RSL Academy

Day 3 At MLS NEXT Flex Decides Playoff Fate Of RSL Academy

RSL Academy U-17 vs Minnesota United FC U-17

Boyds, MD (May 16, 2023) - On the final matchday of MLS NEXT Flex weekend, RSL Academy U-17 team faced Minnesota United FC in a must-win match for both sides. Minnesota took the lead and never looked back, scoring an additional goal whenever RSL looked to gain momentum through goals of their own. RSL scored two goals through Luis Rivera and Anthony Ramirez. The match finished 4-2 effectively eliminating the RSL Academy U-17 team from playoff qualification.

High expectations loomed as the initial whistle signaled the start of the game. Both sides attempted to establish rhythm and possession in the opening 20 minutes, while also probing the opposing side’s defense. Minnesota knocked first in the 6th minute, an outside-of-the-boot shot nearly curled inside of Blake Kelly’s goal but he watched it slide past harmlessly. Amparo generated the next quality chance, striking a freekick well but not well enough to get it below the bar. Brice Miller and Gabriel Oksanen had chances to open the scoring, breaking down the left side of the net, but both saw their attempts saved by the Loons goalkeeper. The first half finished scoreless.

The flood gates opened after the break. Minnesota struck first in the 49th minute, a squared ball served from the left side was finished low beyond Kelly’s reach. The lead was then doubled in the 51st minute through a penalty kick awarded to Minnesota for a late challenge in the box. Ramirez brought RSL back within one in the 59th minute, capitalizing on an errant back pass to touch home past the goalkeeper. Minnesota then added another goal through a low shot to Kelly’s left. RSL answered through Amparo, who dribbled his way to the top of the box before unleashing a powerful left-footed shot past the goalkeeper. Minnesota created separation yet again in the 80th minute. A beautifully struck freekick found its way into the top corner of Kelly’s goal, making it 4-2.

RSL Academy Goal Scoring Summary

Anthony Ramirez 59th minute: Ramirez pounced on a stray back pass to the goalkeeper, touching it past the last man and into the back of the net.

Luis Rivera 73rd minute: Rivera collected the ball on the left side of goal, dribbling his way to the top of the 18 yard box. He unleashed a furious left footed shot to beat the Minnesota goalkeeper.

What’s Next: Based on today’s result, the U-17 team will play in the Showcase in June with a slim chance of qualifying for playoffs.

RSL Academy U-15 vs Barca Residency Academy

Boyds, MD (May 16, 2023) - RSL Academy U-15 team looked to close out the weekend on a strong foot against Barca Residency Academy. A less comfortable, but composed performance brought another win as well as another shutout. Goals from Linkon Ream and Omar Marquez were the difference enroute to a 2-0 win.

The opening minutes brought a midfield battle as neither side was able to generate a chance and possession switched hands frequently. Ream netted the first goal of the game in the 11th minute due to an error from Barca. A poor giveaway gifted the ball to Ream in an advanced position who took one touch to settle and then finish to the goalkeeper’s right. Another defensive error, but this time from RSL, nearly brought the equalizing goal. A sharp save from Will Mackay kept Barca off the board. The second goal came on the stroke of halftime through Marquez. A long, lofted ball from Camron Estala was mishandled by the Barca defense. Marquez nipped the ball off the defender before finishing past the helpless goalkeeper.

In the second half, defensive errors still ruled the match. A 49th minute error gave Barca an opportunity to get back within touching distance, but Mackay came off his line yet again to save the initial shot with Isaac Murphy emphatically clearing the danger. In the 63rd minute, Armani Haro came close to adding his name to the scoresheet but could not put the finishing touches on a cross from Ream. Second half substitute Cristopher Rios also nearly buried a goal, but his header from a corner kick bounced off the crossbar and out. After the frenetic manner in which the game started, RSL Academy finished the game with composure, limiting Barca’s chances while maintaining productive possession.

RSL Academy Goal Scoring Summary

Linkon Ream 11th minute: Ream was alert to an error from the Barca defense, winning a ball in a dangerous area, settling and finishing calmly.

Omar Marquez (Camron Estala) 43rd minute: Camron Estala sent a long and high clearance towards the opposing box. The Barca defender messed up his touch which allowed Marquez to take the ball and finish past the goalkeeper.

What’s Next: By topping the group, RSL Academy U-15 team has qualified for MLS NEXT Cup playoffs which will be played in June.