It took only six minutes for Real Salt Lake-Arizona’s soccer academy U18 team to go one up on the travelling Strikers FC, as the Arizona squad dominated with an eight goal barrage.
Miguel Salazar opened the scoring, slicing through the Strikers’ defense before driving a low shot past the helpless goalkeeper. Next, it was Danny Gavin who put the ball into the back of the net. Ricardo Velasco drove down the bye line hitting a low cross that Gavin tapped in for his first goal.
Real Salt Lake-AZ went three up before the half ended as Jean Pierre Bello finished off a nice combination between Etiandro Tavares and Velasco.
Four minutes into the second half, Strikers were given a lifeline as the referee awarded a dubious penalty kick. Real Salt Lake – Arizona defender, Julio Alacron chased down Striker forward Avery Schwartz, who appeared to have stepped on the ball before tumbling to the ground. RSL-AZ goalkeeper Elliot Farmer saved the initial attempt, but the referee ruled that a Real Salt Lake – Arizona player had stepped into the box too early and awarded a retake. Schwartz made no mistake with his second opportunity.
Stung by what they believed were two bad decisions against them, RSL-AZ raised their level of play and were rewarded two minutes later as Velasco powered his way into the box before depositing the ball into the back of the net.
Three minutes later Velasco would strike again with his second and the team’s fifth goal. Again, RSL-AZ academy’s forwards combined well with Velasco arriving late to finish the play.
In the 57th minute Gavin would collect his second goal of the game as he arrived at the back post area to power home the ball, Velasco again being the provider.
Substitute Carlos Garay, danced his way past two Striker defenders before slipping the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper giving the home side a six goal cushion. Josh Goss scored the eighth and final goal after a scramble in front of the Strikers goalmouth.
The RSL-AZ U16 soccer academy team met up with a determined Strikers team that was convinced that they could defend strongly and maybe snatch a winner on a counter attack. After 29 long minutes the Real Salt Lake – Arizona
academy broke through with forward Jose Navarro getting on the end of a flowing attacking move, down the right flank, finishing his opportunity with conviction. RSL-AZ 1 – Strikers FC 0
Andrew Brody, with a solo run scored the second goal after 37 minutes. RSL-AZ had been knocking on the door for most of the first half and went into the halftime break two goals up.
The Strikers, who had some counter opportunities in the first half did capitalize on the break 10 minutes into the second half. Romario Sanchez got in behind the Real Salt Lake – Arizona defense and pulled one back.
Before the Strikers could finish celebrating, RSL-AZ had regained their two goal lead. Benji Lopez sliced through the Strikers rearguard and stroked the ball home for his team’s third goal of the game.
Now completely in control of the game, Real Salt Lake – Arizona went further ahead when Trevor Hyman collected a pass from Navarro 25 yards from goal and hit a thunderbolt that the motionless Striker’s keeper did not see until it hit the back of the net.
With the game in hand, RSL-AZ took their foot off the gas and the Californians made them pay. Forward Felipe Liborio stole in behind the Real Salt Lake – Arizona defense and cracked home a nice goal for his team’s second goal
The U18 team also played their final conference game but will have to wait for results from other games before they can claim a playoff spot. The USSDA playoffs begin, June 24, in Dallas Texas.of the game. Less than a minute later the referee called time with the home team’s 4-2 victory enough to guarantee a playoff spot.