RSL Academy vs. Colorado Rapids Academy
Sunday, May 21, 2023; Herriman Utah
Real Salt Lake Academy returned home this weekend after the MLS NEXT Flex tournament in Maryland, hosting Rocky Mountain Rivals Colorado Rapids Academy.
RSL 0 - 1 COL
Colorado got off the bus looking to strike first, coming close to opening the scoring in the 9th minute smacking a shot off the crossbar. The Rapids led the first half in opportunities on goal, but the two sides remained goalless at the half.
RSL came out of the changing rooms with an increased intensity, threatening on goal just minutes into the second half. David Noguera came close in the 47th minute, but his one-on-one chance was snuffed by a Colorado defender in the box. Despite the blitz from RSL to open the second 45, it was the Rapids who scored first in the 50th minute on a close-range shot inside the box, beating goalkeeper Lucas Russo.
In the 63rd minute Anthony Ramirez had a clear chance on net, but his shot was stopped by a Rapids defender on the goal line. RSL pushed again, hitting the side netting in the 82nd minute, but were unable to find an equalizer and the visitors took the match 1-0.
RSL 1 - 4 COL
The U15s side came out of the locker room at the commencement of the match looking to strike first, quickly setting the tone of the match by attacking the final third early and often. Javier Martinez, Linkon Ream, and Van Parker all fired shots that just sailed over the crossbar within the first moments of the match. Even though Colorado was caught on their backheels in the opening minutes they recovered from the RSL Academy’s quick attack and began to regain momentum.
Colorado began to control the tempo after the 30th minute and showed promising build-ups that led to multiple half chances. The lesser side of the Rockies struck first in the 38th minute after the Rapids beat the U15’s backline and snuck a shot past goalkeeper Konstantinos Kyriazia. With a boost to their confidence after they scored, Colorado began to aggressively attack the RSL Academy U15s and notched an additional goal in the 40th minute before the first half ended 0-2 in favor of the Rapids.
The RSL Academy entered the second half determined to draw even with Colorado Rapids and applied heavy defensive pressure on back passes. Despite the defensive pressure Colorado remained collected and was able to score once more in the 66th minute after the U15s experienced an injury and were left with 10 men to defend a Colorado corner kick. With only 10 men Colorado whipped a cross into the box and headed in another goal putting the Academy side down by three goals.
A handful of substitutions were made by the U15 RSL Academy late in the second half to potentially regain some momentum and notch a goal. In the 74th minute the Academy squad finally scored as substitute Evan Youngflesh headed a deflected cross past Colorados defense. Despite a valiant effort by the second half substitutes the U15s were unable to defeat their rocky mountain rivals.