En Route: Dallas Cup XXXII Champions

Tigres youth teams end prestigious tournament with two titles. California clubs grab the two youngest age divisions.
On Sunday, Dallas Cup XXXII officially came to an end with a warning signal, but no final whistle. The competition is regarded as one of the best youth tournaments in North America and this year, historic youth academies from all over the world including FC Barcelona, Arsenal FC, and SC Corinthians took part. None of the big name clubs were left standing at the end of the weeklong tournament though, as Barcelona and Corinthians ducked out in group play and Arsenal was shown the door in the semifinal.

Tigres and Eintracht Frankfurt were the two left standing and sharing after the dust had settled in the acclaimed Gordon Jago Super Group. Weather forced the last game of the tournament to be cut short and co-champions declared in the top-flight bracket. However, the rest of the finals went off without a hitch.

Here is a recap of the seven champions from the 32nd installment of the historic Texas youth tournament.

Gordon Jago Super Group – Co-Champions: Eintracht Frankfurt and Tigres
With 24 minutes remaining on the clock, tournament directors suspended play during the Super Group final due to a tornado and lightning warning in the Frisco area. An hour later, the weather did not improve and the tournament directors decided to end the night with co-champions for the first time in Super Group history.

Seconds before the referee blew the whistle for the weather delay, Eintract Frankfurt had converted a penalty kick to level the score at one. Kevin Effiong was tripped up in the box by a clumsy tackle from a Tigres defender, which resulted in the referee pointing to the spot. Dustin Ernst stepped up and pushed the shot inside the right post for the only goal of the night from the German side.

Tigres also benefitted from some immaculate timing during the game when the Mexican club scored seconds before the halftime whistle. Jose Campoy sent in a beautiful cross to the far post in the final minute of the first half that U.S. youth international Moises Orozco headed into the back of the net.

The two clubs were forced to share the spoils on the night, but both are regular fixtures at the event and will likely meet in the near future at Pizza Hut Park to settle the grudge match.

U-19 – Champion: Knowsley Youth
The Liverpool based youth team was the only English side to play in a championship game this year. Knowsley represented England well in the title game with a 4-2 victory over the Ajax Gunners from Canada. This title has been a long time coming for Knowsley, as the English club sent at least one team to the event for the last 21 years with no hardware to show for its efforts.

That changed on Sunday, but it was on Wednesday that the club’s fortunes seemingly shifted. Behind on goal differential [and points] entering the final day of group play, Knowsley needed a three-goal victory over the group leader to qualify for the next round. After 30 minutes, Knowsley had a 5-2 lead and held on to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals. The club did not let the riches go to waste as it won the next three games in triumphant fashion with 14 goals scored en route to their medal awarding performance.

U-17 – Champion: Tigres    
In the U-17 final, Tigres squared off against Santa Clara Sporting ‘93, which is regarded as one of the most successful sides in Dallas Cup history with a record of 18-2-2 over the last four years. On the other hand, Tigres has been impressive at this event too; the club was on the losing end in the U-17 title game last year. On Sunday, it was the team from south of the border that emerged victorious. Goals from Isaac Martinez and Uvaldo Luna led the way for the Monterrey youth academy. Beyond the final, Tigres was impressive throughout the week with a possession-oriented attack that was not affected by the high winds at Pizza Hut Park.  

U-16 – Champion: Estudiantes Tecos
Tecos used a high-octane offense to grab the title at Pizza Hut Park for the U-16 age group. The squad from Guadalajara, Mexico scored 18 goals in six games, on the way to defeating fellow Mexican club CD Guadalajara Chivas, 3-2, in the final.

U-15 – Champion: FC Dallas Premier
The local MLS club’s pre-Academy team was the lone Texas based team to take a picture in front of the champions banner at Dallas Cup. FC Dallas Premier defeated another near-by club, Solar SC, 2-0 in the final.  

U-14 – Champion: Fullerton Rangers
The championship game on Saturday was the only time all week that the Fullerton Rangers were challenged. The Los Angeles area club defeated FC Dallas Premier in penalty kicks after a scoreless draw to grab the hardware over the local team. Rangers’ defense was dominant throughout the week, as they only conceded two goals in six games.

U-13 – Champion: Nomads Academy
Nomads U-13 team cruised to the title with a 5-2 victory over the Houstonians FC Red in the title game of the youngest age group. The squad from La Jolla, California won six games in seven days to claim the crown.

J.R. Eskilson is the Youth Soccer Editor at Goal.com. You can follow him on Twitter @NCAAsoccer

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