21 Sep Barça Academy Gains Momentum on the Road
Barça Academy gained momentum as they won 4 of 5 road games this weekend.
The Pre-Academy teams entered this weekend with momentum from last weekend. The U-18s kicked off on Friday in an Arizona Premier League contest. Ending last weekend with a win, the U-18s picked up right where they left off and captured a comeback win over Arizona Legacy. The U-18s had a great half and were the more dangerous team, but nonetheless went into halftime tied at 1-1. Legacy then scored against the run of play and went up 2-1 early on in the second half. With time winding down though, Barça Academy scored two unanswered goals in a great comeback win over Legacy, beating them 3-2.
The undefeated U-16s came into Sunday’s game with confidence from last weekend. With a tournament championship under their belts, the U-16s were ready to improve their unbeaten record. Nick Bisagno scored a goal early in the first half that put Barça Academy up 1-0. After several missed scoring opportunities, Barça Academy sustained their 1-0 lead at halftime. Unsatisfied with their first half play, Barça Academy came out the gates hot in the second half. Sam Thompson, who was subbed into the game at the half, connected on two goals that ultimately put SC Del Sol away 3-0. Barça Academy U-16s improved their undefeated record to 4-0-1.
The Academy teams traveled to Santa Ana, CA for their first away trip of the inaugural season to face Southwest Division rivals, the Strikers FC. The U-15s opened the weekend on a clear, sunny, California day. Eager for their first DA win, the U-15s took it to the Strikers in the first half. In the 23rd minute, Edwin Arias took a great strike from distance that stunned the Strikers’ keeper and put Barça Academy up, 1-0 going into halftime. After the half, the Strikers increased their offensive and defensive pressure but Barça Academy stayed poised and finished the game out with a 1-0 win. “It was great for the guys to get the first win of the season,” said Coach Ged Quinn. “The players have worked extremely hard during pre-season training on our style of play and it was great to see some of that work translate into the performance on the field. There are lots of positives that we will take from the game but also a lot of lessons to be learned as we prepare for a doubleheader trip to Northern California next weekend.”
Next, the U-17s took the field, also eager for their DA first win after dropping two close games in the prior weeks. Barça Academy fell 4-5 to the Seattle Sounders in Week One and 0-1 to FC Golden State in Week Two despite dominating both games in terms of possession and chances. The U-17s took a whopping 22 shots but could not convert last weekend against FCGS, but this weekend proved to be a completely different story in their 7-4 commanding win over the Strikers.
After struggling to convert last weekend, the U-17s found confidence and relief in the 7th minute when Cameron Fisher scored the first goal of the game off a beautiful pass from Roberto Molina. The next goal of the game came in the 23rd minute by the Strikers, equalizing at 1-1. Barça Academy responded with three huge back-to-back goals in the 27th, 28th and 29th minute. In the 27th minute, Molina tapped in the rebound after a strong shot from Hoppe was saved by Strikers keeper. Max Garcia (28th minute) and Matthew Hoppe (29th minute) added their names to the scoresheet, extending Barça Academy’s lead to 4-1. With a commanding 3 goal lead, Barça Academy players let their concentration drop in the last 15 minutes of the first half. A couple of individual mistakes lead to two penalties for the Strikers in the 32nd and 45th minute to cut the lead to 4-3 at the half.
Barça Academy came out roaring in the second half. Max Garcia started the madness in the 52nd minute with his second goal of the game on a Jake LaCava assist. LaCava then recorded his second assist of the game after he found Pedro Mondragon in the 53rd minute on a beautifully executed set piece. Mondragon headed the ball into the back of the net, making the score 6-3, Barça Academy. Barça Academy struck again in the 76th minute, Henry Tapper crossed the ball from the left side of the field, Michael Scavuzzo then put his skills on display as he footed the ball, controlled it, turned and stunned the GK with a zipping shot into the bottom right corner of the goal, giving Barça Academy a 7-3 lead. The last goal of the game came in the 90th minute, this time by the Strikers, but it was too late. Barça Academy U-17s secured their first DA win of the season. “It was very pleasing to see the hard work that the players have been putting in on a daily basis be rewarded and the only real difference from the previous league games was how clinical we were in front of goal,” Technical Director Sean McCafferty said.
“We have been very happy with the progress of the U17 team, especially in possession as we are controlling games for long periods and creating lots of scoring chances which is a sign that we are on the right path. We still have a lot of work to do from a defensive standpoint and our preparation for the upcoming games will reflect this. Eliminating individual mistakes will be the first step to conceding less goals and we knew this would be the case early in the season as we continue to implement the Barça style of play. We are looking forward to our next games and putting in another good performance.” – Sean McCafferty
The U-19s capped off the weekend in Santa Ana in the final game against the Strikers FC. With two wins on the weekend for Barça Academy, the pressure was on the U-19s to complete the triplet and bring home all 9 points. The teams were evenly matched with great play for the majority of the first half. The Strikers took a jump on Barça Academy as they scored in the 27th minute. Barça Academy looked to equalize but could not capitalize on their offensive efforts. The Strikers then scored again right before the halftime whistle to take a 2-0 lead into halftime. Barça Academy made a few substitutions and picked up their tempo in the second half. They created many goal scoring opportunities but once again, could not convert. The Strikers went up 3-0 in the 64th minute on a defensive breakdown by Barça Academy. Six minutes later, Barça Academy pulled one back after an own goal by a Strikers defender, but could not find the net again for the rest of the game. The Strikers struck for the final time as the clock wound down in the 90th minute, defeating Barça Academy 4-1. McCafferty stated, “We feel the scoreline did not reflect the game, as in the second half we had a lot of the ball and created many goal scoring opportunities but unfortunately a soft goal [in the second half] really put the game beyond us. We possessed the ball really well second half and the positives we can take from the game is that our shape and style of play are improving each week but we need to improve in both boxes as that is where the games are being won and lost. We will be working hard this week to improve in these areas as we look to get back to winning ways this coming weekend”.
U-19: Barça Academy 1 vs. Strikers FC 4 | September 16, 2017
U-17: Barça Academy 7 vs. Strikers FC 4 | September 16, 2017
U-15: Barça Academy 1 vs. Strikers FC 0 | September 16, 2017
U-18: Barça Academy 3 vs. Arizona Legacy 2 | September 15, 2017
U-16: Barça Academy 3 vs. Sc Del Sol 0 | September 17, 2017
Barça Academy U-15 vs. Ballistic United FC U-15 | 1:00 p.m. PT, Patelco Sports Complex at Bernal County Park
Barça Academy U-15 vs. Sacramento Republic FC U-15 | 10:00 a.m. PT, Cosumnes River College
Barça Academy U-17 vs. Sacramento Republic FC U-17 | 12:30 a.m. PT, Cosumnes River College
Barça Academy U-19 vs. Sacramento Republic FC U-19 | 3:00 p.m. PT, Cosumnes River College
Barça Academy U-16 vs. Avondale United U-16 | 2:25 p.m. PT, Scottsdale Sports Complex #4
Barça Academy U-18 vs. Bravo U-18 | 2:20 p.m. PT, Grande Sports World Field #4
Barça Academy will have a bi-weekend September 29 – October 1 and will return to action October 7th at home against the Santa Cruz Breakers Academy. The games will be held at Grande Sports World on Fields 7 and 8 beginning at 9:00 a.m. (PT).
Denis Silva, Academy Technical Director
In the third weekend of competition, our teams showed evidence of general improvement. The coaches are doing a great job with their teams, teaching the Barça style and focusing on the understanding that the Barça style of play is priority over winning. Once our players have a general idea and basic notions of what to do and what not do with the ball; they will run less, the ball will do the running for them and their chances to score will multiply.
This is what we are aiming for and what we have been working towards for the last seven weeks. This weekend, for the first time I saw our players & coaches enjoying the style altogether. When it all begins to flow more naturally, then the results will then appear on its own. I can say I am happy with the evolution of the teams, not because we won 4 of the 5 matches we competed in this weekend, but because I saw that the teams were understanding the game and controlling possession of the ball.
I don’t see standings or numbers, my attention will be focused on the development of our players, the understanding of the game, the right position on the field, the different ways to compete, etc. As a result, the performance of every team will improve. Once we play as we need to play, Barça Academy will be where it deserves to be. This is not an easy path to success, but the way we are doing it is exciting for everyone involved.
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