February 23, 2018
Barca Academy U-16 and U-18 sides traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada to compete in the City of Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup International Showcase that took place February 17-19. The U-16s finished the weekend with a 5-1 record, they shutout four teams, only conceded two goals on the weekend and won the U-16 “Chapman Auto Group” Championship! The U-18s competed up an age group and played in the U-19 “Chapman Auto Group – East” bracket, they finished the tournament with a 2-2 record after getting off to a hot 2-0 start on day one.
Both teams looking to get back into the swing of things, playing in their first tournament of the new year, the U-16s opened Barca Academy’s tournament play on Saturday, February 17th vs. Bellevue Heron Venom (Washington). Bellevue scored the opening goal of the game in the 2nd minute on a Barca Academy defensive mix-up. Barca Academy quickly responded with a goal in the 5th minute. Both teams off to a slow start, the score remained deadlocked at 0-0 at the half. Bellevue scored a second goal right out of halftime, in the 33rd minute. Barca Academy answered in the 39th minute, when Alejandro Carrasco beat his defender and played a lovely cross to Drew David who tapped in the goal, leveling the score, 2-2. Barca Academy would take the led a minute later, this time Guillermo Lopez providing service to Carrasco who played it past keeper. Seven minutes later, Barca Academy put the game out of reach with on a brilliant play by Nick Bisagno who beat three defenders with great skill and slid the ball to Luka Polic in the box who tapped it past the keeper. Barca Academy defeat Bellevue Heron Venom by a score of 4-2.
The U -18s kicked off across town at 11:20AM vs. Texas powerhouse, Solar SC who was ranked the #2 team in Texas. Barca Academy’s, Matthew Conti, scored the opening and only goal of the game in the 7th minute. Conti saw another chance at the goal just before the half when defender, Quben Gaskins made a great run down the field, passing four defenders and laid the ball to an isolated Conti who’s shot was saved by the Solar keeper. The second half went without incident on both sides and Barca Academy came out on top, beating Solar SC 1-0.
The U-16s kicked off their second game on Saturday at 4:00PM against Heat FC (Nevada). Both teams off to a very slow start, Barca Academy carved out a chance in the 9th minute on a run down the field where Caden Booth beat the offside trap and headed the bouncing ball just wide of the goal. The teams entered the halftime even at 0-0. Barca Academy conceded a goal shortly after the half in the 33rd minute. Down 0-1, Barca Academy played with a sense of urgency in search for an equalizer. Barca Academy would have several chances on goal in the final 10 minutes of the game but couldn’t find the back of the net and lost a nail biter to Heat FC, 1-0, finishing the day with one win and a loss.
Barca Academy’s last match of the day came at 7:20pm as the U-18s took on Sport Evolution (Ecuador). Under the lights and in cold conditions, Barca Academy dominated this game from start to finish. Sterling Watring carved out the opening chance as he split two defenders and found Conti in stride who’s corner shot was deflected by the keeper. Barca Academy would later open scoring in the 24th minute when Emilio Echerivel took a great shot from 25 yards that was deflected by the keeper but tapped in for the goal by a waiting Ryan Combe. Four minutes later in the 29th minute, Nabil Laroussi made a great run through the middle and found Tyler Hutchinson in space who finished with a skillful diagonal ball to the bottom left corner of the goal. Barca Academy led Sport Evolution 2-0 at the half and applied more pressure on Sport Evolution in the second half. Barca Academy’s third goal of the game came right out at the break of the half when Combe ran onto a through ball and split the ball past the advancing keeper in the 32nd minute. In the 46th minute, Hutchinson made a great run on the right side, got to the ball before the advancing keeper and found Arjan Dosanjih in the box who back heeled the ball to Watring for an open tap in, doubling their advantage to 4-0. Minutes before the final whistle, in the 58th minute, Combe blasted a powerful shot from the edge of the box, the Sport Evolution keeper could not control and Dosanjih tapped in the rebound. Barca Academy shutout Sport Evolution 5-0 and ended the day 2-0.
Both teams completing Saturday’s games with favorable results, they were both in line to compete in the tournament quarterfinals contingent on the results of their first game on Sunday.
With the goal of a championship on their mind, the U-16s who had lost a game the day before, shaped up and shutout La Roca (Utah – RH) 3-0 on Sunday morning. Barca Academy opened scoring in the 8th minute when Caleb Suh tracked down a free kick and found Carrasco in the box who slid the ball past the keeper. La Roca had a shot on goal minutes later that was saved by keeper, Nathan Schnur. Barca Academy then scored a second goal in the 24th minute when Eduardo Serrano’s low bouncing service from the right corner found Carrasco who controlled and smashed the ball into the upper 90. Barca Academy lead 2-0 at the interval and put the game away in the 44th minute when Bisagno drove down the left line and played the ball across the box to Garrett Oachs who’s volley beat the keeper, extending their led to 3-0 and putting the game out of reach for La Roca. The remainder of the game devoid of goals from either side and Barca Academy secured their spot in the tournament quarterfinals that was held later that day.
The U-18s who were undefeated in the tournament faced La Roca (Utah – SO), another undefeated team at 2:00PM on Sunday, in a battle that would determine who would advance to the quarterfinals. In unfavorable and very windy conditions, it was a very one-sided game in the first half as La Roca dominated possession. La Roca’s opening chance came in the 10th minute when a low shot headed for the bottom left corner of the goal was deflected by Barca Academy’s keeper, Djbril Doumbia, the deflection cleared the box but La Roca picked up the rebound and fortunately for Barca Academy the second shot was wide of the goal. La Roca would then open scoring in the 21st minute directly off a set piece from the top of the box. La Roca controlling possession, Barca Academy did not have a single chance in the first half and trailed 0-1 at the half. Barca Academy started the second half with high intensity, but an unfortunate play, resulting in a red card for Zachary Fish, granted La Roca a penalty kick where they extended their lead to 2-0. The tides turned as Barca Academy controlled possession in the second half, their first chance of the game came in the 35th minute when Combe beat three players in the attacking third, slid the ball to Quinton Brown who’s shot was just high of the crossbar. Barca Academy saw several chances in the last 10 minutes of the game and finally grabbed a goal in the 59th minute, as Combe capitalized on a loose ball inside the box off a corner and calmly put the ball to the keepers left, closing the score to 2-1. Unfortunately, with one minute remaining, it was too late and La Roca handing Barca Academy their first loss of the tournament and bumping them out of the championship race and into the consolation bracket.
The U-16s who found their rhythm earlier in the day faced NYSA Chelsea FC (Nevada) in the tournament quarterfinals at 4:40PM on Sunday. Despite controlling possession and seeing chances from David, Carrasco and Ulrich Schmidt in the first half, Barca Academy and NYSA Chelsea entered halftime tied, 0-0. Barca Academy finally saw their efforts pay off in the 39th minute on a through ball from Polic from the edge of the box to David who struck the ball into the back of the net, taking the lead 1-0. In the 60th minute, David would turn from scorer to provider when Guillermo Lopez switched the ball from the left to the right of the field to David who beat a defender and played the ball across the box to Oachs who beat the defender to his left. Holding onto a 2-0 lead, Isael Soto’s low service from wide crossed the face of the goal and Himelstein slotted one home just seconds before the final whistle. With their third shutout win, Barca Academy advanced to the tournament semi-finals.
On the other hand, the U-18s played Players SC (Nevada) Sunday night at 7:20 in their final game of the tournament. Barca Academy started the game brightly as Bernardo Padilla’s shot from the 18-yard box found the back of the net in the 3rd minute of the game. Player’s SC would then equalize in the 20th minute with a shot from the top of the box. Barca Academy would concede another goal just before the interval and trailed 1-2 going at the half. The second half went without incident and Barca Academy would fall to Players SC 2-1, finishing the tournament with a 2 and 2 record.
“We played really well during the first 2 matches”, said U-18 Coach Agustin Peraita. “They delivered two master classes of the Barça style of playing. Unfortunately, they could not overcome adversity in the third match and they were out of the title race. It was a great experience with tons of high-quality exposure for our players and our philosophy.”
With only four teams in left in the bracket, the U-16s faced undefeated, Minneapolis United Elite (Minnesota) at 10:00AM on Monday morning in the tournament semifinals. Minneapolis United Elite rolled into the semifinals undefeated and had not conceded a single goal in the tournament. Minneapolis United controlled much of the early goings and had shots on goal in the 10th and 15th minute of the game that were saved by Barca Academy keeper, Felix Schmidt, to keep the game level. However, Minneapolis United would open scoring in the 21st minute when Barca Academy was caught out in their press that left goalkeeper, Schmidt, alone one a 1v1 situation. Barca Academy would equalize at the stroke of halftime, when Bisagno’s free kick found David who tapped it home. Barca Academy’s momentum carried into the second half as David scored his second goal of the game in the 39th minute when he tapped in Polic’s parried shot to take a 2-1 lead. In rhythm, Barca Academy created two chances on goal before converting in the 67th minute. In their press, Caden Booth picked off a defender in the attacking third, the ball eventually found Polic in the box who slid the ball past the advancing keeper, securing the 3-1 won and advancing to the tournament final.
Barca Academy U-16s would square up with La Roca (Utah – SO HK) in the tournament final just three hours after the final whistle of their semifinal game. In cold, windy condition with tired legs, this game would come down to who wanted it more and Barca Academy proved their desire from the opening kick. Barca Academy dominated possession for the full 70 minutes of the game. In the 6th minute, David was taken down in the box, granting Barca Academy a penalty kick, Jimmy Glaab stepped up and smashed the ball to the keeper’s right. In the 25th minute, an incredible build up play led Carrasco to a 1v1 situation with the keeper, Carrasco juked left and slotted the ball to the right of the keeper to double their advantage, 2-0. Barca Academy would continue to impose their will on La Roca in the second half and scored their third and final goal in the 43rd minute. Lopez made a run down the left side of the field, the ball saw touches from Suh and Booth before finding it’s way back to Lopez who smashed one home from the edge of the box. Lopez’s first goal of the tournament and the goal that put the game out of reach for La Roca. Barca Academy went on to shutout La Roca 3-0 and were crowed the 2018 U-16 Boys Las Vegas Mayor’s Cup International Showcase “Chapman Auto Group” Champions.
“We started the first two matches of group stage very flat, I believe it was due to our extensive break”, said U-16s coach Brady Taylor. “For the third match of group stage we needed a result to get through to the quarterfinals, and the boys did well to respond to the pressure and get the points. Once we were out of group stage, the boys started to find their rhythm and played well to win the quarter-finals. In the semi-final and finals the boys played full of confidence and executed the matches playing the “Barça Way”, it was great for us to come away winning our bracket.”
U-16: Barça Academy 4 vs. FC Bellevue Heron Venom 2
U-16: Barça Academy 0 vs. Heat FC 1
U-18: Barça Academy 1 vs. Solar SC 0
U-18: Barça Academy 5 vs. Sport Evolution 0
U-16: Barça Academy 3 vs. La RocaRH 0
U-16: Barça Academy 3 vs. NYSA Chelsea FC 0
U-18: Barça Academy 1 vs. La Roca SO 2
U-18: Barça Academy 1 vs. Players SC 2 (Quarterfinal)
U-16: Barça Academy 3 vs. Minnesota United Elite 1 (Semifinal)
U-16: Barça Academy 3 vs. La Roca HK 0 (Championship)
U-16: Barca Academy vs. Tucson Red | Time and Location: TBA
U-16: Phoenix Cup World Wide Showcase | March 23-25 | Phoenix, Arizona
U-16: LA Galaxy Cup | March 30 – April 1 | Irvine, California
U-18: Dallas Cup | March 25 – April 1 | Dallas, Texas
Want to be a part of Barça Academy? Register for camps at:
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @barcaacademyaz for all your Barça Academy news and updates.