PHOENIX – Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-17’s run in the Tuzos Soccer Challenge got off to a positive start on Friday evening, as second half goals from Cedrick Saint-Joy and Alex Vedamanikam helped overcome a 1-0 halftime deficit against Phoenix Premier FC.
“We started a little rough,” said Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. “But we got it together and we got the result that we wanted.”
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-17 2-1 Phoenix Premier FC
In their first official match of the season, it came as no surprise that RSL-AZ Elite U-17 started out slow. In the 8th minute, it took a fantastic diving save from Jared Osgood on a free kick from 25 yards out to maintain the scoreless game.
In stoppage time of the 30-minute first half, Phoenix won a free kick from 20 yards out. Osgood charged out to win the ball, but the play was whistled dead and restarted because of a push in the box. On Phoenix’s second attempt, the ball squeezed under a diving Osgood and into the net for a goal as the referee whistled the half to an end.
RSL-AZ proved their resolve in the second half, as in the 38th minute Alex Vedmanikam found “Chuy” on the wing, who crossed the ball into Cedrick Saint-Joy for the equalizing goal.
“That was like a wakeup call,” said Garcia. “As soon as Alex came in, he did what he had to do, that’s when everybody started waking up and we got a second one in, too.”
In the 54th minute, Vedamanikam ran onto a penetrating pass from Isaias German and shot with the inside of his foot off the inside of the post and in for the late go-ahead goal.
Phoenix Premier FC made a late attacking charge, culminating in another stoppage time free kick from outside the RSL-AZ box, but the Claret-and-Cobalt hung on to take the 2-1 win in their opening match of the Tuzos Soccer Challenge.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-17 take the field for their second game of the Tuzos tournament on Saturday, September 6 at 11:45 a.m. on Fear Farm Sports Complex Field 9. There will be a total of five games played between RSL-AZ Elite U-16, 17 and 18 on Saturday, beginning with RSL-AZ Elite U-18 kicking off against CCV Stars at 9:15 a.m. on Fear Farm Sports Complex Field 14.
Stay tuned to GrandeSports.com for updates following days two and three of the Tuzos Soccer Challenge, and follow Grande Sports Academy on Twitter @GrandeSportsA for live match updates throughout the weekend.