Sandy, Utah - Real Salt Lake’s U-17 and U-19 sides began their United States Soccer Development Academy seasons at Rio Tinto Stadium for the first-ever academy matches in Utah on Saturday. The U-17 side won its match 2-0 while the U-19 side dropped a 2-1 decision to open the season against the Portland Timbers academy teams.
The U-17’s kicked off proceedings in Sandy as FW Ben Ortiz and DF Derrick Silva provided goals in the second half to help RSL secure its first win of the season. GK David Ochoa played the full 90 minutes in goal for RSL, providing a pivotal role defensively making five key saves in the match and kept the backline of RSL organized throughout the match to earn the shutout.
“In the second half we came out with some more life, a better attitude and more quality,” Academy Director Martin Vasquez said after the U-17 match. “The [first] goal we scored gave us some momentum and we were able to build on that momentum to finish the game strong.”
The second match of the afternoon saw RSL and the Timbers engage in a back-and-forth affair before Portland broke the deadlock in the 36th minute. Portland midfielder Akil Watts stripped the ball from the RSL backline and broke in against GK Jacob Jackson to score game’s first goal. Portland’s advantage doubled in the 63rd minute when Watts again broke through the RSL backline to slot the ball neatly home for his second goal of the match.
RSL cut Portland’s lead in half when FW Zahir Vazquez cleaned up the rebound from a half clearance when he headed home to deny Palacio and the Timbers an opening day shutout.
“This team was the best team in the league last year with the least amount of goals against and we talked about it today,” Vasquez said after the U-19’s loss. “We pushed and pushed and finished the way we want to when we have to chase a game and that’s a good thing. Our response was positive and that’s a good thing. It’s only the first game and this group is very mature and we will fix a couple of things and everything will be alright.”
GOAL SCORING SUMMARY:
RSL 2-0 POR
RSL U-17 – Ben Ortiz (Luis Arriaga), 52’
RSL U-17 – Derrick Silva, 90’+1’
RSL 1-2 POR
POR U-19 – Akil Watts, 36’
POR U-19 – Akil Watts, 63’
RSL U-19 – Zahir Vazquez, 81’
Both RSL-Academy sides will return to action on September 16 when they play host to Nomads SC at 11:00 am and 1:30 pm. Both games will be played at America First Field in Sandy.