CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – A trio of first half goals from Aristotle Zarris, McKay Eves and Erik “Gallo” Virgen provided the difference Saturday for Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-15/16 in a 3-2 win for the Claret-and-Cobalt against U.S. Soccer Development Academy rookies FC Golden State at a rainy Grande Sports World.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17/18 7-0 FC Golden State
In the first of Saturday’s two USSDA games, the newly crowned number one team in the country, RSL-AZ U-17/18, took the field with their eyes set on extending their 14-game unbeaten streak.
It took less than a quarter of an hour for the red-hot 18s to open the scoring when Jose Hernandez easily fired a penalty kick past the Golden State keeper. In the 33rd minute, Edgar Duran scored to extend the lead to 2-0 and his goal tally for the season to twelve.
Tate Schmitt provided the moment of the match in the 49th minute, scoring to bring the lead to three and celebrating by sliding headfirst into a giant puddle off the field. Schmitt scored again just after the hour mark, tapping in a pass from the returning Damian German.
In the 73rd minute, Schmitt returned the favor to German, passing up on an open goal to give German the fifth goal of the game. Hernandez notched his second goal minutes later, dribbling through traffic and finishing into the top corner.
Danny Moreno finished off the scoring, following his shot to fire in a rebound in the driving rain to put the score at 7-0 for yet another dominant RSL-AZ U-17/18 win.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-15/16 3-2 FC Golden State
Still reeling from back-to-back losses at the hands of the San Jose Earthquakes and Real So Cal, RSL-AZ U-15/16 needed to overcome the driving rain in addition to their dipping form to salvage a .500 record in the month of January.
Aristotle Zarris took matters into his own hands in the 3rd minute, rocketing a shot into the back of the net for an early goal and the 1-0 lead. In the 11th minute, Erik “Gallo” Virgen curled a corner onto the head of McKay Eves for a quick second goal, giving the Claret-and-Cobalt a much-needed boost of confidence.
In the 39th minute, “Gallo” notched a volleyed goal to snatch a 3-0 lead just before the half time break, putting RSL-AZ U-15/16 in a strong position to capture all three points.
However, FC Golden State were not ready to give it up with 40 minutes to go, getting on the board when Marty Razygoza poked in a ball from near the goal line to bring the score back to two.
Golden State continued to fight their way into the game, winning a penalty kick for Jesus Hernandez who finished just past the outstretched arms of Jared Osgood in the 63rd minute.
Facing a tense final 15 minutes, the RSL-AZ defense was able to hold on without conceding another goal to capture all three points, giving the team a much-needed win and confidence boost ahead of a four-game February schedule that will be contested entirely on the road.
Next up for Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy is a trip to Southern California for a doubleheader against fellow MLS academies Chivas USA on February 7 and LA Galaxy on February 8.