Barça Academy’s U-15 and U-17 sides traveled to San Diego to take on Albion SC in US Development Academy league action. The U-17s produced one of their best displays of the year so far, but were unlucky in front of goal and could only manage a 0-0 draw. The U-15s fell 3-0 to Albion, who are eight points and one position ahead of Barça Academy in the table, but have played three more games.
The day kicked off with Barça Academy’s U-15s taking on Albion on a narrow field in San Diego. Typically fast starters, the U-15 got off to an uncharacteristic sloppy beginning.
“We did start a little slow and were sloppy in the middle of the field with our passes making some poor decisions on the ball,” said head coach Ged Quinn. “Albion showed a little more desire than us in the first half to win the 50-50 balls in key areas and the extremely narrow field allowed them to flood the central areas and break up our play.”
The familiarity and home field advantage for Albion paid off early. In the 15th minute, Barça Academy was caught in possession and forced into a bad giveaway in the midfield. Albion counterattacked ruthlessly and opened the scoring through midfielder Xavier Mong.
Barça Academy rebounded well from the setback though, and gradually gained a foothold in the match coming out of halftime.
“I thought in the second half we were much better though. We matched their desire and controlled the tempo of the game playing some excellent soccer at times,” said Quinn. “We created some great chances but ultimately couldn’t find the back of the net.”
The U-15s would be made to pay for not finding an equalizer while in the ascendancy. In the 53rd minute after a good spell of possession, Barça Academy were again caught on the counterattack when Mong grabbed his second goal of the match.
Barça Academy again fought back in an effort to bring the game back to life but was hit for a third goal on a controversial penalty call in the 78th minute. Nathan Hurtado appeared to make a great tackle to take the ball, but the referee blew his whistle, and Albion was able to end the match as a contest with a penalty spot, beating Barça Academy 3-0.
“I thought the penalty at the end was harsh as from my view it appeared Nathan had made a great tackle to win the ball but these things sometimes happen in soccer,” said Quinn. “Overall I was happy with how the guys responded today and we can look to improve upon the areas where we fell short as we prepare for the visit from Portland Timbers next weekend.”
After a disappointing result in the first match of the day, Barça Academy’s U-17s would put on a show in San Diego. Sean McCafferty’s side opened the match sharp in possession but would see chance after chance go begging.
“This was one of our best performances of the season, we dominated the game from start to finish both from a possession and creating opportunities standpoint,” said McCafferty. “3-0 or 4-0 would have been a fair reflection on how the game went in all honesty.”
Barça Academy moved the ball very well and forced Albion to defend in a low block in their own half of the field.
“Our ability to keep the ball was excellent throughout which forced Albion to defend the entire game and look to play long direct balls in an attempt to catch us on the counter however, our back line dealt with their dangerous #9 quite comfortably.”
In addition to the great build-up play, chances would come. The combination play and attacking movement from the U-17s were fantastic at times; they hit the inside of the post, had a ball cleared off the line and a goal controversially disallowed for offside from a rebound which looked like a good goal.
Ultimately, the siege on the Albion goal would end fruitless, and when the referee blew the whistle for full time, the score was still knotted at 0-0.
“Ultimately, we have done everything right today except put one in the back of the net,” said McCafferty. “The players were frustrated at the end as they knew the performance warranted all 3 points, but I was extremely proud of the performance and the goals and results will come if we continue to play with the quality we showed in this game.”
All three of Barça Academy U.S. Development Academy sides will be in action next Saturday at Grande Sports World against the Portland Timbers with the U-15s set to kick off at 9:00 a.m., the U-17s at 11:30 a.m., and the U-19s at 2 p.m.
U-15: Barça Academy 0 vs. Albion SC 3
U-17: Barça Academy 0 vs. Albion SC 0
Barça Academy U-15 vs. Portland Timbers SC U-15 | 9:00 am | Grande Sports World
Barça Academy U-17 vs. Portland Timbers SC U-17 | 11:30 am | Grande Sports World
Barça Academy U-19 vs. Portland Timbers SC U-19 | 2:00 pm | Grande Sports World
The U-17 and U-19 teams will travel to Lakewood Ranch, Florida to participate in the USSDA Winter Showcase November 30th – December 4th, game dates and times TBA.
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