CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17/18 and U-15/16 took to the fields at Grande Sports World for the first time this season in U.S. Soccer Development Academy action, with the 18s recording a dominant 5-0 win and the 16s falling on the wrong side of the result in a 2-3 loss against the San Diego Surf.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17/18 5-0 San Diego Surf
With much of last year’s RSL-AZ U-15/16 squad moved up to the U-17/18 team along with several returning players, the expectations are running high this year for the 18s.
In the 23rd minute, Damian German was brought down in the Surf box for a penalty. German stepped up to the spot and delivered it to the keeper’s right, opening the scoring for RSL-AZ.
Less than ten minutes later, Tate Schmitt played a give-and-go with Edgar Duran, receiving the ball from inside 10 yards and coolly slotting home to double the lead before half time.
Midway through the second half, Evan Waldrep distributed the ball to Paul Bin on the wing, who crossed the ball into German for the goal and a 3-0 lead. Three minutes later, Bin fired a powerful shot from 25 yards out that ricocheted off both posts, leaving a sitter for German to finish off his hat trick in the season opener.
RSL-AZ finished off the scoring in the 81st minute when Jose Hernandez played Paul Bin through on the left, who made up for his near-goal by slotting past the keeper to score his first goal as part of the Academy team.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-15/16 2-3 San Diego Surf
With an entirely new Starting XI, everyone in attendance at Grande Sports World on Saturday was interested to see how RSL-AZ U-15/16 would perform in their first official match together as a team.
The 16s showed a moment of brilliance in the opening ten minutes when an Erik “Gallo” Virgen corner bounced out to the top of the box. Aristotle Zarris headed it back in to Efren “Junior” Estrada, who chested the ball down, turned and fired to give RSL-AZ an early 1-0 lead.
Moments later, San Diego equalized on the counter, flying down the right wing and crossing in low to the far post where an unmarked player was able to easily finish. In the 33rd minute, the Surf scored on a near-identical attack, countering down the right wing, crossing in and scoring at the far post to take a 2-1 lead into half time.
In the second half, San Diego were able to double their lead on yet another counter attack, playing an attacker in behind the defense with a penetrating pass that gave the Surf a 3-1 lead.
In the final ten minutes of the match, substitute Kaleb Augat headed in the ball for a goal off a corner kick, trimming the San Diego lead back down to one. In the final moments of the match, several scoring opportunities from Zahir Vasquez and Aristotle Zarris nearly leveled the game, but the ball just couldn’t find its way into the back of the net.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy hit the road for their first trip of the season this weekend. RSL-AZ face Pateadores on Saturday, September 13 at Irvine Great Park Field 4, with the 18s kicking off at 10:00 a.m. and the 16s at 12:30 p.m. On Sunday, September 14 the teams face off against Strikers FC at Santa Ana College Field 1, with another set of 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. kickoffs for the 18s and 16s, respectively.