Red Bulls Academy had a very successful weekend in Salt Lake City for the second round of GA Cup Qualifying. The U-15’s and U-17’s each won all three of their final qualifying matches to qualify for Division 1 of the GA Cup.
The U-17’s finished regional qualifying with an overall record of 3-1-2 and finished second behind Real Salt Lake because of goal differential. They kicked off their weekend by defeating Real Salt Lake in penalties, 7-6. In their second match, they defeated New England Revolution, 4-3, with a brace from Thomas Tulgar and additional goals from Joey Zalinsky and Eli Conway. Finally, they defeated the Philadelphia Union in penalties, 3-2.
“I thought it was a great weekend overall, the boys raised their level and were excellent against some of the top MLS Academies. The players were resilient throughout the entire weekend,” said U-17’s Head Coach Paul O’Donnell. “Being able to advance into the top group at the GA Cup will allow the players to challenge themselves against some top international teams.”
The U-15’s concluded qualifying with an unbeaten record of 5-0-2. They started the second round with an exciting 3-2 victory over Real Salt Lake. Ezra Widman, Serge Ngoma, and Paul Smajlaj each had goals in the match. They followed that match up with a 2-0 victory over New England Revolution, thanks to a brace from Ngoma. The U-15’s finished their weekend with a penalty shootout win against the Philadelphia Union to finish a top their group and advance to Division 1 of the GA Cup.
“Going into the weekend the players knew they had it all still to play for. They applied themselves from the first minute of game one all through until the last minute of game three, “U-15’s Head Coach Jonathan Rhodes said.
The GA Cup kicks off in April in Frisco, Texas, where both the U-15’s and U-17’s will compete in Division 1. Both teams will prepare for the tournament, when they continue Developmental Academy play on March 7 against Richmond United.