Germantown, Md. (July 24, 2012) – As the D.C. United Women W-League squad captured the Eastern Conference title over the weekend, the Black-and-Red’s U20s team made history of its own, advancing all the way to the Super-20 League North American Finals championship and would end up as the league’s runner-up.
The United Women U20s qualified for the North American Finals with a 7-0 win over TSF Academy on the last weekend of the regular season to finish third in their group but nine points ahead of the second place team in Group A, then continued their dominance by winning three games in a span of three days at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. at the Super-20 League Finals. D.C. went unbeaten in the group stage of the tournament, taking down the Ottawa Fury 3-2 in the tournament-opener on July 19 on goals from Jessica Van Dyke, Monica Mendes and eventual tournament Golden Boot winner Stephanie Hamilton (10 pts on 4 goals and 2 assists). Lindsey Lane had two assists and goalkeeper Erin Cummings contributed one.
Mendes, who has been a clutch player throughout her career with the Portuguese U19 National Team, scored the game-winning goal in the final moments of the match to give her team the win and some important momentum heading into the rest of the weekend.
“It was an important goal,” Mendes told uslsoccer.com after the match. “I’m very happy for me and my team… We’re a strong team, a good team. I’m very happy we came away with the win.”
D.C. won another one-goal game on Friday, defeating FASA 2-1 thanks to goals from Jenna Shaddock and Van Dyke, the team’s leading-scorer. Hamilton and Kristen Whitehurst provided the assists as the team clinched the top spot in their group and a place in Sunday’s championship game. However, despite already having clinched the best record in their group, the United Women U20s trounced TSF Academy 5-1 in their last group match on Saturday led by a hat trick along with an assist from Hamilton, and goals from Lane and Bridgette Pouliot. Shaddock contributed two assists, and Louisa Pitney and Isabellel Byers each added one.
Goals would be much harder to come by on Sunday when the United Women U20s met fellow MLS namesake Colorado Rapids Women in the title match, which Colorado would prevail in a tight 1-0 contest. Anna Evans scored the lone goal of the match in the 26th minute on an assist from the tournament’s MVP Karisa Price, and from there, United Women would spend the rest of the match frantically trying to tie the game but ultimately would come up short. Mendes grazed the top of the net with a well-taken free kick early in the second half and Lane nearly capitalized on some opportune scoring chances of her own, but the Rapids’ defense held strong and became the story of the match.
Despite coming up just short of becoming North American champions, the D.C. United Women Reserves have established a culture of winning that the entire organization seeks to benefit from. With elite prospects like Van Dyke, Lane, Mendes, Hamilton and others, the team expects to continue to win games while still serving as a feeder to the W-League program.