CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Both teams left unsatisfied in a pair of 1-1 draws on Saturday between the last two U.S. Soccer Development Academy U-15/16 National Champions, Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy and the LA Galaxy.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17/18 1-1 LA Galaxy
Emotions were running high in a matchup featuring many of the players from last season’s USSDA U-15/16 National Championship game, a 2-0 win for the Galaxy.
In the 16th minute, the Galaxy looked poised to do the double over the Claret-and-Cobalt when a set piece bounced out to a waiting, unmarked player who fired past Christian Herrera at the near post to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
RSL-AZ struck back only ten minutes later on a great connection play when Jose Hernandez charged down the right wing and launched a perfect cross into Edgar Duran who finished with one touch to level up the game before half time.
The second half continued with more of the same emotion and physical play, but this time RSL-AZ began to take control of the game. Despite creating every significant scoring opportunity of the second half, RSL-AZ couldn’t find the back of the net a second time in the 1-1 draw.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-15/16 1-1 LA Galaxy
In the second half of the RSL/LAG doubleheader, the Galaxy once again leapt out to an early lead, getting on the board in the 6th minute on a beautifully placed curling shot at the far post.
Chances were hard to come by for both sides over the course of the first half, with the best chance for RSL-AZ coming moments before the break, with Robby Orona’s bending shot hitting the crossbar and bouncing out of play.
Twenty minutes into the second half, RSL-AZ earned a penalty from a hand ball in the Galaxy box. Erik “Gallo” Virgen stepped up to the spot and slotted low to the keeper’s left for the equalizer.
Despite several chances for the Galaxy over the remainder of the game, the RSL-AZ back line was able to hold on and salvage a home draw against the reigning national champions.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy concludes its October home stand on Saturday, October 26 against Nomads SC. RSL-AZ U-17/18 vs. Nomads SC kicks off at 10:00 a.m. followed by RSL-AZ U-15/16 against Nomads at 12:30 p.m. on Grande Sports World Field 3.