Frisco, TX (Saturday, June 17, 2023) - The RSL Academy U-15 squad took its initial steps in the MLS Next Cup Playoffs, kicking off its campaign with a dominant 3-0 win over Sockers FC from Chicago, Illinois. Linkon Ream and Armani Haro each saw their names added to the scoresheet, while Omar Marquez forced an own goal. Will Mackay got the start in net and made multiple saves to preserve the clean sheet.
Luca Moisa served three corner kicks in the opening 15 minutes of the game, as Sockers FC attempted to cope with the high press of RSL Academy. Despite not being able to find their own rhythm, RSL managed to stymie the Sockers offense, keeping the match in the midwest side’s half. Ream broke the deadlock in the 25th minute, receiving a pass at the top of the box from Haro, pirouetting and firing past the diving goalkeeper to gain the 1-0 lead.
Ream then nearly turned provider in the 30th minute, after he played a cutback to the top of the box where Marquez was waiting to fire into the goalkeeper’s arms. The chances began to flood in for RSL, with Moisa and Marquez both finding themselves in positive positions, only to see their attempts fly over the crossbar.
At the beginning of the second half, RSL doubled its lead in the 43rd minute as Marquez drove down the right wing and laced a ball across the top of the six-yard box. A poorly-struck clearance from a Sockers defender deflected the ball past his own goalkeeper into the net. Then in the 50th minute, Haro put the game out of reach when Sockers attempted to play the ball out from a goal kick, but Haro nicked the ball off of the centerback and hit the back of the net before anyone could react.
Instead of deflating the opponent, the third goal seemed to give Sockers FC new life, and Mackay was called into action in the 57th minute. After Mackay made the initial save, the ball bounced around dangerously in the RSL area before being launched clear by Axel Uriostegui. Mackay had to show his quality twice more as crosses found wide open Sockers forwards in the box, but neither was able to beat the RSL goalkeeper. After weathering the sudden burst of offense, RSL, again, established possession. With one foot in the next round, Head Coach Jordan Allen’s team saw out the remaining minutes with relative ease.
UP NEXT: RSL Academy U-15 team will play Chicago Fire FC in the Round of 16 on Sunday, June 18, at 7:00 p.m. MT.