FRISCO, Texas (Thursday, April 1, 2022) — The Real Salt Lake Academy U15s dropped a heartbreaking result to Spain’s Valencia CF, falling in penalty kicks in the Quarterfinal of the 2022 Generation Adidas Cup. 

Facing their first European opponent, Real Salt Lake struggled to find offensive rhythm against their Spanish opponents, forcing the defensive line to defend for much of the first half. The team’s best chance came when Luca Moisa hit a long ball over Valencia’s backline to find Dylan Garcia. Despite out-running his defender, Garcia’s shot was pushed out wide by the keeper for a corner kick. 

It was goalkeeper Ty Rinker who kept the team in the game, with back-to-back massive saves to prevent the Spaniards from scoring. In the 30th minute a Valencia forward broke out, unmarked, at the top of the 18-yard-box, springing towards goal, but Rinker kicked out, getting a foot on the ball to make the save. Then, just several moments later Rinker, once again, made the save, this time pushing the ball out wide, preventing what seemed to be a sure goal for Valencia in extra time, helping his team get into the halftime break level at 0-0. 

The start of the second half saw Rinker continue his heroic ways. In the first minute he was tasked with making a point-blank kick-save. The tide began to turn in the 41st minute when captain Luis Rivera dribbled through two Valencia defenders to find second-half substitute Dominic Berrios who hit a curving long ball to Garcia. Garcia took a few touches towards goal before slipping a through ball to Zavier Gozo who drove down towards the endline before cutting back to send a cross in across the face of goal. The ball fell to forward Kevin Hernandez who slammed the ball deep into the back of the net with a half scissor-kick side volley to take the 1-0 lead. 

Valencia quickly began to press, looking for the equalizer, but Rinker continued to make saves, including a much-needed save in the 58th minute when he stole the ball away from a forward sitting right in front of goal. However, in the first minute of stoppage time Valencia finally broke through, sliding a ball underneath Rinker to equalize at the death, sending the match into penalty kicks. 

Despite two saves from Rinker, the Claret-and-Cobalt fell short in the penalty shootout, dropping out of the playoffs just shy of a berth to the semifinals of the 2022 Generation Adidas Cup with Valencia’s goalkeeper making three saves in a row to close out the match. 

Scoring Summary  1  2  F  PK

RSL Academy U15 0  1  1  4

Valencia CF U15    0  1  1  5

RSL: Kevin Hernandez (Zavier Gozo) 41’