The Colorado Rapids Under-16 Development Academy team went 1-1 this weekend in Austin and San Antonio, Texas.
On Saturday, the U-16s fell to the Lonestar SC Academy 1-0 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. It rained most of the day, which made for a slick field and equally tough playing conditions. U-16’s head coach Mitch Murray told ColoradoRapids.com: "They were a difficult team and I felt that we really struggled with how aggressive and athletic they were. We just weren’t able to solve it.”
Although they were not able to get the ball in the net, Murray noted that his team had a very unlucky first half, exemplified by a shot from Elias Helbig that beat the keeper but not the goal post.
Field conditions were not conducive, and although unlucky the team performed better in the second half and kept the home team to 1-0 scoreline.
With a slight improvement in field conditions on Sunday, replacing rain with gusting winds, the U-16s were able to capitalize on the mistakes of the San Antonio Scorpions Youth Academy, defeating them 3-0.
JT Grover had a standout performance, scoring the first goal of the game and leading the team in scoring with six goals. His goal on Sunday came from a nice combination in the field and then utilizing his pace to beat the defense, leaving him one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
The second goal was scored in the first half by Tony Rosales off of a rebound that he was able to put away with a header. In the second half, Luke Marchesani put the Scorpions defense under pressure, causing them to err and padding the Rapids lead with a third and final goal.
“Compared to Saturday we played the ball more quickly, and the game was faster," said Murray. "I give credit to San Antonio; they don’t quit. They tried to put a lot of pressure on us, and we did a much better job of dealing with it on Sunday than on Saturday.”
Although the weekend ended with one defeat, Murray was pleased with the team's overall performance. They hold a 5-9-6 record at 10th place in the Frontier Division, and have seven matches to go. The U-16s are back in action on Saturday March 22, taking on Real Colorado at Highlands Heritage Park in Highlands Ranch.
Colorado Rapids U-15/16 0:1 Lonestar SC Academy
March 15, 2014 – St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Austin, TX
LON - Carlos Nieto 29'
Colorado Rapids lineup: Connor Gavigan, Kyle Ericson, JT Grover, Elias Helbig, William Herzl, Blake Moncur (Antonio Rosales 60'), Elijah Mwenebitu, Samuel Raben, Ernesto Rangel (Luke Marchesani 55'), Christopher Reichman, Greer Solarte (Tony Rosales 48')
Colorado Rapids U-15/16 3:0 San Antonio Scorpions Youth Academy U-15/16
March 16, 2014 – STAR Soccer Complex – Field 1, San Antonio, TX
COL - JT Grover 8’
COL - Tony Rosales 20'
COL - Luke Marchesani 56’
Colorado Rapids lineup: Connor Gavigan, JT Grover (Kyle Ericson 70'), Elias Helbig, William Herzl, Luke Marchesani (Ernesto Rangel 70'), Elijah Mwenebitu, Sam Raben, Christopher Reichman, Tony Rosales (Blake Moncur 65'), Antonio Rosales (Christian Perez 50'), Sam Vines (Greer Solarte 70')