08 Feb Academy Recap: Barça Academy at LA Galaxy
February 8, 2018
Barça Academy returned to the pitch for US Soccer Development Academy action after nearly two months away for winter break. All three academy teams traveled to Los Angeles for a road matchup against perennial power LA Galaxy at the StubHub Center. The U-15s started the day with a hard-fought loss, falling to two second half goals after coming back from a goal down in the first half. Barça Academy’s U-17s took the field next and won in impressive fashion, extending their unbeaten run, which now has spanned more than four months. The U-19 side wrapped up the day’s matches with a tough 4-0 loss after conceding two early goals.
Barça Academy U-15s kicked off the trio of matchups against LA Galaxy in the first game of the day. Coach Ged Quinn’s side started the match well, aggressively breaking Galaxy’s pressure with sharp possession play. However, the U-15s fell behind in the eighth minutes after Barça Academy’s pressing intensity dropped momentarily.
The U-15s responded well and grabbed an equalizer seven minutes later through Juan Verdugo, his third goal of the campaign so far.
“The guys worked extremely hard to press and we managed to have some success with this in the first half when we won the ball well from their back line and capitalized well to score,” said Quinn.
The score would remain level going into halftime and Barça Academy entered the second half with all to play for. However, the match would get away from the U-15s during the second 45-minute period.
“We competed well with a strong LA Galaxy team for large portions of the game but ran out of steam a little towards the end with conditioning after the winter break definitely being an issue for our guys,” said Quinn.
The U-15 were caught out several times by long balls into the space in behind the backline, and in the 63rd minute, LA Galaxy capitalized to make the score 2-1.
Barça Academy went looking for an equalizer and nearly found one through the goalscorer, Verdugo. The game in the balance, Verdugo had an opportunity to level the score but was denied by a great save from the LA Galaxy goalkeeper, denying the U-15s the opportunity to shift the momentum of the game in their favor.
Just moments later, with Barça Academy pressing desperately for the tying goal, LA Galaxy would wrap up the game with a third goal after a counterattack, outlasting Barça Academy 3-1.
“Overall we can take a lot of lessons and positives from the game as we prepare for our home game against LAUFC [Los Angeles United Futbol] this coming weekend,” said Quinn.
The U-17s were next to take on the LA Galaxy and were looking to extend their unbeaten run of matches to eight in USSDA play. Coach Sean McCafferty was delighted with his team’s start to the match, as they opened in dominating fashion against a top side.
“We possessed the ball very well, looked composed and confident under pressure and our play was purposeful for the majority of the half,” said McCafferty.
Barça Academy took control of the match in the 28th minute when a clever set piece routine from a corner kick allowed space for Jose Olmos to fly into the box unmarked and power a header past the keeper.
Five minutes later, the U-17s would double their advantage from a similar play. Once again, service from a set piece proved crucial in unlocking LA Galaxy’s defense and Cater Payne nodded one home to make the score 2-0 heading into halftime.
“It was great to see us win the battles in the box and get our heads on two fantastic services, an area we have been working on improving,” said McCafferty.
Barça Academy would pick up where they left off coming out of the break, adding a third goal in the 54th minute. After breaking LA Galaxy’s high press, Matthew Hoppe was played through on goal from nearly half-field. The striker kept his composure to coolly round the goalkeeper and tap the ball into an empty net.
To their credit, LA Galaxy fought back in the match and scored two quick goals past Barça Academy goalkeeper, Luke Pruter, in the 66th and 67th minutes to bring the score to 3-2.
Jake LaCava would seal the match for Barça Academy with a late goal in the 85th minute. The winger did well to press the Galaxy defense after a poor clearance, win the ball back, dance past a pair of defenders and finish into the lower corner.
“We could have managed the game better once we went 3-0 up and that is a lesson we will learn from but overall I was extremely proud of how the boys played and we look forward to hosting De Anza on Feb 17th,” said McCafferty.
The last match of the day saw Barça Academy’s U-19s fall to a 4-0 defeat against a talented LA Galaxy side.
Barça Academy started very slowly, fell behind in the eighth minute and soon found themselves down by two goals in the 23rd minute.
“While down 2-0, we had a few moments in which we created goals scoring chances, that could have helped shift the momentum but we were unable to take advantage of our opportunities,” said coach Daniel Antunez.
The U-19s started the second half much better, building on momentum from the end of the first half. However, much like the U-15s, after a long winter break, Barça Academy would tire in the later stages of the second half. Two late goals from LA Galaxy resigned the U-19s to a 4-0 loss.
“I think as a group we need to collect ourselves, learn from this experience and make adjustments both collectively and individually to prevent this from happening again,” said coach Daniel Antunez. “I believe we are a much better team than what we displayed on Saturday. Now we need to continue to work and prepare accordingly to assure we get 3 points in our next game.”
Barça Academy returns to Grande Sports World this weekend, with the U-15s taking on Los Angeles United. All three academy sides are in action the following weekend, as Barça Academy host De Anza Force and the Pre-Academy teams will travel to Las Vegas, Nevada for the City of Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup International Showcase.
U-15: Barça Academy 1 vs. LA Galaxy Academy 3
U-17: Barça Academy 4 vs. LA Galaxy Academy 2
U-19: Barça Academy 0 vs. LA Galaxy Academy 4
U-15: Barça Academy vs. Los Angeles United Futbol | 10:00 AM | Grande Sports World; Field 8
U-15: Barça Academy vs. De Anza Force | 9:00 AM | Grande Sports World; Field 7
U-17: Barça Academy vs. De Anza Force | 11:30 AM | Grande Sports World; Field 7
U-19: Barça Academy vs. De Anza Force | 2:00 PM | Grande Sports World; Field 7
U-16: Barça Academy vs. FC Bellvue Heron Venom | 11:20 AM | Ed Fountain – Las Vegas, Nevada; Field 2
U-16: Barça Academy vs. Heat FC 02 | 4:40 PM | Ed Fountain – Las Vegas, Nevada; Field 4
U-18: Barça Academy vs. Solar SC 99B Sawyer | 12:40 PM | Bettye Wilson – Las Vegas, Nevada; Field 8
U-16: Barça Academy vs. FC Sport Evolution | 7:20 PM | Kellog Zaher – Las Vegas, Nevada; Field 11
U-16: Barça Academy vs. La Roca 02 | 11:20 PM | Ed Fountain – Las Vegas, Nevada; Field 1
U-18: Barça Academy vs. La Roca 00 | 2:00 PM | Bettye Wilson – Las Vegas, Nevada; Field 5
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