Casa Grande, AZ (Saturday, February 23rd, 2013) – After suffering just their third loss on the season in previous weekend’s play, Real Salt Lake Arizona U16 returned back to form and defeated Cal Odyssey, 2-1, with both goals coming in the second half.
With the victory, RSL improves to 12-3-3 and remains the leader of the Southwest Division with a two point lead.
“This comeback victory was big time,” said assistant coach Tony Bruce. “We go on the road now and it was important that we re-establish our identity. We did that today against a team that made that difficult for you to play against. They sat back and worked to counter every ball.”
After looking flat in the previous weekend’s play, RSL wasted no time in creating chances. However the rust was still there as they couldn’t finish any. The first came in the 4th minute when former Odyssey player Dillion Nino sent in a piercing header that was blocked by opposing GK. Fito Ovalle then had two chances on goal but both hits shots went wide. Bofo Saucedo kicked a free kick into the opponents wall and Brooks Lennon broke through the Odyssey defense but his final touch was too hard as they ball went out for a goal kick.
Going into the half the message from the coaches was simple.
“We just reiterated that we do what we do,” Bruce said. “Play to our strengths which is passing the ball, begin patient and waiting for our opportunities.”
RSL’s attack changed instantly at the start of the second half when Saucedo and Ovalle attacked on the right-wing. After a nice buildup between the players, Saucedo crossed the ball into the box to an unmarked Damian German who beat the GK left for his 7th goal on the season.
Odyssey equalized seconds later when they attacked hard after the restart. A ball played into the box was initially touched by RSL GK Chase Bishov. He lost control of the ball and then RSL failed to clear twice. A Odyssey player picked up the loose ball and scored.
RSL took back the lead in the 62nd minute when Brooks Lennon cut in on the left-wing. He fired a screamer across the face of goal giving RSL a 2-1 lead.
“That goal was really important because that was the goal that set the tone of the game,” Nino said. “It showed that we were going to get the victory.”
Odyssey sent players forward lake but their efforts were deterred by a resilient RSL defense.
“It is so important to bounce back like this,” Lennon said. “We were down a little and we continued to fight back.”