Academy Recap: Barça Academy vs LA Galaxy Academy
April 9, 2018
Barça Academy faced a tough task as they hosted LA Galaxy Academy. The visitors came to town with all three teams sitting near the top of the Southwest Conference table in playoff positions. The U-15s kicked off the day with one of their best performances of the year but fell victim to a pair of counterattacking goals in a 2-0 loss. The U-17s were next to the field and lost 4-1 after conceding all four goals from set pieces. The U-19s played last and despite the best efforts of Daniel Corona, who scored with a stunning cycle kick, LA Galaxy Academy completed the sweep with a 4-1 win.
Barça Academy U-15
The action between Barça Academy and LA Galaxy Academy’s U-15 sides kicked off at Copper Sky Recreation Complex in Maricopa. Barça Academy started the game well, with both sides pressing and looking to play out through the midfield.
Barça Academy goalkeeper Danis Cajic was the standout player in the opening minutes of the game. He was first called into action in the 18th minute and made a big save down to his left after the ball fell to a LA Galaxy attacker in the box.
He was next called into action five minutes later when one of the attackers from LA Galaxy Academy was played through 1-v-1. Cajic made himself big and smothered the ball at close range, snuffing out the danger.
Cajic was finally beaten in the 28th minute, but not after making a pair of saves first. Barça Academy wasn’t able to properly clear the danger and eventually, LA Galaxy would get on the end of the ball and tuck away into an empty net to bring the score to 1-0.
That score line would hold through the halftime whistle. Barça Academy came out far more aggressively in the second half. Caden Clark, Ronan Kratt, Dylan Akau and Andres Zavaleta all had chances in the opening five minutes of the second half, but none could convert.
The best chance of the match came in the 75th minute when Kratt was played through on goal. Kratt did well to hold off both central defenders with his body, which gave him the opportunity to go through on goal, but his shot rattled off the crossbar with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Barça Academy kept pushing to find an equalizer but were caught out on a counterattack in the 76th minute and conceded again to essentially end the game.
“I think a 2-0 score line is a little bit harsh on us,” said head coach Ged Quinn. “I thought we more than matched them today, and at times brought them down very well. I still think there are a lot of things we can do better, and if we take our chances it’s a different game.”
Barça Academy U-17
Next up at Copper Sky Recreation Complex were the U-17s, who were looking to close the gap on LA Galaxy Academy in the table, who were only one place in front.
LA Galaxy would open the scoring from a set piece in the 8th minute, but Barça Academy would respond through a headed goal from Matthew Hoppe in the 17th minute.
Barça Academy would get a big chance to take the lead in the 23rd minute, when a deflected pass put Hoppe clean through on goal for his second of the match, but the LA Galaxy Academy goalkeeper came up with a huge save to keep the match level at 1-1.
The U-17s would rue that miss, and five minutes later, they were punished when LA Galaxy Academy would again take the lead from a corner kick.
Barça Academy fought to get back into the game, and created a couple of half-chances, but conceded a third goal, again from a set piece, right on the stroke of halftime. The U-17s entered the break down 3-1.
The second half was a far cagier affair, as Barça Academy attempted to limit LA Galaxy Academy’s threat going forward with good possession play, but chances were hard to come by. Galaxy would round off the game with another set piece goal in the 73rd minute, and the match would end at 4-1.
“We didn’t match their intensity from the start and gave away far too many set pieces and we paid the price,” said head coach Sean McCafferty. “We responded well to their first goal, but ultimately if you concede four goals from set pieces you aren’t going to win many games.”
Barça Academy U-19
Barça Academy’s U-19s were last to play on the day, though the first half their match against LA Galaxy Academy was stunted by a long delay. In the 7th minute, Barça Academy captain Austin Amer lined up a powerful free kick from distance which eluded a crowd and crashed in the Galaxy Academy goalkeeper’s face, prompting a long injury delay. The delay took its toll on both sides, as the first half played out as a fragmented affair.
LA Galaxy Academy opened the scoring in the 28th minute, but the highlight of the first half was undoubted Daniel Corona’s spectacular equalizer in the 42nd minute. The Barça Academy striker drew inspiration from Cristiano Ronaldo’s bicycle kick in the Champions League last week and pulled off a finish just as jaw-dropping. With a cross floating seemingly behind him, Corona elevated and connected cleanly with a bicycle kick which left the goalkeeper standing helplessly.
Barça Academy took the 1-1 score line into the break but struggled upon return to the field for the second half. LA Galaxy Academy scored in the 63rd, 70th and 82nd minutes to bring the final score to 4-1.
“We’re obviously disappointed with the result,” said head coach Daniel Antunez. “I think the first half was pretty even, but second half they made few changes and got the momentum and converted the few chances they had.”
Barça Academy now faces two weeks and three matches on the road. The U-15s, U-17s and U-19s take on Arsenal FC away next weekend, then travel to San Jose to take on Earthquakes Academy and Silicon Valley Soccer Academy the following weekend.
U-15: Barça Academy 0 vs. LA Galaxy Academy 2
U-17: Barça Academy 1 vs. LA Galaxy Academy 4
U-19: Barça Academy 1 vs. LA Galaxy Academy 4
U-15: Barça Academy vs. Arsenal FC | 10:00 AM* | Galway Downs Academy – Temecula, CA
U-17: Barça Academy vs. Arsenal FC | 12:00 PM* | Galway Downs Academy – Temecula, CA
U-19: Barça Academy vs. Arsenal FC | 2:30 PM* | Galway Downs Academy – Temecula, CA
U-18: Barça Academy vs. Tanque Verde | 2:00 PM | Tucson Kino – Tucson, Arizona (Arizona State Cup)
U-15: Barça Academy vs. San Jose Earthquakes | 1:15 PM* | Evergreen Soccer Turf – San Jose, CA
U-17: Barça Academy vs. San Jose Earthquakes | 3:15 PM* | Evergreen Soccer Turf – San Jose, CA
U-19: Barça Academy vs. San Jose Earthquakes | 5:30 PM* | Evergreen Soccer Turf – San Jose, CA
U-16: Barça Academy vs. Excel | 3:00 PM | Tucson Kino – Scottsdale Sports Complex, Tucson, Arizona (Arizona State Cup)
* Pacific Time
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