DALLAS – Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17/18 and Elite U-18 entered the 36th Dallas Cup with trophies on their minds but a group stage exit for both teams marked a disappointing performance and a hopeful wakeup call as the end of the season approaches.
Coritiba FC 3-1 Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17/18
In a tale of two halves, it was Coritiba who captured all three points with a three-goal first half that was impossible for RSL-AZ U-17/18 to overcome. The Brazilians started off the scoring in the 20th minute on a penalty kick, earning the chance on an inadvertent handball from Adolfo “Fito” Ovalle.
Nine minutes later, a perfectly lofted over the top through ball found its way to a Coritiba attacker in behind the RSL back line, creating a one-on-one chance that doubled Coritiba’s lead. The Brazilians increased their lead to 3-0 on a corner kick just before half time, firing a rebounded ball just below the crossbar and in.
The Claret-and-Cobalt scored their lone tally of the game in the 70th minute when Jose Hernandez pounced on a giveaway from the Coritiba keeper, tapping into an open net to give RSL a consolation goal in the eventual 3-1 loss.
Knowsley Youth 2-0 Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-18
Two hours later at Richland College, RSL-AZ Elite U-18 took the field against English side Knowsley Youth with the wind whipping toward the Claret-and-Cobalt goal for the entirety of the first half.
The Brits took advantage of that wind early, pouncing on a clearance that the wind pushed back in the 4th minute and rocketing a shot in off the crossbar for a huge wind-assisted goal. 20 minutes later, Knowsley jumped on a rebounded shot to double their lead with the wind still in their favor.
Unfortunately for RSL-AZ the wind died down during the half time break, taking the Elite’s potential advantage away for the final 45 minutes and aiding Knowsley in securing their 2-0 win.
Chiapas FC 6-2 Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-18
RSL-AZ Elite U-18 were back at it the next morning against Mexico’s Chiapas FC and they started out strong. After a Chiapas red card in the 17th minute, RSL were given a huge advantage and made the most of it, with Nicolas Perez assisting on a goal to Andres Lopez for a 1-0 lead to take into half time.
Chiapas came out in the second half looking like a different team, scoring three goals in the first eight minutes despite being a man down. Mikey Lanzetta scored on the counter after a Jason Hernandez penalty kick save to bring the game back within one but Chiapas were relentless, eventually taking the game by a score of 6-2.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17/18 4-2 Valencia CF
Needing a win to keep their chances of a place in the Super Group semifinals alive, RSL-AZ U-17/18 showed what they were capable of against Spanish powerhouse Valencia CF. In the 15th minute, Edgar Duran played the ball to Amar Sejdic for a shot placed perfectly into the corner of goal for the 1-0 lead.
Three minutes later, Duran provided the assist to Jose Hernandez for a quick second goal to double the lead. After Damian German was fouled outside the box in the 23rd minute, Brooks Lennon fired his free kick into the wall before volleying the rebound home to bring the score to 3-0 in favor of RSL.
Valencia scored a goal to answer back after RSL-AZ’s opening flurry but it was Sejdic who made the last big play of the half, curling in a free kick to German in the box for a fourth goal to bring the lead back to three before half time, helping secure the eventual 4-2 win.
TSF Academy 0-3 Real Salt Lake-Arizona Elite U-18
Already eliminated from the possibility of advancement, RSL-AZ Elite U-18 were playing for pride in their final group stage game against one of New Jersey’s best in TSF Academy. After a scoreless first half, Mario Trejo opened the scoring in the 49th minute, touching the ball around the keeper and tapping into the wide open net.
Minutes later, Martin Lopez jumped on a bad pass in the TSF back line, firing past the keeper to quickly double the RSL-AZ lead. In the 85th minute, Anthony Negrete fired a shot from an extremely tight angle into the upper corner of goal at the near post to extend the lead to 3-0 and seal the win.
Tigres UANL 0-1 Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17/18
In need of a win and several goals scored to maximize their chances of advancing, RSL-AZ U-17/18 faced a tough test in their final game against Mexico’s Tigres UANL. Tigres, who had already been eliminated from the competition, played extremely defensive in an effort to bring RSL-AZ down with them.
Despite having a large share of possession and chances on goal, RSL-AZ couldn’t convert any of their opportunities and found themselves in a scoreless tie at the half time break. After another long half of unconverted chances, an Erik Holt long ball freed up Paul Bin on the right wing for a cross into Tate Schmitt for a late game-winning goal.
Despite winning six points from their three group games, Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17/18 were eliminated from the super group on a goal differential tiebreaker. RSL-AZ now head to Southern California for a pair of USSDA games against Pateadores and Strikers FC.