January 28, 2020
Casa Grande, Ariz –Back at Grande Sports World after the winter break, Barça Residency Academy’s U-15s and U-17s faced off against Pasadena’s FC Golden State on Saturday. To start off the day, the U-15s beat Golden State 2-0, capturing Barça Academy’s first victory of the new year. After the U-15s’ quality performance, the U-17s took the field and had a promising first half, but ultimately fell to FC Golden State by a score of 3-1.
Barça Residency Academy U-15 vs. FC Golden State
There’s nothing like a little late-game excitement to usher in a new year of soccer. The U-15s certainly supplied that excitement on Saturday, scoring two goals in the last six minutes of their match to pull ahead of FC Golden State for their first win of 2020.
Barça started the game off well, defending efficiently, controlling possession and creating a handful of dangerous chances in the first half through right winger Gabriel Enriquez’s ability to cut inside on his left foot and shoot on goal. However, even with Enriquez posing a consistent threat in the attack, Barça Residency Academy was unable to actually get on the scoreboard until the closing moments of the second half.
With the score tied at 0-0, Phillie Villapudua gave the home team the lead in the 74th minute, showing excellent composure to control the ball in the box and slot it past the goalkeeper. Not long after the goal celebrations quieted down, Yahir Gonzalez and Brooklyn Raines combined to double Barça’s lead. In the 80th minute, Gonzalez, who was patrolling the central attacking area, received the ball, settled it, and found Raines, who made a late-arriving run into the box and calmly finished to seal their victory.
“The boys were excited to be back from the break,” head coach Daniel Antunez said. “We had a very good week of practice and were able to execute our playing style and the game plan against Golden State. It was a difficult match against a well-organized team and I feel that the three points are well deserved.”
Between a strong defensive effort and a pair of timely goals from Villapudua and Raines, Barça Academy’s U-15s put in a quality, comprehensive performance and started off 2020 the right way.
Barça Residency Academy U-17 vs. FC Golden State
While the U-15s met with success in their first game back after the winter break, Barça Residency Academy’s U-17s were not quite as fortunate. They started off the match well, controlling the midfield offensively and defensively. In particular, Nathan Hurtado made a number of key defensive interventions that allowed Barça to recover possession quickly and continue attacking FC Golden State’s half of the field.
In the 25th minute, Barça Academy turned that possession into goal-scoring sequence. The team moved up the field in possession and broke through the opposition’s defensive block, allowing striker Saul Sosa to find a pocket of space to receive the ball, turn, and beat the goalkeeper with a well-placed strike. Though they continued to dictate the game’s tempo after taking a 1-0 lead, Barça could not carry their advantage into halftime. Golden State scored in the 45th minute to tie the game at 1-1 just before the break.
The second half started off well for Barça Academy: they continued controlling possession, which culminated in a great chance for Samuel Mendoza in the 50th minute. The right winger cut inside onto his left foot and took a shot from close range, but FC Golden State’s goalkeeper managed to deflect it away. Both teams remained tied at one goal each until the visitors took the lead in the 65th minute and then doubled their lead with the third goal in the 81st minute. Barça continued to push, but they were unable to climb back from their 3-1 deficit.
“It was a disappointing result for the team, but there are some positives that we can take away from the game,” head coach Chris Harmon said. “We are looking forward to breaking down the film and learning from our mistakes. We are looking forward to getting back on the field next week against another good side.”
The Academy U-19s will enjoy another weekend off, the U-15s and the U-17s will take on San Diego Surf on Saturday, February 1st at Grande Sports World – Home of Barça Residency Academy.