After blitzing the competition in the first round of the Generation adidias Cup back in October, the Quakes didn’t miss a beat in round two. Amir Bashti once again led the way, scoring twice in San Jose’s 2-1 victory over the LA Galaxy to clinch their spot in the international draw. The following day, Remi Prieur shutout the Portland Timbers in a 0-0 draw that netted them another point to bring their West Regional-winning point total to 10.
San Jose dominated the competition in Irvine in October with a pair of wins for the team comprised of players from both the U18 and U16 squads. Bashti was brilliant then, and continued his remarkable play this past weekend in Morgan Hill. The Quakes played host to this leg of the regional and hope to host future events, including the GA Cup at their new facility, which is set to open in San Jose in 2015.
The first match at the Morgan Hill Outdoor Sports Center took place on Valentine’s Day, and San Jose dealt their rivals from the south a bit of tough love. The game featured many U.S. Men’s National Team players on both sides, including Quakes’ standout goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski. Marcinkowski, who did not play in the first-round matches, recently returned from the Canary Islands with the national team and showed no signs of international jetlag. LA got on the board first with a bit of a fluke play as the ball bounced around the box and, after not being cleared, was eventually put home by the Galaxy.
Marcinkowski slammed the door after the 40th-minute goal, shutting out the opposition over the final 50+ minutes. After the half, the “Bashti Show” began, and his two goals in the second half were a product of great ball and player movement by the Quakes. The pair of tallies brought his total to a regional-best four goals, and Bashti only needed three matches to do it. The victory, San Jose’s third, locked up first place for the Quakes with yet another match still to play.
Saturday’s match against the Portland Timbers was more of a pitcher's duel, as both sides played wonderful defense and the goalkeeping was phenomenal. Cornerback Jorge Lara led the defensive charge in support of Prieur, who has been dominant throughout the academy season. With five shutouts already on his resume this year, Prieur is having an MVP caliber campaign. He’s helped lead the U16 Quakes to first place in the division and a microscopic 0.8 goals-against average this season.
San Jose will move on to the next round of competition with a ton of momentum, having escaped regional play without a blemish on their 3-0-1 record. The Quakes will lead a group which also includes FC Dallas, the Philadelphia Union and one of three international clubs - Flamego of Brazil, Stoke City of England or Chivas from Mexico. The matches are set to be played in April, and it is safe to say the competition better be on the lookout for this red-hot Quakes club.
- Richter Media