The early game for the RSL-AZ Academy entourage was the finale of the Group Stage in the 2011 Dallas Cup Gordon Jago Super Group, saw RSL-AZ take on fellow MLS Academy member, Vancouver Whitecaps. Vancouver’s Academy teams will b e joining the US Soccer Development Academy system this fall, and this was the first matchup between the two teams. Unlike the previous games in the group stage, there were many long-sleeved shirts on the players… with air temps hovering around 60 degrees and no sunshine to warm things up.
In the 20th minute, Ricardo Velasco slotted home from 8 yards after a series of shots were blocked by various Vancouver defenders, giving RSL-AZ a 1-0 lead. Until that point, there had been few opportunities created by either team and teams had been defending tightly. After the goal, things began to open up, and the pace of the RSL-AZ exploiting the lumbering Vancouver denfenders. In the 30th minute, Mikey Orrellana was sprung on a 40 yard 1v1 with the Whitecaps GK, only to be denied by an excellent save from the Vancouver keeper. Five minutes later, Orrellana was set free again alone against the keeper, this time beating the net-minder only to see his shot smash against the far post and bounce clear. At the other end of the field Lalo Fernandez made one excellent save to help guide RSL-AZ to a 1-0 halftime lead.
The second half was similar to the first part of the first half, with neither team creating any real chances of note. Around the 60 minute mark, Mikey Orrellana was brought down in the box after some quick combination play by RSL-AZ and Ricardo Velasco converted the spot-kick for his second goal of the night. Play got a little chippy through the rest of the second half, with several yellow cards being handed out to both sides, but the result stood at 2-0 for RSL-AZ at the final whistle.
With the result, RSL-AZ finishes ahead of Vancouver in the Group C table at the Super Group. Corinthians and Tigres close out the group with their match at Pizza Hut Park tonight. In the unlikely event that Tigres beats Corinthians by 7 or more goals, RSL-AZ would finish ahead of Corinthians as well.
The RSL-AZ U16s faced Cedarbridge Academy of Bermuda in the final match of Group F in the Under-16 Division. Cedarbridge came into the game with some tough results behind them, a 7-1 and 5-2 pair of losses to Solar SC Red and FC Correcaminos in their prior group games.
RSL-AZ opened the game with the lion’s share of possession and eventually broke through midway through the first half when Danny Gavin nodded home a corner kick uncontested. While RSL-AZ spent much of the remainder of the half pressuring Cedarbridge, the score line stood at 1-0 at the break.
In the second half, RSL-AZ was rewarded for their dominance of the match with a 50th minute goal bu midfielder Josh Goss. Goss’s first shot was blocked by a defender, but he neatly finished his second attempt into the far side-netting.
The possession dominance continued and Ben Spencer was rewarded for some creative play in the box with his first goal of the tournament to make the game 3-0 for RSL-AZ.
With the 3-0 win, RSL-AZ tops the group and looks forward to a Quarterfinal matchup with PTSC Timber Wolves of Winnipeg, Canada. That match will take place on Pizza Hut Park Field #14 at 1:30pm CT on Friday, April 22 and the winner will advance to Saturday’s semifinal.
The entire squad is looking forward to tonight’s CONCACAF Champions League Final on FSC. Come on claret-and-cobalt!