Toronto FC's Under-17 academy team are coming home a bit early from the Generation Adidas Cup having failed to advance to the semi-finals on goal difference alone. The team held their own in a tough group but came up a few goals short in their quest to reach the knockout stage. With only one MLS squad managing to reach the semi-final there is plenty for TFCA to be proud of in their week's work.
The team were up against fellow MLS academy side Sporting Kansas City as well as a pair of international teams in their group. They powerhouse of the group was River Plate from Argentina who came in to the event as one of the real favourites to win the whole thing and the group was rounded out by Aspire Academy who made the trip to Frisco, Texas from Qatar.
TFCA opened their event against a very strong River Plate side and held their own for much of the 70 minute match. The Argentine took a deserved lead but TFCA did have their chances to get back in the game. They did concede a second goal late on when pressing for the equalizer but even the 2-0 loss was a positive result against a team that showed great technical skills.
They followed that up with a win on the second day as they went out and beat Sporting Kansas City by that same 2-0 scoreline. TFCA did their work early in this game as they came out flying and really took the match to SKC. Goals from Reshon Phillip in the 6th minute and Malik Johnson in the 11th minute were enough to get the job done but the team will be wishing that they had managed to score a few more goals to help their overall goal difference.
On Wednesday, the team went in to the final game of group play with a good idea of what they needed to do to advance. With River Plate already having nine points in the bag the best TFCA could ask for was a second place finish in the group. That would mean their hopes of advances would come down to finishing as the best second place team. To do that they needed to run up the score against Aspire Academy to make up for their goal difference sitting at 0 coming in to the match.
TFCA wound up coming away with the win that they needed but will be unhappy that they could not put more pressure on Aspire and score more goals. The lone goal of the game came just before the hour mark when Cyrus Rollocks was first to pounce on a rebound of the crossbar following a long range effort from Gabriel Boakye.
The end result for TFCA was a strong showing with 2 wins and a 1 loss but that left them tied on points with Brazilian club Palmeiras. The Brazilian team wound up advancing to the semifinal stage though with their +4 goal difference as TFCA wound up with a +1.
The week is another example of how Toronto FC's academy teams tend to be among the strongest in their respective age groups across MLS. Only FC Dallas did better in the Champions bracket of this weeks event giving Stuart Neely and his team plenty to be proud of.
Despite missing out on a place in the semifinals the team will continue to play games while in Texas. Next up is a meeting with Mexico's Pumas. The Mexican side finished third in their group picking up just one win in three matches against FC Dallas, Real Salt Lake, and Spain's Athletic Bilbao.