Academy shows mettle against Seattle, Portland

The U16s and U18s split matches to Seattle and Portland at home

It was the Elisama Padilla show for the under-18 Earthquakes academy team, which split matches against its Northwest Division rivals, the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers, this past weekend.

Padilla scored four goals overall, including a hat trick in a wild 5-4 loss against the Sounders on a rainy Saturday at the Earthquakes Training Facility. The loss was the first of the season for the junior Quakes.

Padilla had another goal as the Earthquakes rallied to beat visiting Portland 2-1 on Sunday.

The Earthquakes under-16 team had a 0-1-1 mark, including a1-1 draw with Seattle and a 2-0 loss against Portland.

Overall, Quakes academy coaches saw plenty of positives in the tooth-and-nail battles against powerful rival MLS clubs. The Quakes continue to create scoring chances with their meticulous attacking style.

The weekend began with a textbook finish for the U18 team. Jesse Garcia and Bryce Clark assisted Padilla’s first goal in the seventh minute against Seattle, which is right behind the Quakes in the standings.

Seattle didn’t wait long to respond, as Jalen Markey scored off a corner kick in the eighth minute to tie it. The Sounders continued the early fireworks, pushing ahead in the 13th minute on a penalty kick after a mistimed attempt on a tackle in the box.

San Jose struck again to make it 2-2 in the back-and-forth battle. Roberto Mendoza crossed to Jose Navarro, who volleyed it home in the 15th minute.

 The game would settle down before the Quakes pulled ahead after some great individual play in the 32nd minute. Emilio Huerta centered the ball to the foot of Padilla, who beat multiple defenders and slotted home his second goal of the match, giving San Jose a 3-2 lead heading into the half.

The second half was a little tougher for the Quakes, as Seattle tallied three consecutive goals in the 55th, 67th, and 75th minutes to take a 5-3 lead. San Jose battled back to pull within one in the 85th minute. Garcia and Anthony Ruiz completed a nice combination play, as the cross went to the far post to Brian Randall, who decided not to shoot and found Padilla, who completed his hat trick. Like the Earthquakes’ resilient senior team, the U18s kept battling during five minutes of stoppage time, but there was no more magic left as Seattle prevailed.

Sunday’s U-18 match was back-and-forth in the beginning before San Jose seized control in the 33rd minute on Padilla’s fourth goal of the weekend. Armando Leon sent a corner kick into the box, and Padilla controlled the ball and scored to make it 1-0 the first goal. After a missed opportunity on a penalty kick, the Quakes fell victim to some sloppy play and gave up the equalizer in the 49th minute.

The match hung in the balance for another 15 minutes before the Quakes, led by strong play from co-captain Trevor Long, pulled back in front for good. Juan Velasquez continued the Quakes’ great team play with a beautiful setup on Roberto Mendoza’s game-winner in the 65th minute. The Quakes remain atop the Northwest Division standings, two points ahead of Seattle.

 In the U-16’s game against Seattle on Saturday, the Quakes dominated play for a majority of the match, but had to settle for a last-second draw. Jonathon Partida continued his strong season with a goal in the 31st minute to put San Jose ahead, and the Quakes looked like they’d make that goal stand up behind the strong play of goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski.

But the Sounders’ corner kick in the 79th minute led to a mad scramble in the box, and Victor Mansaray was able to score right before the final whistle to force a draw in the most unlikely of finishes.

Sunday’s match against Portland was scoreless for 50-plus minutes before the visitors finally struck. Strong play from Alex Liua and Spencer Saing led the way for the Quakes, but Portland had the better, getting goals from Rolando Velasquez in the 52ndminute and Octavio Hermosillo in the 75th minute.