The U.S. Soccer Development Academy League is a partnership between U.S. Soccer and the top youth clubs around the country to provide the best youth players in the U.S. with an every day environment designed to produce the next generation of National Team players. The IMG Academy soccer program U-18 boys' team finished 3rd in the nation in 2009.
IMG 2, Birmingham 1
After losing team captain Reinaldo Brenes in the 2nd minute of play to a mouth injury, the armband was passed the attacking midfielder Martin Ontiveros who led the team to a 2-1 victory over Conference rival, Birmingham United.
A strong display of ball possession gave IMG the early advantage as Jorge Risquez and Chris Kurutz quickly distributed the ball across the pitch mounting numerous attacks from the outside players. As Jon Eckford and Jair Buggs were constantly moving up and down the wings, it opened up the center of the park for the fist goal of the match. A well played ball into the box by Kurutz disrupted the Birmingham goalkeeper and Trevor Lamb took full advantage of the opportunity to get the go ahead goal in the 13th minute. Confident in their early lead, IMG got caught off guard as ball from a direct kick sat on top of their own eighteen and was quickly shot on target past IMG goalkeeper Alfredo Malaret for the tying goal of the match. Determined to regain the lead, IMG regrouped back into their original form with corner kick after corner kick, one was bound to create a quality chance, and it did. A well stuck out swinging ball by Ontiveros connected with Jorge Risquez as he battled two Birmingham defenders to head the ball into the back of the net for the go ahead goal as the half ended 2-1, IMG.
With a dangerous lead, the second half began with both teams determined not to leave this game 2-1. IMG substitutes, Milan Falyulu, Devon Usher and Raymon Sturrup kept the attack going for the remainder of the match with numerous chances to increase the lead. As the final whistle blew, their efforts were well appreciated but the scorecard would not show it. A quality win for the team improves their record to 3-1 in the Southeast Conference and move into third place.
IMG 2, Birmingham 2
Coming into this weekends game, we felt good about our chances to get the victory over Birmingham United. It was Birmingham's 2nd match of the weekend and we had only the 1 game at home. We set out to press them for the 1st 20 minutes and which seemed to be a benefit for us because we had the most of the play. Finally, at the 28th min. after a very good passing sequence in the build up, Cam Baskett scored a great goal from the top of the box for the 1-0 lead. For the most part, we maintained most of the possession but we were lucky to get to the end of the 1st half 1-0 up because Birmingham created many counter attacks and caught our defense flat footed. It was a lack of finishing by Birmingham that helped us where it should have been 3-1 for Birmingham at half if we were to be honest.
The 2nd half started well for us as we came out strong and seemed to have very good chances at their goal with Mike Allizzo causing problems for their defense with his speed. It paid off for us when Mike was taken down in the box in the 58th minute and Cam Baskett put us ahead again converting the pk. We looked like we were going to cruise to the victory but we were not sharp defensively and were punished for it when Birmingham scored 2 goals in transition to defense and both times there were players unmarked in the box and easily converted their chances and came away with the tie. Although we didn't lose the match I felt that us not being able to close out the game, this could be a game that could come back to haunt us at the end of the season.