Academy Recap: Barça Academy Teams Play Well on the Road
March 14, 2018
Nearly all Barça Academy teams were in action this weekend with the U-15, U-16, U-17 and U-19 sides taking the field. The U-16s traveled down to Tucson, Arizona to face Tucson Aztecs SC, where they cruised to a 3-0 win. While the Barça Academy USSDA teams traveled to Highland, California to take on FC Golden State on a wet and windy day in California. The U-15s, U-17s and U-19s had to battle the elements as well as their opponents but returned home with a good set of results in tow. The U-15s lost the opening match of the day by a score of 2-0 in a match in which field conditions made it tough to play the brand of soccer which Barça Academy employs. The U-17s followed up with a 2-1 win, with Christian Ortiz scoring the winning goal in the 89th minute of the match. The U-19s wrapped up the day with an 89th minute winner of their own, scored by Zarek Jakubowski, to secure a 1-0 win.
Barça Academy U-16
The Barça Academy U-16s kicked off the day in an early 9:00AM match against Tucson Aztecs SC. Needing a win to hold their first place position in the Arizona State League standings, the U-16s started the game brightly. They created good chances in the first half but struggled to put those chances away until several minutes before the break when Caden Booth had a tidy finish inside the box.
The second half saw Luka Polic, Jake Himelstein, Caleb Suh and Nick Bisagno come on who immediately impacted the game. Barça Academy continued with dangerous possession of the ball and saw two goals put away by Suh and Bisagno in the second half. Barça Academy went on to shutout Tucson Aztecs SC by a score of 3-0.
“The boys continued with the confidence they had gained from Vegas, and showed a great display of the “Barça Way” with dangerous possession in the attacking third and close to 90% of possession on the ball throughout the match,” said U-16 coach Brady Taylor. “Our focus was to win so that we can focus on our bigger goal of winning the league, which is now in our hands if we beat Sereno this next weekend. I am very happy with the way the boys played, now we just need to be consistent and play the same way in our next match and we should walk away with the league title.”
Barça Academy U-15
The Barça Academy’s U-15s kicked off competition in California on a cold, wet day in overall unpleasant playing conditions. The weather and the state of the field made Barça Academy’s short passing and pressing game difficult to employ and they quickly fell behind, conceding the opening goal in the sixth minute.
The U-15s would have a great chance to equalize later in the first half, but FC Golden State’s keeper managed to pull off a very good save when Juan Verdugo was given a clear-cut chance.
Barça Academy would create two more chances before the halftime interval but were unable to beat the goalkeeper and entered the break down by a score of 1-0.
The second half kicked off with Barça Academy pushing to level the scores. The U-15s began to pressure FC Golden State. In the 67th minute, Barça Academy was punished for trying to play out of the back under pressure and conceded another goal.
Barça Academy continued to push to get themselves back into the match, but when full time was up, the score still remained at 2-0.
“The conditions in this game made it difficult for us to play the brand of soccer that we would like. I thought the guys battled well throughout and I can’t fault their effort in tough conditions,” said coach Ged Quinn. “The result could have been very different had we managed to be a little more clinical in front of the goal here.”
“Ultimately they punished us for a couple of mistakes that we made during the game when trying to play out from the back under pressure. We need to eliminate these mistakes moving forward in order for us to start picking up more positive results.”
Barça Academy U-17
Next into the downpour of rain were the U-17s, who were looking to bounce back after they suffered their first loss since mid-November last weekend. The team was able to adjust to the conditions more quickly than their younger counterparts, but much like the previous match, fell behind after conceding an early goal.
Despite going down a goal earlier, the U-17s played very well, highlighted by an excellent showing from Matthew Hoppe. The striker showed off his wide-ranging skillset with some excellent hold-up play, which produced chance after chance. Barça Academy still trailed but felt as though they should have scored three or four goals in the opening exchanges.
In the 32nd minute, the equalizing goal did come and to no one’s surprise, it was Hoppe who scored it, extending his personal run to six straight matches with a goal.
Barça Academy entered the halftime break with the score at 1-1 and came out looking to build on a very good first half display that was only missing a clinical touch in front of goal.
The U-17s pushed for the winning goal but were made to wait until the very end of the match to get it. Christian Ortiz scored in dramatic fashion in the 89th minute to secure the win and all three points for Barça Academy.
“The guys adjusted to the field and weather conditions well in this game,” said Quinn. “We created a number of opportunities and the only thing missing was more goals – realistically we should have been 3 or 4 up in the first half and been in full control of the game. The guys reacted very well though and I thought we got the result that the guys deserved with a great goal from Christain Ortiz in the last minute of the game.”
Barça Academy U-19
The last match of the day featured the U-19s battling the elements as well as FC Golden State. Much like the previous two matches, the weather and the field conditions made it difficult for Barça Academy to implement their style of play.
The U-19s adjusted well to the adversity and created a handful of chances in the first half which should have seen them go into the break with a lead but were unable to convert and reached halftime with the score a 0-0.
Barça Academy picked up right where they left off in the second half, pressing FC Golden State high up the field and playing a majority of the match in their opponent’s defensive third.
It seemed as though the U-19s would not be able to convert their pressure and good attacking play into a win as the minutes ticked away, but much like in the previous match, Barça Academy scored the winning goal in the 89th minute through Zarek Jakubowski.
“The weather and field conditions made it difficult to implement our style of play but the guys adjusted well and competed through the entire 90 minutes of the game,” said coach Daniel Antunez. “It was a game in which the guys demonstrated character and heart to obtain a result under very difficult conditions. I am very proud of the group and I believe it will help us going into next week’s match.”
U-16: Barça Academy 3 vs. Tucson Aztecs FC 0
U-15: Barça Academy 0 vs. FC Golden State 2
U-17: Barça Academy 2 vs. FC Golden State 1
U-19: Barça Academy 1 vs. FC Golden State 0
U-18: Barça Academy vs. Arizona ASA USA | 8:00 PM | Reach 11 Sports Complex; Field 10
U-15: Barça Academy vs. Pateadores | 9:00 AM | Grande Sports World; Field 7
U-17: Barça Academy vs. Pateadores | 11:00 AM | Grande Sports World; Field 7
U-19: Barça Academy vs. Pateadores| 1:30 PM | Grande Sports World; Field 7
U-16: Barça Academy vs. Sereno | 11:30 AM | Reach 11 Sports Complex; Field 17
U-18: Barça Academy vs. FC Bravo | 9:00 AM | Reach 11 Sports Complex; Field 7
U-15: Barça Academy vs. Nomads SC | 2:30 PM | University of California – San Diego; Field
U-17: Barça Academy vs. Nomads SC | 5:30 PM | University of California – San Diego; Field
U-19: Barça Academy vs. Nomads SC | 8:00 PM | University of California – San Diego; Field
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