HARRISON, N.J. (Sunday, March 15) – The New York Red Bulls Under-16 squad has learned its opponents for the 2014-15 U-17 Generations adidas Cup (GA Cup) finals, which will be held later this month in Frisco, Texas. The tournament will run from Sunday, March 29 to Saturday, April 4 at FC Dallas’ Toyota Stadium.
The Red bulls, along with 17 other teams that qualified throughout the Fall, were split into three regions of six teams. The top 2 teams of each regional group qualified for the Champions Division at GA Cup and the remaining teams will compete in the Premier Division. The Red Bulls will participate in Group A of the Premier Division.
“The Generation adidas Cup, now in its eighth year, continues to provide MLS Academy clubs the chance to compete alongside some of the best North American and international players and youth teams in a world class tournament,” said MLS Technical Director of Player Programs Alfonso Mondelo in a press release. “The growth of the MLS Academy system has been unbridled and this tournament remains a great opportunity to evaluate and develop our young talent at a world class level.”
The Red Bulls squad will feature several top players, including striker Brian Saramago, who leads the team in scoring with 14 goals so far in the USDA season. Saramango scored twice during tournament qualifying.
Omir Fernandez provides another strong attacking option for the Red Bulls side. Fernandez has contributed 10 goals so far in the USDA season, and also scored in an earlier Generation adidas game.
Center back Mason Deeds captains the team and anchors a defense that allowed just 17 goals through 14 games of the USDA season.
Through 14 games of the USDA schedule, the Red Bulls U-16 team sits atop the Atlantic Division with a 12-0-2 record. They outscored opponents 44-12 in the first half of the season, and sit atop the most recent TopDrawerSoccer.com national team rankings.
“The Generation Adidas U-17 event is a great event for our Academy team,” said Red Bulls Academy Director Bob Montgomery. “The opportunity for players and coaches to play meaningful competitive matches for the week and to test ourselves against top MLS and International completion is one of the highlights of the year. This Event has grown in quality each year and the recent inclusion of top International competition is exciting for everyone.”
In order for a team to advance out of the Group Stage and into the Semifinals they must win the group so every point is vital. Joining the Red Bulls in Group A are Houston Dynamo, Sport Club de Recife (Brazil) and Seattle Sounders FC. Other Academy teams in the Premier Division include Chicago Fire, Orlando City SC, LA Galaxy, Chivas USA, D.C. United, Columbus Crew SC, Portland Timbers, Colorado Rapids, New England Revolution, Tigres UANL (Mexico), Sagan Tosu (Japan) and Club Deportivo Independiente Medellin (Colombia).
All clubs will play five matches over the course of the competition and each match will consists two 35 minute halves. Three points will be awarded for a win, one point will be awarded for a draw and a FIFA-style shootout from the penalty mark will be held to determine a winner. One additional point will be awarded to the team who wins the shootout. Each team will be allowed five substitutions per game; re-entry will not be permitted.