CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – The Real Salt Lake Elite teams wrapped up their first season in the Arizona State League with an impressive weekend of play at the Grande Sports Academy, which saw the U-16s and U-18s secure promotion to Division I.
The U-16 Elite team dominated their age group, but had one unfortunate hiccup on Saturday morning when Fubolito Bimbo Fuente Azul 98 defeated the Claret-and-Cobalt 4-2 in a physical match. Midway through the second half and trailing by two goals, Javi Avelar cut the deficit when he converted a penalty, however, Fuente Azul scored two more minutes and held on for the win. Robby Orona added a late goal for RSL.
Photo Gallery: RSL U-16 Elite vs. Fuente Azul
On Sunday, the U-16 Elite team needed just a draw to win the Division II title and playing against Ahwatukee 98 White, the Claret-and-Cobalt came out aggressive and pounded Ahwatukee down the right-wing. It paid dividends in the 20th-minute when Gallo played a diagonal ball to Javi Avelar. Avelar continued his run and sent a low cross that headed to the back post for a waiting Austin Tucker, who calmly finished. Diego Robles added a late insurance goal in the 77th-minute when he beat the last defender with pace and finished the effort.
Photo Gallery: RSL U-16 Elite vs. Ahwatukee
In 7 Arizona State League matches, the U-16 Elite team won 6 matches and outscored opponents 20-6.
RSL U-16 Elite Season Stats (18 Matches)
Goals: (5) Robby Orona, (5) Diego Robles, (4) Javi Avelar, (4) Austin Tucker, (3) Gallo, (3) Alejandro Parra, (3) Ryan Flood, (3) Gio Alcocer, (2) Mikey Lanzetta, (2) Chris Fourcand, Ethan Shacknai, Macos Hernandez, Josh Allison, Patrick Ring
Assists: (4) Parra, (4) Gallo, (3) Duncan Storey, (2) Robles, Allison, Alex Valdez, Fourcand, Ring, Alcocer, Flood, Avelar
Clean Sheets: (3) Conor Orton, (3) Marcel Ruzan, Avelar
The RSL U-18 Elite team went undefeated in Arizona State League play and finished second in their Division after earning two draws this past weekend. On Saturday, Tevin Lowe scored the lone goal for the U-18s in a 1-1 draw with AZ Inferno 96,. The draw meant that the Claret-and-Cobalt could not drop points to their Sunday opponent Sereno South White, who had not given up a goal in six matches.
Seven minutes into the match, Nate Deaton bombed a diagonal ball forward to Paul Bin, who surprised the Sereno defense with his pace. He ran up to the ball, dribbled into the box and rounded the goalkeeper for the opening goal. Moments after the goal Sereno attacked the RSL defense with purpose and earned a free kick from the wing in the 10th minute. Service came in and was deflected towards to the RSL goal where an unmarked Sereno forward was waiting for an easy tap in. Both sides knocked the ball around for the remainder of the match and in the dying minutes it looked like Sereno was going to go up a goal when the RSL defense was caught on the counter, but Nicholas LaMonica made a goal line clearance in the 80th-minute to preserve the draw.
Photo Gallery: RSL U-18 Elite vs. Sereno South White
In 6 Arizona State League matches, the U-18 Elite team won 3 matches and drew 3.
RSL U-18 Elite Season Stats (17 matches)
Goals: (8) Luke Novick, (5) Matthias Binder, (5) Radu Marcu, (5) Albert Molina, (5) Paul Bin, (4) Josh Taylor, (2) Kiuno Cann, (2) Ishan Atit, (2) Victor Alvarez, (2) Danny Moreno, Trent Lowe, Gavino Carranza, Nate Deaton, Nicholas LaMonica, Tevin Lowe
Assists: (7) Binder, (3) Novick, (3) Alvarez, (2) Aaron Herrera,(2) Trent Lowe, (2) Moreno, Carranza, Adam Ferguson, Bin, Atit, Judah Rashirai, Deaton
Clean Sheets: (5) Miguel Martinez