Casa Grande, AZ (Sunday, January 28th, 2013) – Not wanting to be outdone by the older team at the Grande Sports Academy, Real Salt Lake-AZ U16 convincingly defeated Nomads SC 6-0 in Casa Grande, Arizona on Sunday afternoon.
“It was a good start and the boys got into it,” said assistant coach Tony Bruce. “They listened to what we asked them to do. They connected on passes and took their chances. I thought it was really good.”
After a long six week break between games for the RSL-AZ U16 team the players showed no signs of rust as they pounced on the opponent almost immediately. After receiving a pass on the left wing, Brooks Lennon took the ball, dribbled between two opponents and beat the goalie on a tough angle shot. Just nine minutes into the game RSL had a 1-0 lead.
Two minutes later Jose Hernandez, who has been training with the senior Real Salt Lake team, was clipped just outside of the 18. Sebastian “Bofo” Saucedo, also trained with RSL, stepped up for the free kick and hit a screamer that tailed left at the very end hitting the back of then net giving RSL the 2-0 lead.
The players were finding space on the left and right wings and Lennon’s speed continued to cause problems for the Nomads backline. In the 24th minute Lennon had a 1v1 with the Nomads GK who’s poor challenge resulted in a RSL PK. Moises Rodriguez calmly scored giving RSL a 3-0 lead going into overtime. Check out the picture sequence of that goal here.
The second half got even worse for Nomads SC as RSL attacked the net over and over again. Lennon scored his second goal in the 65th minute, Rodriguez scored again in the 70th minute when the Nomads GK failed to clear the ball and Hernandez scored in the 80th minute when he beat a Nomads defender on top of the 18.
Hernandez who usually plays with the U18 Academy team spoke about playing with the U16 team saying, “not the same as the 18’s but it was nice being back with kids my age. We were all mature about knowing that this game wasn’t going to be a challenge but we didn’t let it get to our head and we kept playing through he whole game.”
“It was a great feeling and we all played as a team. Always important to get the first win,” said birthday boy Rodriguez who had two goals.
Though the game was mostly attacking heavy, outstanding play in the back from Alexander Knox, Jack Gayton and Diego Silva helped the attacking players immensely. All three players had deep runs that penetrated the Nomads defense allowing for other players to constantly free up.
Even thought the team scored six goals Bruce spoke after the game and said it should have been more.
“We can be very high powered going forward. We scored 6 goals and it could have been 15. We just need to work on finishing our chances in the final third. It will be important for us as we go forward against some of the top teams. However it was good to start 2013 with three points. It builds confidence going into the next game.”
Next game for RSL-AZ U16 will be on Saturday, February 9th at 1:30 when they host Strikers FC.