Rookie midfielder Shane O'Neill has joined the team in Utah ahead of tonight's match against Real Salt Lake (8 pm MT, Altitude). The 18-year-old had started the first two games of the Rapids U-18s matches at the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Finals this week in Houston, however with Jeff Larentowicz serving a one-match suspension for accumulating five yellow cards, coach Oscar Pareja had a spot to fill.
“[Shane] is s a kid who’s growing within the group,” Pareja told MLSsoccer.com earlier in the week. “He’s growing with the training and playing with the reserves, and he’s making a lot of progress and he’s one of the options.”
O'Neill became the second player to move up to the pro team from the Rapids Academy when he signed last month. He made the 18-man roster for the first time against FC Dallas on July 14 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Rio tinto stadium should be fun tomorrow night!! Can't wait #xcited http://t.co/KwDvgbh9…— shane oneill (@Shanyboy15) July 21, 2012
In April, O'Neill turned down a chance to play in the Colorado High School All-Star Basketball game in order to make his first road trip with the Rapids pro side, ironically, to Salt Lake City. He made his Reserve League debut against Real Salt Lake on April 8, helping the Rapids hold on to a 1-0 victory.
With O'Neill the U-18s tied De Anza Force 2-2 in the opening match and fell to the North Carolina Fusion 4-2 on Wednesday. The team tied the group winners, Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-2 on Friday night and will play for a chance at a top five finish on Sunday in Houston.