Despite a furious comeback, the Red Bulls U18s were unable to secure three points and advance in the Development Academy playoffs, tying the Chicago Fire, 2-2. The Fire advance to the knockout round after winning the group with seven points.
United States youth international Cameron Lindley scored for the Fire just before the end of the first half. The Red Bulls were handed a man advantage when the Fire were reduced to 10 men after one of their players received his second yellow. However, they doubled their lead in the 62nd minute after Lindley set up Oscar Gonzalez on a counter attack.
Needing a win to advance, the Red Bulls launched a comeback in the final ten minutes. Haitian youth international Derrick Etienne scored in the 82nd minute. The Red Bulls immediately gained possession following the ensuing kickoff and Christopher Flores played the ball in to Wesley Wade who tied the match at 2-2. Unfortunately the match finished in a tie despite a few more offensive opportunities, and Chicago advanced out of the group.
It was a bit of a disappointing tournament for the U18s who entered the playoffs with the fourth seed nationally. Despite winning their opener against BW Gottschee, 4-0, they dropped their second match to Sporting Kansas City, 1-0.
The U18s won the Atlantic Division and finished the 2014-2015 season with a 20-5-4 record with 102 goals for and only 34 against. Although they're probably disappointed not to advance further, the players had a great season and should be proud of what they've accomplished.
Unfortunately, this will be the last Academy match for many players on the squad. However, all of the departing players will be competing in college and some will be appearing with the Red Bull U23s (and possibly NYRB II or the senior squad) in the future; we'll keep you updated on both fronts as the players progress. Here's where they'll be attending college.
The 2015-2016 Development Academy season starts again in September.