The Real Salt Lake – AZ U18 Soccer Academy boys started their 2012 USSDA Winter Showcase on a high note. After a wonderful second half performance by the team, the outcome was a well deserved 4-1 win against the Montreal Impact Academy.
A great number of college coaches from all across the country gathered around Field 20 at the Premier Sports Campus at Lakewood Ranch in Lakewood Ranch, Florida to view the talent on both of these teams. The coaches witnessed a first half of soccer were two evenly matched teams play mostly between the penalty boxes.
RSL-AZ took the lead in the 21st minute through Benji Lopez after a lovely assist by Jose Hernandez. Despite RSL-AZ enjoying more of the possession in the first half, neither of the teams managed to create any clear cut chances and RSL-AZ went into the half-time break with a 1-0 lead.
Minutes into second half RSL-AZ brought on three fresh players and team started controlling the ball by constant pressure at the Montreal back line. In the 61st minute, Andrew Brody scrambled with a Montreal defender on the left hand side when Hernandez picked-up the loose ball and dribbled his way to the touchline. Hernandez sent a low cross which ricocheted off a few Montreal players and bounced towards Trevor Hyman. Without hesitation, Hyman volleyed the ball into the back of the net with conviction and a 2-0 RSL-AZ lead.
Shortly after the RSL-AZ goal, Montreal was able to pull back within one goal with 20 minutes remaining on the clock. As the goal excited the Montreal Impact players into a more aggressive style of play, RSL-AZ ‘s Hernandez showed a piece of magic as he scored an extraordinary goal in the 83rd minute. Hernandez received the ball on the right hand side of the pitch and displayed amazing ball control skills as he outfoxed three Montreal defenders to slam the ball past the helpless Montreal goalkeeper for a 3-1 RSL-AZ lead.
Two minutes later Lopez, RSL-AZ’s leading goal scorer, delivered his second goal of the game. Lopez never gave up on the long ball, shook-off a Montreal defender, and sent a nice low shot that went in off the post and into the back of the net. Lopez’s goal set the final score of 4-1 for an RSL-AZ win.
A great start to the biggest college soccer showcase for the RSL-AZ U18 Academy boys. Saturday’s action finds both RSL-AZ teams on the soccer pitch: the U18s have an early 9:45am kick off against Columbus Soccer Academy Wolves and at 3:00pm the U16s face the Montreal Impact in their first game of the tournament.