14 May Academy U-19s defeat Strikers FC; Secure top Finish in USSDA Southwest Division
May 14, 2019
Casa Grande, Ariz. –The Barça Residency Academy USSDA teams hosted Strikers FC at Grande Sports World – Home of Barça Residency Academy in their second to the last triple-header of the 2018-19 season. The U-19s extended their win streak to six games with a 2-1 win and secured the DA Southwest Division title with one game remaining in the regular season. The U-17s dominated the game for long spells but struggled in the 18-yard box and suffered a tough 4-3 loss and the U-15s fell 4-1.
Barça Academy U-19 vs. Strikers FC
The No. 3 nationally ranked Barça Residency Academy U-19s secured a first-place finish in the DA Southwest Division on Saturday with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Strikers FC.
Missing their top player and leading DA U-18/19 goal scorer, Matthew Hoppe, the U-19s got off to a slow offensive start against Strikers FC and reached the interval tied 0-0.
“We did not play very well in the first half and struggled to get into our rhythm,” said head coach Sean McCafferty. “The substitutes that came on at half time helped us gain control of the game.”
The U-19s started the second half positively and opened the scoring in the 52nd minute with an excellent first-time finish goal by Ryan Combe, courtesy of a tremendous cut-back by Roberto Molina. Barça Residency Academy controlled possession in the second half but conceded a goal from a quick counter-attack in the 64th minute.
With the score level at 1-1 and 25 minutes remaining, Barça Residency Academy kept their composure and continued to create good scoring opportunities but were unable to find the needed finish until the 82nd minute when they were awarded a penalty kick that Roberto Molina confidently converted to ensure three points and a first-place finish in the DA Southwest Division.
“This is a fantastic accomplishment by the players and I’m extremely proud of their consistency throughout the season,” said McCafferty. “They responded positively to the inevitable challenges during the season and are excited to finish off the season strong versus Nomads on Saturday and go into playoffs with confidence and belief that they can accomplish something special”.
Barça Academy U-17 vs. Strikers FC
The U-17s who were coming off a loss from the week prior suffered a 4-3 heart-breaker on Saturday.
“This was a tough loss for the guys as I thought we deserved something from the game,” said head coach Ged Quinn.
Despite conceding in the 6th minute of the game, Barça Residency Academy played very well in the first half and had long spells of dominant play but struggled to put away their chances. Barça Residency Academy was rewarded in the 20th minute when Guillermo Lopez put one past the keeper to even the score. Strikers FC responded with a goal thirteen minutes later and took a 2-1 lead into the half.
After back to back goals late in the game, Barça Residency Academy found themselves down 4-1 in the 73rd minute. The U-17s showed great character and fight in the final fifteen minutes of the game as they brought the score to 4-3 with goals by Dante Williams and Ulysses Martinez in the 87th and 89th minute respectively but ran out of time before they could tally equalizer.
“I was proud of their work rate and energy levels to keep pushing until the end and we were a little unfortunate not to tie the game up,” added Quinn. “We have a young squad this year and the experiences from this season will help them prepare for next year to ensure we can turn more of these positive performances into positive results.”
Barça Academy U-15 vs. Strikers FC
The U-15s who were coming off a strong 4-2 win over Los Angeles United Futbol Academy, fell 4-1 to Strikers who are second in the Southwest Division standings.
“It was a tough loss for the boys, we competed on both sides of the ball but we missed our opportunities in front of the goal which made the difference in the game,” said head coach Daniel Antunez. “Strikers were clinical in front of goal and we had a few defensive mistakes that made it difficult to work our way back into the game.”
“Although we were disappointed with the result, I was pleased with the way the boys played and competed and created opportunities to score up to the last few moments of the game,” added Antunez.
“We will have to continue to work on our finishing and our defensive organization inside the box in attempt to prepare for the last two games of the season.”
The Academy teams will take on Nomads SC in their final triple-header of the season Saturday at Grande Sports World – Home of Barça Residency Academy. This homestand will conclude the 2018-19 USSDA regular season for the U-17s and U-19s. The U-15s will wrap up the regular season on June 1, 2019, at home against LA Galaxy San Diego.