SAN DIEGO, Cali. – Playing in their first ever Nomads Thanksgiving Tournament, the Real Salt Lake U-18 and U-16 Elite teams went a combined 4-2-1 and outscored opponents 16-5 in seven matches. The U-18 Elite team shook off a less than stellar performance in their opening match and closed out the tournament with consecutive shutouts while the U-16 Elite team went undefeated in group play and advanced to the quarterfinals.
For a full run down on all the weekend’s action, check out the recaps below.
Match #1 (group play) vs. Strikers FC Whittier – McManus
The Real Salt Lake U-18 Elite team kicked off the tournament with the perfect start, scoring just four minutes into the match when Danny Moreno cleaned up and finished a deflection from an Albert Molina shot. Unfortunately for RSL they couldn’t maintain the start, as the defensive allowed two goals in quick succession halfway through the first half. Strikers FC Whittier put the game on ice in the 56th-minute when they doubled their lead and put the match out of RSL’s reach.
Match #2 (group play) vs. San Diego United
Looking to put the opening group loss behind them, the Real Salt Lake U-18 Elite team wanted to win big in the second match and unfortunately for San Diego United they were matched up against a motivated RSL.
One of those motivated players was Ishan Atit, who turned in one his best performances for the Claret-and-Cobalt, as he assisted on four goals and recorded a brace in a 7-0 win over San Diego United. Paul Bin scored two first half goals; the first from an Atit cross in the 3rd-minute and the second from an Atit long ball in the 35th-minute. Bin returned the favor on RSL’s second goal, when his low cross was converted by Atit. Atit’s second goal came right before the break when he dribbled two players and finished far post.
Atit connected with Luke Novick twice in the match. The first in the 21st-minute when he played a clever through ball to Novick and the second in the 60th-minute. RSL scored their final goal in the 62nd-minute when Jonathan Min lofted a ball over the goalkeeper, which allowed Novick to storm the goal and finish off his impressive performance with a hat-trick.
Match #3 (group play) vs. Inter FC 96 Premier
Heading into the final match, the U-18s needed a win and help to advance to the quarterfinals. Atit’s impressive form extended into this match, when he whipped in a corner, which found Albert Molina for RSL’s opening goal in the 12th-minute. RSL doubled their lead on another corner 20 minutes later when Luke Novick converted a Danny Moreno cross. Novick wrapped up his outstanding weekend on an individual effort in the 40th-minute for his fifth goal in the tournament. RSL defeated Inter 3-0, but were eliminated from group play and did not qualify for the lone wildcard spot, which ended their tournament run.
RSL U-18 Elite Season Stats (20 matches)
Goals: (13) Luke Novick, (7) Paul Bin, (6) Albert Molina, (5) Matthias Binder, (5) Radu Marcu, (4) Josh Taylor, (4) Ishan Atit, (2) Kiuno Cann, (2) Victor Alvarez, (2) Danny Moreno, Trent Lowe, Gavino Carranza, Nate Deaton, Nicholas LaMonica, Tevin Lowe
Assists: (7) Binder, (6) Atit, (3) Novick, (3) Alvarez, (3) Bin, (3) Moreno, (2) Aaron Herrera,(2) Trent Lowe, Carranza, Adam Ferguson, Judah Rashirai, Deaton, Jonathan Min
Clean Sheets: (7) Miguel Martinez
Match #1 (group play) vs. Placer Utd 98B Red
The Real Salt Lake U-16 Elite team jumped out to an early lead against Placer United when Chris Fourcand’s sustained pressure saw him strip the final defender in the 4th-minute and finish the effort. Mikey Lanzetta scored one of the best goals a Grande Sports Academy player will score this year in the 42nd-minute when curved a free kick from 28-yards out around the Placer wall into the upper 90. Lanzetta’s goal became the match winner for RSL, as they conceded a late own goal in the 2-1 opening win.
Match #2 (group play) vs. Encinitas Express
Looking to build off of the opening victory, RSL scored the opening goal for the second consecutive match when Erik “Gallo” Virgen converted a Gio Alcocer pass in the 15th-minute. The second goal eluded the Claret-and-Cobalt throughout the match and RSL saw their lead slip away in the 55th-minute when an Express corner was converted into the far post. RSL pushed for the winner, but were unable to find the back of the net in the 1-1 draw.
Match #3 (group play) vs. Diablo FC 97B
With four points through two matches, the RSL U-16 Elite team was in control on its own destiny and a win would secure advancement to the quarterfinals. For the third consecutive match, the Claret-and-Cobalt scored the opening goal in the early minutes and just like the first match Chris Fourcand and Mikey Lanzetta provided the fireworks. A great combination in the 13th-minute saw Alejandro Parra spring Fourcand through for the opening goal. Parra notched his second assist in the 57th-minute when his pass allowed Lanzetta to attack space and finish his effort. The 2-0 win propelled RSL to first in their group and a quarterfinals match up against Strikers FC Irvine.
Match #4 (quarterfinals) vs. Strikers FC Irvine
Playing in their fourth match in two days, the Real Salt Lake U-16 Elite team and Strikers FC Irvine played a physical match, which saw limited chances for both sides. After 60 minutes of scoreless soccer the match went straight into PKs, as per the tournament rules, which saw the Strikers eliminate the U-16 Elite team.
RSL U-16 Elite Season Stats (24 Matches)
Goals: (6) Diego Robles, (5) Robby Orona, (5) Gallo, (4) Javi Avelar, (4) Austin Tucker, (4) Ryan Flood, (4) Gio Alcocer, (4) Mikey Lanzetta, (4) Chris Fourcand, (3) Alejandro Parra, (2) Josh Allison, Ethan Shacknai, Marcos Hernandez, Patrick Ring
Assists: (6) Parra, (5) Gallo, (3) Duncan Storey, (3) Robles, (2) Avelar, Allison, Alex Valdez, Fourcand, Ring, Alcocer, Flood,
Clean Sheets: (4) Marcel Ruzan, (4) Conor Orton, Avelar