(Via U.S. Soccer) – Led by two goals from MLS homegrown player Jesus Ferreira, combined with an incredible goalkeeping performance by Michael Collodi, FC Dallas U-15/16’s took another step towards a third straight U.S. Soccer Development Academy championship on Friday, defeating Real Salt Lake AZ 3-0.
“This is the first half of two halves,” FC Dallas U-15/16 head coach Luchi Gonzalez said. “Now we are preparing for the next one. Nothing to celebrate. We are going to learn from this past game. There are certainly things we need to do better. But all the credit to RSL. Very well coached, professional and young team. Could have gone either way at one point, but Collodi had a great game that kept us in it. They opened up a little and we took advantage of some transition counters. I thought we had some good moments of pressure, but we also had some good moments to be patient, compact and wait for them to create space from behind.”
As the two teams started the game out by trading attacking promises, Dallas found the net in the 14th minute to set the bar high, early on. Attacking up the left flank, Thomas Roberts finished his run by collecting himself and driving the ball into the box. On the receiving end of the pass was Jesus Ferreira, who calmly finished the effort.
Sixteen minutes later, RSL earned a penalty kick and looked to even the score line. Taken by RSL’s Sebastian Soto, the ball went to the left and Collodi dove in the same direction. The massive save was a momentum shift, keeping FC Dallas in control.
After ending the first break 1-0, RSL bounced back in the second half, creating another opportunity to even the score in the 49th. After Benjamin Ortiz whipped it in, Soto got everything on it, only to be denied by a point blank save from Collodi to edge the ball over the cross bar.
In the 53rd minute, Ferreira provided the breathing room FC Dallas desperately were digging for. With his winger attacking down the right side, Ferreira sniffed out the run, lurking just beneath the six-yard box as the cross came through. The goal marked Ferreira’s third against the RSL organization this season, with his first coming on June 3rd during his MLS debut.
Less than 10 minutes later, FC Dallas put the game away for good, as Edwin Cerrillo used another run down the flank to feed Brayan Padilla, who tucked the ball into the far post. It was the Central Conference Player of the Year’s 31st goal of the season.
Collodi put an exclamation point on his performance in the 75th minute with a full-stretch save to the top left corner, denying RSL and keeping his shutout intact.
Next up for FC Dallas is the winner of Friday’s second U-15/16 semifinal game between Atlanta United FC and Vancouver Whitecaps. That game can we seen live on the U.S. Soccer Development Academy Facebook page Sunday, July 16 at 3:30 p.m. PT.