Real Salt Lake – Arizona academy teams began their home stand for their final push to get into the US Soccer Development League Playoffs. The remaining games for Real Salt Lake- Arizona are all at home and it began with two San Diego teams in the demanding SoCal Division – San Diego Surf and Nomads SC.
Real Salt Lake – Arizona’s U16 academy team had a tight 1-0 win which snapped San Diego Surf’s 10 game unbeaten streak. Real Salt Lake – Arizona’s U18’s also came away with a victory beating the San Diego Surf 3-0 on Saturday, April 14th at Grande Sports World. Real Salt Lake – Arizona had to also play the Nomads from San Diego on Sunday, April 15th and came away with two more wins as the U16’s triumphed 3-0 and the U18’s had a convincing 4-1 victory.
Real Salt Lake – Arizona’s U18 team came out against a stubborn San Diego Surf outfit, that was determined to go home with at least a share of the points, but goals from Danny Gavin, Nick Semintendi and Ive Burnett locked up all three points for Real Salt Lake – Arizona. A nice combination between Semintendi and Jordan Allen was finished off by Gavin, with a curling shot from the top of the box that left the Surf goalie rooted to the spot.
Allen was again the architect as he delivered an inch-perfect ball to Semintendi, who made no mistake crashing the ball into the back of the net. The third goal of the match was even more impressive. After a buildup of ten passes, Burnett hit a drive from all of 30 yards and watched as it dropped just under the bar out of the goalkeeper’s reach. RSL-AZ U18 – 3 over San Diego Surf U18 – 0
In the second game of the day on Saturday, Real Salt Lake – Arizona’s U16’s came up against, arguably one of the best teams in the nation, the San Diego Surf U16 soccer academy. Jose Navarro was the difference in the game, as he snatched the winner, late in the second half.
The San Diego outfit threw everything they had at Real Salt Lake – Arizona trying to tie up the game but the Real Salt Lake – Arizona rearguard of Jon Stadler, Corey Nemeth, Isaias Juarez and Rodrigo Uriarte along with goalkeeper Cesar Cobos, held firm to get all three points. RSL-AZ U16 – 1 over San Diego Surf U16 – 0
Sunday brought a fresh challenge as Nomads SC rolled in from San Diego. Real Salt Lake – Arizona soccer academy had to play back to back games which are always tough. The first game started that way as Nomads had all 11 players behind the ball and were relying on their quick counter attack to produce their offense.
After about 40 minutes of sustained pressure, Real Salt Lake – Arizona finally broke through with the first goal of the match. NSCAA’s All America Maikon Orrellana worked and ran hard, which caused the Nomads problems all afternoon, to finally break behind the defense to open up the RSL-AZ scoring.
The second half saw Real Salt Lake – Arizona continue to turned up the heat on the Normads. Jordan Allen was the provider and Etiandro Tavares the goal scorer. After a nice build up, Allen produced the killer pass that Tavares tucked away for the two goal lead. The same combination ended up with the third goal within five minutes.
Real Salt Lake – Arizona constant forward press caught them on a counter as the Nomads pulled one back with a nice finish by Manuel Carrillo. Undeterred by the Nomad’s goal, Real Salt Lake – Arizona continued to push forward were rewarded as Dylan Kelly scored after a fine run that left him open inside the 18 yard box. RSL-AZ U18 – 4 over Normads SC U18 – 1
Real Salt Lake – Arizona U16’s started where they left off the day before, as they took the game to the visiting Nomad team. Bay Kurtz got the first score after Jose Navarro, Benji Lopez and Andrew Brody, who recently committed to the University of Louisville, had pulled the Nomad’s defense apart with their ball movement.
Next it was RSL-AZ forward Navarro’s turn to find the net. Again the Real Salt Lake – Arizona build up was pleasing to the eye. After about a 10 or 11 passing sequence the Real Salt Lake – Arizona forward made no mistake to putting his team in total command. Real Salt Lake – Arizona team closed out the scoring as Lucas Crawley who is originally from Utah, ended another precise build up to close out the game. RSL-AZ U16 – 3 over Normands U16 – 0.
Real Salt Lake – Arizona soccer academy teams next play LA Galaxy on back to back games Saturday April 28, and Sunday April 29 at Grande Sports World. The U18’s kick of at 10:00 am and U16’ss kickoff at 12:30 pm each day. The matches are open to the public and will be an exciting battle to watch. The legendary Francisco Grande Hotel and Golf Resort is sold out for Friday, April 27th and has rooms available for Saturday, April 28th and they are going fast. To make room reservations, call 800-237-4238 or visit www.franciscogrande.com.