s win over the Houston Dynamo Academy team.
The U14s met with a Unidos team that Wahl noted “had a lot of athletic, strong, quick players who challenged us. They had athletic, fast forwards who counter-attacked well and challenged our backline.” Wahl also noted the match presented a learning opportunity for the team, as the early lead led the squad to “let its foot off the gas a bit.”
“It was almost like we thought the game was over already,” Wahl recalled. “There are lessons there in respecting your opponent, playing for the entire game, and staying energized and organized for the entire game.” As the final scoreline indicated, though, the U14s were able to reestablish focus and secure the victory.
The U13s’ resounding victory was helped by its quick start, and Wahl was especially pleased with the team’s ability to build out of the back consistently throughout the match. “It's something that will always work on,” Wahl noted, emphasizing its importance in a possession-oriented philosophy that all three Academy teams share. “It can be very challenging, but it's a really key aspect of our academy and our identity.”
Wahl also noted that the chemistry for the U13 squad is particularly strong, which contributed to the win. The chemistry for all three squads is growing with the road trips the teams are making. “I think the travel has been positive,” he noted, adding that a lot of interaction and team building is coming from the past two weeks of bus rides to Houston and back.
The original plan for this weekend was for the Academy teams to head to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to face Solar SC, one of two of the region's MLS Next teams (alongside FC Dallas). Those matches have now been postponed to a future, to-be-determined date.