Academy Recap: Barça Academy Goes Undefeated on the Weekend (6-0-2)
May 1, 2018
Barca Academy’s USSDA sides returned to Grande Sports World while the pre-academy teams continued their State Cup campaign in a busy weekend of action for Barca Academy. The Academy teams hosted San Diego Surf and ended the day with a set of good results: the U-15s came from behind to draw 1-1, the U-17s had to rely on a stoppage time winner from Carter Payne in their 3-2 victory and the U-19s rolled to a 4-0 win. The U-16s faced a busy weekend in State Cup with three matches in three days but produced two wins and a draw to propel themselves into the semi-final. The U-18s will also be playing in the semi-final of State Cup after two big wins over the weekend over AZ Arsenal and ASA Tilmans.
Barça Academy vs. San Diego Surf
Barça Academy U-15
The USSDA matches between Surf and Barca Academy kicked off Saturday morning with the clubs’ U-15 sides squaring off.
The match was evenly contested from the kickoff, and Surf went into the lead in the 10th minute after Barca Academy conceded a sloppy penalty kick. After falling behind, Barca Academy uped the temp and created chances off of good work from Ricardo Benitez and Caden Clark but were unable to find an equalizer and went into halftime down 1-0.
The second half played out in a very similar fashion, Barca Academy looked to attack and chase the game down while Surf defended in a low block and looked for opportunities to break out on the counter-attack. For all of Barca Academy’s pressure, there wasn’t a clear-cut chance until two minutes from time.
Ricardo Benitez unleashed a shot from outside the box which took a looping deflection off a defender and over the goalkeeper. A Surf defender made a great effort to clear the ball with a bicycle kick which rebounded out off of the crossbar, but the referee judged that the ball had already crossed the line and award the goal.
Barca Academy would push on for the winner with little time left, but despite a few good chances, the match would end at 1-1.
“The first half, we had the mistake and conceded the goal and that was a bit difficult for us,” said coach Daniel Antunez. “In the second half, we were a bit more aggressive going forward, we kept pushing on and ultimately we had some luck with the goal.”
Barça Academy U-17
Next to take on Surf were the U-17s, needing a positive result to solidify their spot in the playoffs. Much like in the earlier match, the U-17s concede early from a mistake. Goalkeeper Luke Pruter slipped which left him badly out of position as Surf scored the opening goal from a wide area.
Barca Academy improved from that point on and scored an equalizer in the 28th minute. Carter Payne did well to press Surf high up the pitch win the ball back in a dangerous area. He squared for Matthew Hoppe, who fired a shot which the goalkeeper deflected, but couldn’t keep out.
The U-17s continued pressing on the front foot through the first half, and although they went into halftime tied at 1-1, the score line wouldn’t stay there for long. Two minutes into the second half, Enzo Mauriz whipped a free kick into the top corner from the edge of the area to give Barca Academy a 2-1 lead.
Surf was resilient and got an equalizer of their own in the 54th minute against the run of play to bring the score to 2-2.
This left Barca Academy 36 minutes to find the winning goal, and they would need all of that time. The u-17s created half chances for Roberto Molina and Hoppe, but nothing seemed to be coming off.
In the 90th minute, the U-17s found their goal. Henry Tapper floated in an inviting service from his position at left back and Payne rose highest at the back post to power a header past the goalkeeper and give all three points to Barca Academy.
“I thought we were excellent,” said head coach Sean McCafferty. “I thought we controlled the game very well, and both of their goals came from individual errors. I thought the players’ character and response was fantastic and we deserved the win.”
Barça Academy U-19
In the last USSDA match of the weekend, the U-19s ran out to a comfortable 4-0 win over Surf to keep their playoff dreams alive.
The match started off tightly contested, though Barca Academy went into the lead 15 minutes into the match through Michael Merrihue’s penalty.
That was the only real action in the first 45 minutes, though the game would explode to life in the second half.
Merrihue was gifted a second goal in the 57th minute when Surf failed to properly deal with a cross and an attempted clearance fell right at his feet in the box.
Enrique Zamora made it 3-0 in the 71st minute off an assist from Daniel Corona, and Alejandro Alcantara added a fourth goal three minutes from full time to round out the scoring.
“Every week we continue to grow, we continue to work on the mistakes we made the previous week,” said head coach Daniel Antunez. “Today we executed the game plan really well, and ultimately we had the luck of finishing off a couple chances.”
Arizona State Cup
Barça Academy U-16
The U-16s played three matches in three days to finish on top of the group in the group stage of State Cup.
On Friday evening, Barca Academy cruised to a 3-1 win over Sereno Soccer Club with two goals from Caleb Suh and one from Nick Bisagno. Sereno was able to get a consolation goal one minute from full time, but all three points went to Barca Academy.
The U-16s upped the ante on Saturday, beating Classic SC 5-1 behind goals from Eduardo Serrano, Alejandro Carrasco, Bisgano and two strikes from Luka Polic.
With top spot in the group all but wrapped up, the U-16s played at a dreary, tired 0-0 against SC Del Sol in Sunday to close out their testing weekend undefeated.
“The boys struggled to have a good competitive mentality knowing that we had already secured our position in the semifinal,” said head coach Brady Taylor. “SC Del Sol was very well organized defensively and because of this we struggled to be effective in the final third. Ultimately, we defended much better than we have in the past several matches, which has been one of our focuses in training so I it was a positive not to concede with the pressure that Del Sol brought late to the game.”
Barça Academy U-18
The U-18s wrapped up their group stage on Saturday with a 5-0 win over AZ Arsenal with two goals from Arjan Dosanjh, as well as goals from Tyler Hutchinson, Ryan Combe and Fidel Rangel-Gallardo to propel themselves into the knockout rounds.
Barca Academy then faced a stiff test against group winners ASA Tilmans in the quarterfinals on Sunday. The U-18s dominated possession and created a handful of chances in the first half, but weren’t able to beat the goalkeeper.
The second half proved to be much harder, as the players began fatiguing, and ASA Tilmans began to get a foothold in the game, but neither side were able to score. Matthew Conti was sent off for his second yellow card as time expired, and Barca Academy was forced to enter extra time down a man.
The overtime period ended scoreless and it came down to penalty kicks to decide which team would progress. Barca Academy scored four consecutive penalties and ASA Tilmans’ miss provided decisive as the U-18s won 4-2 on penalties.
“I think the mentality was good facing the quarterfinals,” said head coach Xavi Bravo. “We showed a good performance, dominating possession and having many chances to score. We are happy to qualify for the next round, I think is where the team deserves to be at considering all the issues that they have suffered during the season.”
Barça Academy’s USSDA teams return to Grande Sports World on Saturday to take on San Diego Surf. The Pre-Academy teams continue their State Cup campaign this weekend as well, with the U-16 playing on Friday against Sereno, on Saturday against Classic and on Sunday against SC Del Sol. The U-18s play on Saturday against AZ Arsenal, needing a result to progress to the next round.
U-16: Barça Academy 3 vs. Sereno 1 (Arizona State Cup)
U-16: Barça Academy 5 vs. Classic 1 (Arizona State Cup)
U-18: Barça Academy 5 vs. AZ Arsenal 0 (Arizona State Cup)
U-15: Barça Academy 1 vs. San Diego Surf 1
U-17: Barça Academy 3 vs. San Diego Surf 2
U-19: Barça Academy 4 vs. San Diego Surf 0
U-16: Barça Academy 0 vs. SC Del Sol 0 (Arizona State Cup)
U-18: Barça Academy 4 vs. ASA Tilmans 2 (Arizona State Cup)
Arizona State Cup – Semi-Finals
U-16: Barça Academy vs. Classic Premier | 6:00 PM | Grande Sports World
U-18: Barça Academy vs. FBSL Southwest| 8:00 PM | Grande Sports World
U-15: Barça Academy vs. Los Angeles United Futbol Academy | 3:30 PM | Olguin High School – Los Angeles, CA
Arizona State Cup – Final
U-16: Barça Academy vs. TBD | 11:45 AM | Grande Sports World
U-18: Barça Academy vs. TBD | 12:00 PM | Grande Sports World
U-15: Barça Academy vs. Strikers FC | 9:00 AM | Grande Sports World
U-17: Barça Academy vs. Strikers FC | 11:00 AM | Grande Sports World
U-19: Barça Academy vs. Strikers FC | 1:30 PM | Grande Sports World
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