The RSL-AZ U16 team looked to ride the momentum of the U18 team who had just made a fantastic comeback and beat the Crossfire 3-2 in the final minute.
The 16’s came out and in similar fashion and looked to dominate and impose their possession style of soccer on the opposition. However this game was to turn out much different. Twenty minutes into kick off Santi Carrillo, the center back for RSL-AZ got caught on the wrong side of the ball and man and was forced to take out an attacker who was on a breakaway. He gave the referee no decision but to hand out a straight red card and now all of a sudden the RSL-AZ boys had to play a man down for the next 60 minutes. Santi could have no argument as it was clearly a red card.
After making the proper team adjustments the RSL-AZ boys were able to hold onto a scoreless tie going into halftime after some great defensive displays.
In the second half RSL-AZ actually enjoyed a lot of possession and created some early opportunities. The boys had to find ways to work even harder and make life on the opponent difficult by playing down a man. Their hard work paid off as a great counter attack from deep in their own half led to a Jose Coco Navarro through ball onto the big rushing center striker Ben Spencer. He slotted the ball past the Crossfire goalkeeper and deservedly so went up 1 nil. It’s 6 goals in 6 starts for Ben Spencer, a great goal scoring feat by the tall lanky striker.
The RSL-AZ boys remained compact and disciplined the remainder of the half and it looked like they were going to pull out a tough 1-0 win, however the referee was to have a hand in the outcome of this game. Just ten minutes from full time a clumsy tackle inside the box by RSL-AZ players and the referee awarded the penalty kick. It looked like a penalty kick from the sidelines but after further game tape review the call was questionable at best as the Crossfire player tripped over himself first and then tripped an RSL player. But what was done was done and the Crossfire player cooly stepped up and slotted home the game tying goal.
The match ended 1-1 and in the end it was a hard earned point on the road for the RSL-AZ 16’s. However it was a moment where they let 3 points slip away and maybe on another day where there was no red card perhaps they walk away with a win.