NORCO, California (Saturday, December 4, 2021) – The Real Salt Lake Academy U15 and U17 teams continued play on day two of the Generation Adidas Cup Qualifiers as part of this weekend’s MLS NEXT Fest, with both sides moving to 2-0-0 on the weekend.
The Real Salt Lake U15s got the day started with a hard-fought, physical match against Austin FC. After being awarded a penalty for a handball by Austin in the 32nd minute, RSL midfielder David Lora stepped up to the spot and buried the ball into the back of the net to take the 1-0 lead into the halftime break. In the 51st minute, RSL forward Zavier Gozo looped a header over the opposing goalkeeper to bring the score to 2-0. The goal was Gozo’s team-leading third goal of the weekend so far. Austin pulled a goal back in the final minute of the match to no avail and RSL topped Austin FC 2-1, officially earning the U15 side a full six points out of six thus far.
RSL U15 Head Coach Andrew May on the result: “It was a highly-competitive, very physical game, but these are the types of games you want. We gave up a goal in the last minute, but the resiliency of it is important. It’s important for these young players to learn that the game is never over and that you have to compete until the final whistle, so it’s a good development piece for us. Now we’re going to try to take this momentum into Monday against Philly. Obviously our 15s played them last year in the championship game, so we know they have a really good program, but we are going to be ready for it.”
In the second match of the day for the Academy, the Real Salt Lake U17s battled Sporting Kansas City. In what was another chippy matchup from start to finish, RSL opened the scoring behind forward Jaden Jackson’s goal in the 29th minute. Just before the end of the half, a bouncing ball in the box made its way down to U17 captain Jude Wellings, who doubled the RSL lead with a right-footed side volley past the keeper and into the right side of goal to bring the score to 2-0 at the half. Kansas City scored five minutes into the second half to pull one back, but the RSL defense held strong for the remainder of the half and the match ended 2-1 in favor of Real Salt Lake. The victory gives the U17s their second win in as many matches, bringing the RSL Academy to a combined total of 4-0-0 through two days of MLS NEXT Fest play.
Wellings on the match: “I think in the first 20, 30 minutes we were a little sloppy, not up to par. But once we got going and moved the ball around, we did better and we got two quick goals right before the end of the half that were really big. Then in the second half I think it was about organization. We were under a lot of fire the whole second half and at moments we were a little bit sloppy and let them get through, but overall it was solid. Overall, [winning our first two] is huge. We only play a certain few teams from our division, so to know that we are at a high level around the country, it’s a huge confidence booster.”
Scoring Summary 1 2 F
RSL Academy U15 1 1 2
Austin FC 0 1 1
Scoring Summary 1 2 F
RSL Academy U17 2 0 2
Sporting Kansas City 0 1 1
Up Next: In match day three on Monday, December 6, the Real Salt Lake U15’s take on Philadelphia Union at 9:00 a.m. MT, while the Real Salt Lake U17 side will match up against Toronto FC at 1:00 p.m. MT.