Last weekend the Real Salt Lake Academy secured its second undefeated weekend in three weeks played to start the 2021-22 MLS NEXT season, and their first on home turf at Zions Bank Training Facility in Herriman, Utah.
Both the U15 and U17 squads faced fellow academy teams from Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, September 18, with the younger squad taking the pitch first.
The U15s took to the field with a commanding presence and possessed the ball almost entirely in their attacking half of the field. The RSL Academy’s offensive possession paid off quickly and the team jumped out to an early lead in the 11th minute when Zavier Gozo found the back of the net. The team continued to press for goal, but Seattle was able to capitalize on a counter attack just before the whistle, and the two teams headed into the halftime break level at 1-1.
The second half saw the U15s go down 2-1, but the Sounders lead would not last long as RSL was awarded a penalty kick. Forward Max Lora initially had his penalty kick blocked by the goalkeeper, but an early step from the line from the goalkeeper allowed Lora another chance to retake the shot and took quick advantage, sending it into the back of the net to tie up the game. Several minutes later Tony Ramirez sealed the match with the final goal of the morning to see the U15s claim the 3-2 victory.
The U17s played a quiet first half with limited chances on goal, largely playing on the back foot to fend off Seattle’s advances. However, the Sounders were able to sneak one in before the half, leaving the team chasing the game for the second half.
Thanks to heroics from Jude Wellings and Axel Kei, the U17s mounted a comeback to equalize and then take the 2-1 lead. With mere moments left on the clock it seemed as if they too may get the victory, but a late equalizer from Seattle saw the match end 2-2 with each side taking a point.
Both RSL Academy teams will now travel to Portland, Oregon where they will take on Portland Timbers FC on Saturday, September 25.
On Sunday, the RSL Academy competed in their second United Premier Soccer League match against Albion SC Idaho at Zions Bank Stadium. The two sides played to a 2-2 draw with goals from Noah Segura and Terron Williams. Combined with last week’s 6-0 win over FC Spider, the RSL Academy now sits second in the Western Conference Mountain Premier Division.
Next they will face Yuta Kickers SC on Wednesday, September 29 at 7:00 p.m. MT from Zions Bank Stadium.