Academy Recap: Barça Academy U16s Win 2018 Arizona State Cup Championship in OT Thriller
May 8, 2018
In the Academy’s inaugural year, the Barça Academy’s U-16s claim the Arizona State Cup Championship title! On Sunday, they beat Tuzos Academy in a dramatic overtime penalty shootout to win the Arizona State Cup after beating Classic FC 3-1 in the semi-finals two days earlier. The U-18s also played in the final weekend of State Cup, they lost 3-1 to FBSL Southwest FC in the semi-finals on Friday night, but ended the season on a high note with a 5-2 win over SC Del Sol on Sunday to place third in the Arizona State Cup Championships. The Barça Academy’s U-15s were also in action over the weekend as they faced LA United Futbol Academy in a USSDA match where they lost 3-0 on the road.
Arizona State Cup
The final weekend of State Cup was played at Grande Sports World, presenting both Barça Academy teams a home-field advantage in their semi-final match-ups.
Barça Academy U-16 vs. Classic SC (Semi-Final)
The U-16s were first to play and quickly took advantage of it against Classic FC, scoring the opening goal just nine minutes into the match when Caleb Suh played a through ball which cut open the defense and found the run of Drew David, who nutmegged the goalkeeper at close range to put Barça Academy into the lead.
Ten minutes later, Barça Academy doubled their lead as Suh turned from provider to scorer. He drove forward with the ball and when he wasn’t pressured, he released a low shot from the edge of the area which beat the goalkeeper and found the side-netting.
Barça Academy took a two-goal lead into halftime and seemed fairly comfortable in the match. That all changed in the 64th minute, when Classic FC cut the deficit in half with a long-range shot that deceived goalkeeper Nathan Schnur and flew into the top corner.
The U-16s would make the game safe in the 75th minute with a wondergoal from Caden Booth. The winger took on two men before curling a shot into the top corner.
Barça Academy’s U-16s saw out the rest of the game and advanced to the final on Sunday against Tuzos Academy.
Barça Academy U-16 vs. Tuzos Soccer Academy (Championship)
The final was a tightly contested affair, broken up by several water breaks with temperatures soaring due to the 11:45 PM kickoff time.
Chances were hard to come by in the opening minutes of the match for both sides but Barça Academy settled into the match and carved out chances for Guillermo Lopez, Drew David and Alejandro Carrasco late in the first half but none of the trio could beat the goalkeeper.
Tuzos scored the opening goal of the match in the 32nd minute, and saw out the remainder of the half to take the lead into the interval.
However, once the second half kicked off, Barça Academy immediately got back into the game with the equalizing goal. Alejandro Carrasco scored just one minute into the half to level the score.
The remainder of the half played out in a tense, tactical manner with both sides having their share of chances on goal. Though the last chance fell to Tuzos, who were denied by a flying save from goalkeeper Nathan Schnur five minutes from full time. Schnur’s save ensured the teams reached fulltime still tied.
“In the first half Tuzos wanted to win more than we did,” said coach Brady Taylor. “However in the second half we came out and changed the game and our attitude. We had quite a few chances to score in the match, but their keeper did well to keep them in the game.”
Despite a few very decent chances in overtime, neither Barça Academy or Tuzos could find a winning goal and the match proceeded to a dramatic penalty shootout.
Barça Academy missed their first penalty kick as the Tuzos goalkeeper made yet another great save diving to his right. However, Barça Academy players weren’t rattled by falling behind early, they showed great composure and went a perfect 4 for 4 for the remainder of the penalty shootout.
The man of the hour was Nathan Schnur, Barça Academy’s goalkeeper, who saved two of Tuzos’ PKs and then stepped up to take the final PK himself. He aimed bottom left and hit the back of the net with the ball flying past the fully stretched arms of the Tuzos keeper for the win.. at least everyone thought. The PK was immediately disallowed for a whistle technicality resulting in a re-kick. This proved to be no problem for Schnur as he would confidently step up and again beat the Tuzos keeper, this time with a fierce shot to the opposite side of the net, right into the upper 90! Barça Academy had won the Arizona State Cup Championship with this shot and the sideline erupted in celebration.
“It was a tough match for both teams late in extra time due to the heat, but ultimately we were able to win in penalties,” said Taylor. “We were brave, focused and hard working. I couldn’t be any more proud of each and every one of those boys.”
The win crowned Barça Academy’s U-16s State Champions and punched their ticket to compete in the Far West Regional Championships in Hawaii in June.
“Since day one our goal as a team has been to win state cup and head to regionals in Hawaii. Today we accomplished that goal.”
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-18 vs. FBSL Southwest SC (Semi-Final)
The U-18s semi-final was the last game of the evening on Friday, and much like the U-16s before them, Barça Academy got off to a quick start against FBSL Southwest FC.
They dominated the opening exchanges and in the 13th minute, Ryan Combe’s pass created space for Quinton Brown and from distance, he drove a shot into the top corner to put Barça Academy into the lead.
The scores would be level again just seven minutes later, when a mistake at the back left a FBSL Southwest attacker 1-on-1 with goalkeeper Djibril Doumbia, who couldn’t prevent the equalizer.
Barça Academy did well to respond, and created chances for Sterling Watring in the 24th minute, but he was denied by the post.
The U-18s would regret not taking their chances in the 30th minute, when FBSL Southwest FC took the lead from a long shot from outside the box.
The remainder of the half played out without any major chances, and the second half played out in a similar fashion. The U-18s created chances for Brown, Hutchinson and Watring, but couldn’t find an equalizer and were forced to push more numbers forward as the match wore on.
Barça Academy was ultimately punished for this, conceding a third goal in the 90th minute after FBSL Southwest FC counterattacked well when Barça Academy had pushed players forward. Barça Academy fell 3-1 to FBSL Southwest FC and fell out of championship contention.
Barça Academy U-18 vs. SC Del Sol (Championship Consolation – 3rd Place Match)
Barça Academy U-18s wrapped up their season with a 5-2 win over SC Del Sol in the third-place match.
Bernardo Padilla opened the scoring just five minutes into the match, but SC Del would equalize 25 minutes later to bring the match level.
Padilla would score a second goal in the 30th minute, but SC Del Sol scored five minutes later to once again level the score.
From that point on, however, Barça Academy was dominant. Padilla scored again to get his hattrick, and Matthew Conti added two more goals to give Barça Academy a 5-2 advantage at full time.
“Our boys showed maturity and faced the game with a good and positive attitude in the consolation match” said coach Xavi Bravo. “Considering the circumstances, this season was a huge achievement for the U18s.”
Barça Academy U-15
Barça Academy’s U-15s also played last weekend, traveling to Los Angeles to take on LA United Futbol Academy. The U-15s struggled in the match, conceding goals in the 39th, 70th and 73rd minutes en route to a 3-0 loss.
“I think today we weren’t at our best. We struggled in the first half going against the wind to connect our passes and play out from the back giving the ball away on too many occasions,” said coach Ged Quinn. “We made some changes at half time and I thought at times in the second half we played some better soccer with the wind on our backs but struggled to create much in the way of goal scoring opportunities.”
Next up for Barça Academy is a visit from Strikers FC this weekend. The U-15s kick off at Grande Sports World at 9 am, followed by the U-17s at 11 am and the U-19s at 1:30 pm.
Arizona State Cup – Semi-Finals
U-16: Barça Academy 3 vs. Classic Premier 1
U-18: Barça Academy 1 vs. FBSL Southwest 3
U-15: Barça Academy 0 vs. Los Angeles United Futbol Academy 3
Arizona State Cup – Final
U-16: Barça Academy 2 vs. Tuzos Academy 1 (4-3 in OT PK shootout)
U-18: Barça Academy 5 vs. SC del Sol 2
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
U-15: Barça Academy vs. Nomads SC | 9:00 AM | Grande Sports World
U-17: Barça Academy vs. Nomads SC | 11:00 AM | Grande Sports World
U-19: Barça Academy vs. Nomads SC | 1:30 PM | Grande Sports World
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