This weekend marked the second round of qualifying for the Generation Adidas Cup in Houston, as the Chicago Fire Academy's U-15 and U-17 teams took on the rest of the Central Region at Houston Sports Park.
Looking to move into one of the group's two qualifying positions, the U-17s began the weekend victorious, toppling Columbus Crew SC 2-1 on Friday. Captain Diego Mendoza gave the Fire the lead in the 24th minute, before Alex Monis provided the eventual game-winner just two minutes later. On Saturday, the U-17s were ultimately undone by FC Dallas' Johan Gomez, who scored a pair of goals in the opening 17 minutes that held up to give the Texas side a 2-0 victory.
But the side regrouped to then earn a 1-0 victory over the host Houston Dynamo thanks to a late winner by Andy Lomeli. The three points earned in the final game of the weekend left the Fire with an overall record of 2-1-0 on the weekend and 2-2-2 overall in qualifying, outside the top two qualifying positions for the Champions Division in the Central Region. They'll compete in the Premier Division when the GA Cup finals kick off in March.
The U-15s began the weekend with a bang, taking down Texas ODP by a score of 7-0 on Friday. The Fire went up 3-0 inside of 25 minutes, before forward Earnest Mensah bagged a hat trick with goals in the 29th, 41st, and 67th minutes. Second half sub Brian Gutierrez provided the final tally. Up against Toronto FC's U-15s on Saturday, a bit of late magic saw the Fire side through. With six minutes to play, midfielder Erik Kocs-Washburn finished a rebounded attempt from an Alex Gonzalez shot to put the Fire up 1-0, a lead they preserved in the end.
Day three was drama heavy, as the U-15s finished regulation 0-0 against Houston. Goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina made three save in penalty kicks, helping the side claim the PK win 3-1 and pick up a crucial two points in the process.
While Sunday marked the end of the GA Cup for the U-15 division, the Fire side finished in second place overall in the Central Region with a 3-1-2 record and level with first place finishers Colorado Rapids on 13 points (two points are awarded for wins in PKs). The Rapids had four wins outright, however, as opposed to the Fire's three. They'll next take part in the 2018 Dallas Cup in Dallas in March.