Barça Academy’s U-16 side went top of the table in the Arizona State League after a 3-1 win over AZ United Latinos. Brady Taylor’s side avenged their only loss of the season so far with two dramatic late goals to snatch all three points.
Chances came early in the match for Barça Academy, who looked dangerous in the early goings without really hitting top form. The first opportunity of the match fell to Nick Bisagno in the ninth minute, when the winger received the ball in space out wide and drove with pace at the defense. He was granted a bit of good fortune as an attempted tackle only served to put the ball in behind the defender, but he fired wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Six minutes later, Guillermo Lopez had an opportunity from a free kick after Drew David was fouled 25 yards out from goal. Lopez’s curling effort wrong-footed the goalkeeper and sent him stumbling the wrong way, but did not have the dip to squeeze under the crossbar.
In the 28th minute, intricate attacking play led to another chance for Barça Academy. David crossed to the back post for Bisagno, whose one-touch layoff found an unmarked Ulrich Schmidt at the edge of the penalty area. Schmidt’s effort was on target and stung the palms of the goalkeeper as he pushed it over.
Bisagno had another opportunity to go 1-v-1 with the goalkeeper in the dying seconds of the first half, but feeling pressure both left and right, wasn’t able to muster a shot with the pace to trouble the man in goal.
Plenty of chances, and goalkeeper Nathan Schnur was a spectator, but no breakthrough goal. However, Brady Taylor was not happy with the performance.
“Honestly, we created a bit, but we played really poorly in the entire first half,” said Taylor. “They put the pressure on us and that’s what really got these guys going.”
That pressure would come in the 65th minute, in response to Nick Bisagno’s excellent solo goal in the 51st. With Barça Academy leading, United Latinos slipped a player in behind the defensive line and drew out goalkeeper Felix Schmidt. The attacker was able to get to the ball before Schmidt, and though he made himself as big as possible, he was unable to keep out a poked effort which would trickle over the line for the equalizer.
United Latinos had gotten themselves back into the game with their first notable chance, and Barça Academy had to respond if they wanted to claim the top spot in the group going into the holiday break.
The response from Brady Taylor side was immediate, as the speed of passing and build-up play was increased. Jimmy Glaab would put the pressure on with a long shot three minutes from time, but he couldn’t find the target.
This set the stage for Guillermo Lopez’s stoppage time stunner to win the game. With time running out, Barça Academy played short out of a corner kick and the ball made its way to Lopez, who smashed one into the top corner to take the lead.
Barça Academy would add a third goal for insurance just moments later, when Alejandro Carrasco tracked a clearance into the channel, won the ball and drove at goal from a wide area. Bearing down on the goalkeeper, he unselfishly squared the ball for Ulrich Schmidt to tap in with the whole goal to aim at, sealing the win.
“Obviously we talked about how it shouldn’t take [conceding the equalizer] to play to our potential, but ultimately it did, and we did rise to the occasion, so that was something that we learned from today and something that I think we can step away with,” said Taylor. “It was important to step in and make a statement, and that’s exactly what we did.”
“[The previous meeting] was our only loss of the season, whether it be friendly, league, tournament, so it was really important for us because this one put us on top of the league table over them.”
The U-16s are now 9-1-0 heading into the holiday break, they will resume APL league play in March.
U-15: Barça Academy 3 vs. AZ United Latinos 1 | Grande Sports World
Barça Academy U-15 vs. Albion SC U-15 | 1:30 pm | Francis Parker School – San Diego, CA
Barça Academy U-17 vs. Albion SC U-17 | 3:30 pm | Francis Parker School – San Diego, CA
The U-15, U-17 and U-19 teams will all be in action on November 18th at home vs. the Portland Timbers for their final game of the month. The U-15s and U-17s will resume play on December 9th at home vs. Albion.
Want to be apart of Barça Academy? Register for camps at:
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @barcaacademyaz for all your Barça Academy news and updates.