NORCO, California (Tuesday, December 7, 2021) – The Real Salt Lake Academy U15 and U17 teams finished with a perfect combined record of 6-0-0 at this weekend’s Generation adidas Cup Qualifiers as part of MLS NEXT Fest 2021.
On match day three on Monday, their final game of the weekend, the Real Salt Lake U15s took on the Philadelphia Union. Following a build up of pressure from Real Salt Lake, Philadelphia were left scrambling in their own box, but the Union’s collective attempt to clear the ball resulted in an own goal that put RSL up 1-0 in the 31st minute. Four minutes later, RSL added insult to injury with another forceful build up, this time resulting in forward Zavier Gozo laying the ball off inside the box to midfielder Axel Uriostegui, who then buried the ball into the back of the net with his first touch to give RSL the 2-0 lead at the halftime break. In the 71st minute, second-half substitute Armani Haro put the moves on inside the box and finished past the goalkeeper to bring the match to its final scoreline of 3-0 in favor of RSL. With the result the U15s finished the weekend on top of Group E with nine points, officially qualifying them for the upcoming Generation adidas Cup in 2022.
RSL U15 midfielder Dominic Berrios on the match and going undefeated: “We started off a little bit slow, but through the 25th minute we started waking up and getting shots in and then we got two goals. Once we got the lead it lifted us up. [The result] is big. We worked so hard to get here all season, every game. Every practice we worked our ass off and then we came here and got our results. This wasn’t a vacation for us, we came here to get results and we did that.”
In the final match of the weekend for either side in the Academy, the Real Salt Lake U17s went up against Toronto FC for the right to top Group F. Toronto presented a physical matchup throughout for the U17s, but RSL managed to unlock the opponents' defense in the 24th minute. After beating multiple defenders on a run down the middle of the pitch, captain and midfielder Jude Wellings fired off a right-footed shot from distance that blew past the goalkeeper and into the top-left corner of the net to give RSL the 1-0 first-half lead. RSL remained tight defensively throughout the rest of the match, holding on to beat Toronto FC to go undefeated on the weekend and finish as the winner of Group F with a perfect nine points.
RSL U17 midfielder Abokye Bikyeombe on the match: “It was a tough match, it was very important because it was the last one. We needed a win to top the group and we did that. It was getting very tough at the end there, but we remained intact, communicated and got the ball out when we could. [The result] means a lot to us. Now we need to keep going and continue to win matches.”
Scoring Summary 1 2 F
RSL Academy U15 2 1 3
Philadelphia Union 0 0 0
Scoring Summary 1 2 F
RSL Academy U17 1 0 1
Toronto FC 0 0 0
Up Next: With both squads finishing the weekend undefeated and on top of their respective qualifying groups, the U15s and U17s now look ahead to both the second half of the MLS NEXT season and the Generation adidas Cup in 2022.