Academy Notebook: Making the clean sweep
For the first time this season, the San Jose Earthquakes Academy teams made a clean sweep of the weekend.
The 18s got the party started with a 4-2 victory over the San Juan Soccer Club Saturday at the Mather Sports Complex. The 16s followed up that effort with a 2-1 win in the afternoon match while the 14s got back to their winning ways with their own 2-1 conquest on the north field.
It was last year’s usual suspects that came to the rescue for the 18s and led them to that elusive first victory of the season. Team leaders Amir Bashti, Elisama Padilla, Alex Liua and Juan Velasquez all found the back of the net to get San Jose over the hump and back to their winning ways. Velasquez got San Jose on the board early with a 3rd minute goal that gave the Quakes a much-needed advantage. It was the third goal of the season for the Quakes' co-leading scorer and the confidence it gave his teammates was easily recognizable.
San Juan snuck the equalizer past goalkeeper Luke Dennison in the 16th minute, but after that it was all San Jose. Liua earned his first goal of the season just before the half to give the Quakes a lead they would not relinquish. Bashti added his first of the year in the 63rd minute, just five minutes after entering the match. Padilla capped the San Jose scoring with his third of the season in the 70th minute. San Juan added a late goal for some window dressing but the outcome was already decided as the Quakes rolled to the 4-2 win.
The 18s will look to build on the victory this Saturday as they head south to take on the Santa Cruz Breakers at Cabrillo College in Aptos. Last season, the 18s dominated Santa Cruz with a pair of convincing wins, 3-1 and 3-0. Santa Cruz sits at the bottom of the standings with Cal Odyssey as they both own 0-7 marks for the 2013-14 season.
The 16s took the pitch Saturday sitting atop the Northwest Division with 15 points and they weren’t to be stopped on this day, either, on their way to their fifth straight win. San Jose got out of the gates a little slow in a scoreless first half, but finished strong en route to a 2-1 decision. Remi Prieur once again dominated in net for the Quakes, racking up his fifth win in six starts. Prieur has been particularly stingy of late, allowing only two goals in his last four, all of which have been San Jose victories.
After both offenses struggled to sustain possession in the first half, the game opened up early in the second. San Juan struck first, taking the 1-0 advantage in the 61st minute on a shot from Ivan Gutierrez. Gutierrez is the only player to score for San Juan this season; they remain winless with only two goals in eight matches.
Phillip Hausen evened things up in the 70th minute with his team-leading fifth goal of the season. Hausen has officially heated up after a relatively slow start, with those five goals coming in the last five matches, including two last week. Just six minutes later, Michael Anderson found the back of the net for the first time this season, giving the Quakes the lead for good. Prieur and the back line would mop up the final 15 minutes and cap off a hard-fought win to keep San Jose at the top of the division.
The 16s will look to continue their hot stretch Saturday the 16th at Cabrillo College in Aptos against division rival Santa Cruz. The clubs split a pair of 1-0 matches last year, with each winning on their home pitch. Santa Cruz is off to a 1-3-3 start and is winless in its last four matches; kickoff Saturday will be at 12:30 p.m.
Kaya Fabbretti was back in a big way for the 14s, scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory over San Juan at Mather last Saturday. Fabbretti racked up 10 goals in the first four matches of the season before a nagging injury slowed his momentum. The Quakes were happy to see him up to his usual tricks facing a very skilled San Juan team that entered the match with a 6-1-1 mark on the season.
It wasn’t just Fabbretti that had a bounce-back performance, goalkeeper Miguel Romano rebounded from his first loss of the season with an effort much like his first six. Romano held the high-scoring San Juan offense to a single goal in the 34th minute, well below their average of over three per. Fabbretti got San Jose on the board in the 10th minute before Michael Calderon knotted things up at 1-1. The match remained tied until Fabbretti struck again for the go-ahead goal in the 64th minute. Romano took care of things from there, getting San Jose back to their winning style of play. The 14s are now 7-1 and have reclaimed the spot atop the division, just ahead of San Juan.
Coming up for the 14s will be a trip to the southland and a doubleheader weekend against a pair of very talented teams. Saturday the 16th, San Jose will square off with Pateadores at the StubHub Center in Carson at 10 a.m. “Pats” started the year with five consecutive victories but have dropped three straight heading into the weekend. Sunday’s match will be against Los Angeles Futbol Academy at 9 a.m. at the StubHub Center. LAFA rattled off a six-match unbeaten streak after losing their opener to Real So Cal, but they dropped their most recent match this past weekend.
Academy alum Tommy Thompson continues to show well at Indiana University despite his team having a bit of a disappointing season. Thompson has started 12 of the team’s 18 matches this season and is tied for the team lead in goals with 5 and is 2nd in shots with 23 - stellar work considering he’s only played in two out of every three matches. IU wrapped up its regular season with a 3-0 win over Northwestern and will face Michigan in the Big 10 Tournament this week.