September 16, 2019
Casa Grande, Ariz – Soccer is back at Grande Sports World – Home of Barça Residency Academy. On September 14th, the Barça Residency Academy kicked off their 2019-20 United States Soccer Development Academy season with a set of home games against Redmond, Washington’s Crossfire Premier. The Barça U-19s and U-15s both opened their seasons with competitive, scoring draws, while the U-17s narrowly lost their first game of the year.
Barça Residency Academy U-19 vs. Crossfire Premier
Barça Residency Academy’s U-19s played to a wild, emotionally-draining 5-5 draw in their matchup with Crossfire Premier on Saturday.
It didn’t take long for Barça to get on the scoresheet. In the 12th minute, Diego Luna connected with Takumi Ikeda, who headed the ball past Crossfire’s keeper, scoring the U-19s’ first goal of the season and giving Barça Academy a 1-0 lead. However, for as little time as it took Barça to get on the board, it took their opponents an even smaller amount of time to equalize: Crossfire leveled the game in the 13th minute, less than 60 seconds after Barça jumped out ahead.
Not content to go into halftime with an even scoreline, Barça’s Julian Gaines rifled a shot off the crossbar and into the net to put his team back in front in the 37th minute. Moments later, Bryce Duke played a slick back heel to Gaines, who calmly took a touch and ripped the ball past the goalkeeper to double the lead.
Up 3-1 with less than five minutes to play in the first half, Barça wasn’t finished scoring: Caden Clark put his name on the scoresheet with a well-placed shot in the 40th minute and Ikeda scored his second goal of the match to send Barça Residency Academy into the break up 5-1.
“We started the game tremendously well and some of the goals we scored in that first half were top, top level,” head coach Ged Quinn said. “There is a ton of quality in this group and they showed it in this half today against a very tough team.”
The excitement that Barça generated with their impressive, goal-heavy first 45 minutes of play dissipated midway through the second half as Crossfire Premier scored four goals in 12 minutes to secure an away draw. Barça Residency Academy had a couple of promising attacking moves in the closing seconds of the match, but could not find a way to retake the lead.
“We were a little naive in the second half though, being 5-1 up we allowed Crossfire back into the game with some poor decisions at crucial times. At this level you are punished for those mistakes and credit to Crossfire. They kept pushing until the final whistle,” Quinn said.
Though Barça did not secure the win, scoring five goals in the season opener is an accomplishment that the group will be able to build on throughout the rest of the year.
Barça Residency Academy U-15 vs. Crossfire Premier
While the U-19s were scoring goals left and right, the Barça Academy U-15s and the Crossfire Premier U-15s played to a much more measured 1-1 draw.
Barça controlled the first half, moving the ball quickly and comfortably in possession. The home team was rewarded for their attacking movement with a goal from Jorge Gonzalez in the 13th minute.
“We displayed composure on the ball and were able to play majority of the game in Crossfire’s half,” head coach Daniel Antunez said.
While it looked like Barça was going to cruise to a 1-0 win, Crossfire Premier scored in the 63rd minute to tie the match at 1-1 and deny the home team victory.
“We were a bit disappointed with the result as I believe we dominated in possession and created far more clear opportunities on goal” Antunez added. “We lost concentration in one moment of the game during a set piece that cost us the three points but I was really happy with teams overall performance.”
Barça Residency Academy U-17 vs. Crossfire Premier
After the U15s and U19s kicked off their DA campaigns, the Barça Academy U17s took the field for their matchup with Crossfire Premier. Unfortunately, unlike the U15s and U19s, the Barça U17s were unable to get a result, falling 2-0 to their opponents.
It wasn’t a poor showing from Barça: they created the majority of the game’s chances, but were simply unable to find the back of the net. There were several moments throughout the match when left winger Ocean Salari and left back Edwin Arias combined in the attacking third and drew opposing defenders out of position. Unfortunately for Barça, none of those left-sided combinations led to goals.
“In regards to results, it was a disappointing day for us,” head coach Chris Harmon said. ”Seeing as it was our first game, we showed some positives and at times we were very good in possession creating multiple scoring opportunities. We must be better in front of the net and take care of the important moments as they come our way.”
Crossfire Premier scored twice late in the second half, putting the game out of reach for the Barça Academy and securing a 2-0 away victory.
On Sunday, September 22nd, the Barça Residency Academy DA U15s, U17s, and U19s will all take the field against Strikers FC at Grande Sports World – Home of Barça Residency Academy.