Day two of the 2012 USSDA Winter Showcase in Lakewood Ranch, FL was tremendous for the RSL-AZ Soccer Academy U18 and U16 teams. Both teams started the first day of December with wins to remain undefeated in the tournament.
The first match of the day saw the RSL-AZ U18’s in their second game of the tournament against a well disciplined Crew Soccer Academy Wolves. The RSL-AZ coaches made changes to the starting eleven. Players like Brandon Marquez, Jose Vasquez and Kostas Kostelas received their first starts of the season.
The play was very lively and hard fought through-out the first half. Both teams pushed the ball mostly between the two penalty boxes and struggled to create any real scoring opportunities. The closest to scoring occurred when the Crew’s best player, Sam Brown, sent a shot that went inches wide of the left post in the 27th minute.
In the second half, RSL-AZ displayed more of their signature fast paced possession play. Connecting strings of passes in the attacking half of the field and pressured the opposing team much higher up their end of the field. As the game proceeded, it was a style of play that began to cause more and more problems for the Crew’s defense.
In the 56th minute Andrew Brody found himself in a good scoring opportunity but his shot was saved by the Crew goalkeeper. Trevor Hyman’s follow up shot off the goalkeeper’s save sailed wide of the goal for another missed chance.
In the 68th minute RSL-AZ broke the deadlock when Jose Hernandez, who has shined in the tournament so far, skillfully made another great run on the right side of the pitch and found Kostelas who was open for a chance. Without hesitation, Kostelas fired off a low shot and nicely placed the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal for a RSL-AZ 1-0 lead.
Ten minutes later another chance was missed when RSL-AZ’s Trevor Hyman saw his cross go over the crossbar from Kostelas header. After this, the RSL-AZ’s coaching staff brought in some fresh legs with several substitutions in the last 10 minutes in hope of putting the match out of the Crew’s reach.
In the final seconds of the game, the referee awarded the Crew with a free kick just outside of RSL-AZ’s penalty box. The Crew’s number 10 sent a powerful and precise curved ball over the RSL-AZ wall, but Luis Barraza came flying across the goal for a terrific save and secured a 1-0 win for RSL-AZ U18 Soccer Academy.
Barraza – Juarez, Nemeth, Marquez, Burnett – Hyman, Hernandez, Vasquez, Brody – Sasivarevic, Kostelas.
Cobos, Carillo, Goss, Tiraturyan, Rieland, Rodriguez
The RSL-AZ U16 Soccer Academy team’s afternoon game was against Montreal Impact Academy. RSL-AZ’s first game of the tournament provided an exciting 80 minutes of soccer.
The first 20 minutes of the game started off slow with RSL-AZ enjoying more of the possession, but neither team was able to create any clear cut scoring chances. After half an hour of play Montreal Impact scored a go-ahead goal off a fast break. The Montreal goal caught the attention of the RSL-AZ players which began to open up the game and it turned into a phenomenal goal-fest. Only six minutes after falling behind to Montreal, RSL-AZ’s Moises Rodriguez found the equalizer to set the half time score at 1-1.
The RSL-AZ team came out with their guns blazing in the second half. RSL-AZ scored two goals in the first four minutes of the half to take a commanding 3-1 lead over Montreal. The first goal was created when Rodriguez found Josh Doughty cutting inside the penalty box in the 42nd minute. Doughty blasted a shot from close range that sent the goal net on fire and provide RSL-AZ its first lead of the match. Two minutes later Doughty connected with Damin German on a a deep pass. German’s speed overtook the Montreal defenders and doubled RSL-AZ’s lead.
The Montreal players refused to give up and started playing better after falling behind RSL-AZ’s two goal cushion. Six minutes later they pulled back within one goal deficit after a strong run on the left hand side by Montreal’s David Choiniere as he scored his second goal of the game.
The next fifteen minutes of play saw a hard fought battle for every ball as RSL-AZ tried to restore the two goal lead and Montreal Impact was trying to find the equalizer. After exactly an hour of play Montreal found their equalizer through Pierre Lamothe and with twenty minutes left to play, the teams were once again all squared at 3-3.
RSL-AZ players stepped on the gas pedal and dominated the last quarter of the game. As time was winding down and it seemed like the game will end in a tie, RSL-AZ made a great combination in the middle of the field. Doughty found sub Terrel Lowe in the penalty box where a Montreal defender tripped him. The referee awarded RSL-AZ with a last minute penalty shot. Doughty stepped up and put his team up one, 4-3.
The referee added 3 minutes of stoppage time and that was all RSL-AZ needed to find their fifth and final goal of the game. After making a great run Lowe passed the ball to German who chipped the ball over the defenders foot and hit the left bottom corner of the goal. An amazing goal to wrap up a great second half performance. The RSL-AZ U16’s remained unbeaten this season despite missing three starters due to a Showcase All-star game: Justen Glad, Sebastian Saucedo and Brooks Lennon.
U16s starting lineup:
Bishov – Eng, Nino, Ovalle, Silva – Knox, German, Gayton, Lopez – Doughty, Rodriguez
Deaton, Ferguson, Goodman, Herrera, Lowe, Rieland, Scholz
Besides the two very exciting games, four of RSL-AZ players played in the 2012 Winter Showcase Select matches. Tony Murillo played in the ’95 winning Blue Team who defeated the Red Team 1-0. In the ’97 Select game Brooks Lennon played in the Red Team who defeated Justen Glad and Sebastian Saucedo’s Blue Team 4-1 with Lennon recording an assist.