The RSL Academy U-15 squad faced KRC Genk in the opening match of the Crown Plaza Elite Cup in Denmark, falling 2-1 with forward Van Parker scoring the lone goal for the Claret-and-Cobalt. The Belgian side went on to score two unanswered goals to claim victory and three points in the group stage.
RSL Academy looked the better side in the opening minutes of the match, nearly taking the lead through Javier Martinez in the fourth minute. Parker received a cross from Javier Ruelas and then laid it off for Martinez who was unable to squeeze the ball inside the post from the edge of the box. Then in the 10th minute, Cristopher Rios stole the ball off a Genk defender and found Linkon Ream on the far post, but Ream sent his shot just over the crossbar. Genk then found their footing and won the ball in the middle third of the field. The ball-winner found a wide player who drove into the box and shot to the far upright, hitting the post and then the back of the net. RSL Academy answered back in the 25th minute. Rowan Martin and Parker combined just outside of the 18 yard box, and Parker finding himself with the ball behind the Belgian defense slotted home to bring the score level.
Coming out of the halftime break, RSL was once again the aggressor, keeping Genk in their own half. In the 30th minute, goalkeeper Konstantinos Kyriazis believed that play had stopped for an offside call, however the whistle had not blown. Immediately after Kyriazis placed the ball down for the supposed freekick, a Genk player took it and knocked it into the open net. RSL continued to press high, now chasing the game instead of the lead, and nearly found the equalizer through Martinez. A freekick from 20 yards out just missed the top left corner of the Belgian goal. Newcomer Hunter Peralta also nearly brought the game level in the 45th minute, beating two players inside the box and forcing a reaction save from the Genk goalkeeper.
After losing the opening match, RSL Academy must win the next two matches in order to advance out of the group into the next round. The second and third matches of the tournament will take place on Saturday August 19, at 2:30 AM MT against Hammarby IF and 7:30 AM MT against FC Nordsjælland.