The San Jose Earthquakes Under-18 Academy Team stayed unbeaten last weekend behind a goal and an assist from Roberto “Beto” Mendoza, rolling past the San Juan Soccer Club 4-1 at the Mather Sports Complex.
The Quakes (5-0-0, 15 points) have outscored their competition 18-4 and sit atop the Western Conference’s Northwest Division standings, two points ahead of the second-place De Anza Force.
“It was a good team effort from start to finish,” Academy technical director Chris Leitch said. “They came to play like they have all year. It was impressive to see that the group is not satisfied with its other results.”
Jesse Garcia opened the scoring with his team-leading sixth goal of the season with assists from Anthony Ruiz and Mendoza in the 9th minute. The lead, however, was short-lived. San Juan’s Logan Magonigal scored just one minute later off a throw-in. San Juan’s size up front gave the Quakes defensive trouble, but the Quakes were not to be denied.
Elisama Padilla put the Quakes on top for good in the 38th minute with an unassisted goal to push the advantage to 2-1. Padilla’s unselfish play has garnered him recognition all season, but this time he used his one-on-one skills to get free and net his fourth goal on the year. Emilio Huerta added another unassisted goal in the 48th minute, burying a shot into the far post, capping a beautiful sequence of attacking soccer by the Quakes. Mendoza finished the scoring in the 57th minute with the Quakes’ third unassisted goal of the day with a blast from the top of the box.
Austen Black continued his solid play in net, lowering his goals-against average to a staggering 0.8. San Jose outshot San Juan 9-4 and dominated the pace of play, earning six corner kicks to San Juan’s 2.
The next match for San Jose will be against the Seattle Sounders FC Academy Team at home on Nov. 17. Kickoff will be at 10:30 a.m.
In the under-16 match, the young Earthquakes collected a hard-earned 1-1 draw against San Juan at the Mather Soccer Complex. The Quakes continued to work on their meticulous possession style, which can leave them vulnerable to turnovers against direct-playing and aggressive opponents.
An early turnover led to Sai Alejandro’s 12th-minute goal, giving San Juan a 1-0 lead.
But Quakes standout goalkeeper J.T. Marcinkowski, a U.S. national under-15 team player from Alamo, had his say after that.
Marcinkowski even got the offense started on the Quakes’ lone goal. In the 20th minute he played the ball ahead to Nils Langstrom, who fed forward Alex Liua just past midfield. Liua shook his defender and beat the goalkeeper with a deft shot for his second goal of the year.
The draw left the Quakes in a three-way tie for third place in the Northwest Division, along with Portland Timbers and Santa Cruz Breakers, each with 10 points. The De Anza Force leads with 21 points. The Quakes’ next match is against the second-place Seattle Sounders in San Jose on Nov. 17 at 1 p.m.