Damian German
Grande Sports World

RSL-Arizona U-18s reach national quarterfinals with convincing playoff wins

Real Salt Lake’s U-18 Academy team from Arizona continued to steamroll through the 2014-15 season with a dominating run through the USSDA playoffs this week, earning a berth in the quarterfinals with three convincing victories in Westfield, Indiana.

RSL-AZ outscored its three opponents 11-1 in beating the Concorde Fire, FC Dallas and Chicago Magic PSG Academies to advance to the quarterfinal round.  There, RSL will host Shattuck-St. Mary’s from Faribault, Minnesota, on July 7 at the club’s Casa Grande, Arizona, home field.

Goalkeeper Luis Barraza earned shutouts in both of his matches, while Christian Hererra allowed just one goal in a 3-1 win over FC Dallas in the second game of the tournament for the juggernaut Real Salt Lake team that went 35-3-4 in the season, outscoring its opponents 172-34.

On the offensive side, Jose Hernandez and Damian German each notched three goals, Aaron Herrera and Edgar Duran had two apiece and Diego Silva added another as the high-scoring team blasted its way through the three matches.

This will be the third straight season that this group of players will play in the quarterfinals, with the previous two each advancing to the final, winning in 2013 and finishing second in 2014.  I won’t be an easy task, though, as Shattuck-St. Mary’s finished second in the Central Conference at 15-3-12 with a 67-35 goal differential.  Shattuck-St. Mary’s went 2-0-1 in the playoffs with wins over Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Oakwood Soccer Club and a draw against D.C. United.