CARSON, Calif. – With a dramatic penalty shootout win over the Portland Timbers in the final day of qualifying Monday, Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-15/16 qualified for the international “GA” bracket of the 2015 Generation adidas Cup.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-15/16 0 (3)-(4) 0 LA Galaxy
After a 2-0 loss against LA in their last game, RSL-AZ U-15/16 was forced to regroup quickly in a rematch against the Galaxy only five days later.
In a knockdown, drag out affair that was arguably the 16’s best of the season, the Claret-and-Cobalt shut down the Galaxy attack over 80 minutes, not allowing a single dangerous scoring opportunity in the game.
RSL-AZ created three or four scoring chances of their own in the game but failed to capitalize, leaving the result to a penalty shootout per Generation adidas Cup rules.
McKay Eves, Kris Fourcand and Josh Drack all converted their penalties but misses from Miles Stray and Juan Mora gave the Galaxy the vital extra point in the qualifying table.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-15/16 2-1 Seattle Sounders FC
Needing a win to control their own destiny before the final game of qualifying, the 16s stepped up against Northwest Division power Seattle Sounders FC in their second game of the weekend.
RSL-AZ U-15/16 broke open the scoring in the first half when Glademir “Pichu” Mendoza crossed in from the touchline and found Aristotle Zarris who finished for the 1-0 lead.
The Claret-and-Cobalt doubled their lead on a beautiful piece of possession, slowly building up the play from the back and eventually scoring when Zarris laid off the ball to Efren “Junior” Estrada for an open shot and goal.
Seattle would grab a goal back just before the final whistle on a corner kick, but they wouldn’t have enough time to change the result as RSL-AZ walked away with the 2-1 victory.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-15/16 0 (5)-(4) 0 Portland Timbers
Needing a win on penalty kicks or a win outright to qualify for the “GA” bracket of the Generation adidas Cup, RSL-AZ U-15/16 battled in a tough, physical game against the Timbers with everything on the line.
With both teams competing for one qualifying spot the game played out in tight fashion, with neither team seeing more than one or two decent chances at goal in the 80 minutes of play.
With the game in penalties and their spot in the international bracket on the line, two saves from David Preys and makes from McKay Eves, Kris Fourcand, Josh Drack, Erik “Gallo” Virgen and Juan Mora sealed qualification for the Claret-and-Cobalt.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-15/16 now continue on with the U.S. Soccer Development Academy season as they begin to gear up for the finals of the Generation adidas Cup, taking place in Dallas from March 29 – April 5.