Academy Roundup: U16s advance to USSDA Final 8

Team faces Real Salt Lake AZ on Tuesday

Remi Prieur has been brilliant all season for the Quakes Academy 16s, and it was no different in the team’s first set of playoff games, when the team went 2-0-1 in Indiana last weekend.

San Jose took on Orlando in its first playoff matchup at the Grand Park Sports Campus, and Prieur led the way in the 3-1 victory. In what was an eventful first half, San Jose got on the board first with an 8th-minute goal from Uriel Cordoba, just his second of the season. Orlando got an equalizer in the 22nd minute but quickly relinquished a break that led to an Ivan Valencia goal just a single minute later. Again, in the 34th minute, it was Cordoba finding the back of the net to give Prieur and his side that all important two-goal lead. The Quakes’ defense was strong throughout, led by Michael Anderson and Jorge Lara, bringing San Jose its first win over an out-of-state opponent since March 30.

The next match was against juggernaut FC Dallas, the Frontier Division Champions, who lost just a pair of contests all season. Dallas jumped out to an early advantage with a second-minute tally. The Quakes were quick to regroup and put the pressure squarely back on the opposition as the San Jose attack pushed forward. In the 15th minute it was veteran leader and the team’s leading scorer, Amir Bashti, who found the equalizer for his 6th goal of the season. With the score knotted at 1, San Jose continued to keep the heat on the Dallas back line, and in the 27th minute the Quakes were rewarded again. Midfielder Rory Birse put his side back in the driver’s seat with his third goal of the season to push the lead to 2-1. San Jose was just minutes away from handing Dallas its third loss of the year, but the opposition had a little magic left in them, grabbing an equalizer in the 80th minute to steal a point away from the jaws of defeat.

Sitting at 1-0-1, San Jose needed a victory against Shattuck-Saint Mary’s Soccer Academy of Faribault, MN, in order to continue its postseason run. Once again it was Prieur leading the charge, shutting out Shattuck-Saint Mary’s for the 2-0 victory, the team’s 8th shutout of the season. Valencia provided all the offense San Jose would need on this day, scoring both goals for his club, the first in the 39th minute and the capper in the 80th. That brings his season total to a staggering 26 goals in 27 matches played between the Quakes’ U-16 and U-14 sides. Valencia and fellow U-14 scoring sensation Kaya Fabbretti have gained meaningful experience with the 16s late in the year while providing some great offensive punch to a team that has prided itself on its defense and goalkeeping all year long.

The results of last week’s matches in Indiana produced another opportunity for San Jose to continue this spectacular season, setting them up with a date against Real Salt Lake AZ next Tuesday the 8th in Casa Grande, AZ. With a record of 21-4-2 on the year, RSL AZ qualified as the 2nd seed in this year’s playoff bracket after winning the Southwest Division. One of those four losses, however, came against these Quakes back on March 16 in Danville by the score of 4-3. Philip Hausen scored a pair of late 2nd half goals to seal the win after San Jose trailed 3-0 at the half. The four goals scored by San Jose was the second-most allowed by RSL AZ this season, having given up 5 to Portland in late May. San Jose has lost just one match since turning the calendar to 2014, posting an 8-1-8 mark since the 1st of January, their only loss at the hands of division foe LA Galaxy.

- Richter Media