OAK PARK, Calif. – A pair of emphatic wins over Southwest Division foes Arsenal FC and Real So Cal catapulted Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17/18 back to the number one spot in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy standings, once again cementing the Claret-and-Cobalt 18s as the best team in the United States.
Meanwhile, a stoppage time goal off the head of a diving Miles Stray stole the win on the road against Arsenal FC for RSL-AZ U-15/16, while a loss to Real So Cal keeps the 16s in treacherous position, barely hanging on to the last playoff spot with five games left to play.
Arsenal FC 1-6 Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17/18
Damian German led the way early for RSL-AZ U-17/18 against Arsenal, opening the scoring in the sixth minute and doubling the lead from the penalty spot after Paul Bin drew a foul in the box.
Diego “Diablo” Silva added his name to the score sheet just after the half hour mark, dribbling past a pair of defenders and nutmegging the keeper with his shot to extend the lead to three. Amar Sejdic clinically finished a fourth goal just before the half time break.
Looking motivated after the half time break, Arsenal’s Arturo Garcia struck early in the second half to bring the score to 4-1, but RSL-AZ weren’t ready to let the home side back in the game. Jose Hernandez jumped on a rebounded shot from Silva in the 54th minute, finishing low to extend the lead back to four.
“Diablo” made up for his saved effort less than ten minutes later, rounding the Arsenal keeper for an easy finish and the 6-1 lead. Arsenal’s Josh Goodman showed his frustration in stoppage time, earning a red card moments before the final whistle.
Arsenal FC 0-1 Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-15/16
After an opening 40 minutes with limited chances for both teams, Josh Drack nearly gave RSL-AZ U-15/16 the lead in first half stoppage time, hitting a free kick that deflected off the wall, forcing a huge save from Arsenal’s Christopher Gomez.
Drack nearly struck again in the 60th minute, hitting a shot from just outside the box that deflected a second time, sending the shot in the opposite direction of the keeper but just wide of the post.
In the 68th minute, RSL-AZ had their best chance of the game on a handball in the Arsenal box that resulted in a penalty. Aristotle Zarris stepped up to the spot but Gomez was able to keep the shot out.
In the first minute of stoppage time, Josh Drack stood over a free kick just in front of the corner flag. Drack curled the ball to the far post onto the head of a diving Miles Stray for the dramatic stoppage time winner and three huge points on the road.
Real So Cal 0-4 Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-17/18
RSL-AZ U-17/18 got the scoring started even more quickly on Sunday than they did on Saturday. On a fourth minute corner kick, Amar Sejdic found Alex Knox at the far post for a headed goal. Three minutes later, Sejdic played Jose Hernandez through for a beautiful shot that squeezed inside the far post to double the lead.
In the 43rd minute, “Diablo” Silva crossed in low to Paul Bin for a tap in goal to extend the lead to three. In stoppage time, Silva notched a goal of his own, beating several men on the dribble and shooting low to finish off the game before half time with a score of 4-0.
Real So Cal 2-0 Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy U-15/16
After a rocky opening 15 minutes that saw David Preys make a number of athletic saves to keep Real So Cal out of the back of the net, RSL-AZ U-15/16 took over the game for the last 20 minutes of the first half.
The best chance of the half came in the 36th minute when Robby Orona connected with Nikolai Shumov, who set up Josh Drack for a shot that was blocked away at the last moment to preserve the draw at half time.
Real So Cal re-took control of the game in the second half when Jake Kemhadjian scored on a hard volley for the 1-0 lead. With one minute left to play, Derek Waldeck put the game away with an absolutely smashed free kick goal and the 2-0 final.
Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy begin their last home stand of the season on Saturday, May 9 when they welcome Santa Cruz Breakers Academy to Grande Sports World at 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Field 7.