LAS VEGAS – In the final weekend of competitive play for Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite in 2014, the Elites played a combined eleven games in three days, with the 17s providing the highlight with an appearance in the Las Vegas Thanksgiving Classic final.
While RSL-AZ Elite U-16 and 18 struggled in their Desert Premier Division games, finishing with a combined record of one draw and five losses, the 17s advanced all the way to the Thanksgiving Classic final where they fell to California Rush by a score of 2-0.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-17 2-1 Santos SFC
In Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite’s first game of the weekend, defender Geoffrey Schuchardt opened the scoring on a great bit of solo skill, playing a ball to himself through two defenders and shooting around the keeper for a goal.
With fifteen minutes left to play, Duncan Storey doubled the Claret-and-Cobalt’s lead, poking a Diego Robles pass into the Santos goal for a 2-0 score.
Two minutes later, Santos grabbed a goal right back to keep themselves in the match, but RSL-AZ were able to hold on and secure the 2-1 win.
Sereno SC 0-0 Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-18
In a physical, tightly contested game, RSL-AZ Elite U-18 managed a scoreless draw against Sereno SC. Both teams battled defensively and shut down the opposition’s attack in this battle between two of Arizona’s top clubs.
Colorado Storm 1-0 Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-16
After a scoreless first half in this chilly late-night game, the Storm scored the lone goal of the match in the 43rd minute, jumping on a poorly cleared ball on the perimeter of the 18-yard box and slamming the goal home for the 1-0 win.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-17 2-1 La Roca FC
In the second game of RSL-AZ Elite U-17’s Friday doubleheader, a pair of goals from Mikey Lanzetta and Geoffrey Schuchardt proved to be the winning margin in the 2-1 victory over Utah powerhouse La Roca, putting the Claret-and-Cobalt firmly in first place in their group.
Fallbrook Villa FC 1-1 Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-17
With two wins in their first two group stage games, the Claret-and-Cobalt could guarantee themselves a place in the semifinals with at least a draw against Fallbrook Villa FC. A free kick goal from Cedrick Saint-Joy provided the needed tally in an eventual 1-1 draw to power the 17s through to the tournament semifinal against Las Vegas Gunners.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-16 1-2 SC del Sol
After Friday night’s disappointing loss, RSL-AZ Elite U-16 attempted to rebound against in-state rivals SC del Sol. Despite a Moises Durazo goal assisted by Bpen Kareth, del Sol were able to net two goals of their own and secure the valuable three points in the Desert Premier Division table.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-18 1-3 Las Vegas Neon Academy
Dealing with a shortage of players due to injuries and red cards, a shorthanded RSL-AZ Elite U-18 team lost 1-3 against Las Vegas Neon Academy, with their only goal coming from Judah Rashirai, thanks to an assist from Darian Huerta.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-17 1 (3) – (2) 1 Las Vegas Gunners
In the Las Vegas Thanksgiving Classic semifinal, a goal from Mathias Baboun was enough to keep the Claret-and-Cobalt level with their opponents after 60 minutes, taking the game straight to a penalty shootout.
Geoffrey Schuchardt, Mathias Baboun and Duncan Storey all scored in the shootout for RSL-AZ while two Jason Hernandez saves and a miss from the Gunners put the 17s through to the tournament final.
Scottsdale Blackhawks 6-0 Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-16
In RSL-AZ Elite U-16’s final game in Vegas, Arizona rival Scottsdale Blackhawks dominated from the opening whistle, posting a 6-0 win over a frustrated Real Salt Lake team that was unable to earn a single point over the weekend’s three games.
Valparaiso United FC 4-2 Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-18
Still unable to field a full team, the 18 Elites were forced to endure a 4-2 loss in their final game of the weekend. Andre Pfeifferling provided the highlight of the game, netting his first Elite goal from a Darian Huerta assist, while Judah Rashirai added a goal of his own, assisted by Nicolas Perez.
California Rush 2-0 Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-17
RSL-AZ Elite U-17 faced an uphill battle in the tournament final, with goalkeeper Jason Hernandez injuring his toe in the semifinal win and having to hobble around the 18-yard box over the course of the match.
California Rush took advantage, and despite a gutsy effort from RSL-AZ, the Rush were able to take the tournament championship and send the Claret-and-Cobalt 17s home disappointed after a long weekend of five games in three days.
After finishing up school, the Elites will head home for a well-deserved winter break with their families before returning to Grande Sports World in 2015 and continuing to get better every day.