Real Salt Lake Reserves played Phoenix FC to a scoreless draw on Saturday night in Tempe, Arizona. Five Real Salt Lake Academy players were called up for the match: Justen Glad, Brooks Lennon, Andrew Brody, Jose Hernandez and Benji Lopez.
Academy player’s did not make the starting XI but were immediately called upon. In the 9th minute RSL defender Watson Siriboe went down with an injury. Coaches looked to the bench and moments later U-16 Academy player Glad checked into the game. Lopez was subbed on for Devon Sandoval during the half and Brody entered in the 87th minute. Unfortunately, Hernandez and Lennon did not see any action.
Former Academy players, who have signed Home Grown contracts, Carlos Salcedo and Lalo Fernandez were on the reserve team as well. Glad, U16 Academy, played RB and was immediately tested by Phoenix FC’s leading scorer Donny Toia who was RSL’s first Home Grown signee. Glad’s performance over the next 81 minute was impressive for the young player. He won numerous balls in the air, shut down the speedy Toia and made confident passes throughout the match.
“He did really well,” Toia said after the match. “He’s young which is good. He has a lot to learn and I think playing with the Academy team and MLS team is definitely an opportunity for him. I think he’s doing really good for how old he is. I’m looking forward to seeing him in the MLS and national team in the future”
Lopez was very active in his 45 minutes and had a header in the box that went wide. Brody was not in the game long enough to make much of an impact but did fight for balls and moved the ball up the pitch.
“I thought they did a fantastic job,” said RSL coach Jeff Cassar. “It started with their work ethic, their commitment and their quality shined through. They did fantastic for us.”
Below are the pics from the game and a quote from each of the players about the whole experience of being called up.
Brody – “It has been great. All the hard work over the past two weeks of training with RSL and I was able to get a rewarded to play in the game. It was a great experience and I’m very fortunate.”
Glad – “I was nervous at first but it was fine once I stepped on and they (players) were all helping me out and encouraging me the whole time. It just felt good.”
Lopez – “I felt really good being given the chance of playing with the guys. I felt confident from training with these guys which made me real comfortable with them. I felt good and I’m blessed to get a chance to play with them.”
Hernandez – “Great experience. I will keep working to hopefully get some minutes of playing time in the future. It was also awesome. Just the experience of being with the pros and just training with them.”