A good tough weekend on the road for Timbers U-18’s; one win against Cal Odyssey and a hard fought loss to San Jose Earthquakes, first place, U-18 Academy.
Forward Christian Desir (Portland, Ore.) and midfielder James Nosack (Ridgefield, Wash.) each scored two goals over the weekend to help the Timbers U-18 Academy (3-4-2, 11pts) split their matches against Cal Odyssey and first-place San Jose Earthquakes U-18 Academy.
Led by a brace from Desir, the Timbers U-18s defeated Cal Odyssey 4-3 on Saturday. After going down a goal, the Timbers U-18s responded with three consecutive goals by Desir, defender Abdiel Morfin (Canby, Ore.) and Nosack to take a 3-1 lead in the 46th minute. Cal Odyssey would score twice in the second half, including a goal in the 89th minute, but Desir scored what would prove to be the game-winner in the 59th minute, lifting the Timbers U-18s to their third victory of the season.
Both Nosack and Desir lined up as forwards in the first game. Bryan Gonzalez was rested game one against Cal and Enrique Esparza started in his place. Esparza, playing the attacking midfield role, had a strong game and played a role in all four goals; with two of his assists coming from corners.
Set pieces can win games and with two goals coming on corners the hard work on learning set-pieces is beginning to pay off as the lads get to know their roles a bit better.
An assessment offered by the Head Coach, Adam Smith, indicated their result had to do with strong positional play, good possession in the final third and positive direct play into the box.
While Timbers got a great result against Cal their backs were up against a very strong Earthquakes U-18 side. Although San Jose netted the first goal Timbers scored an equalizer from Nosack in the 49th minute; the winning goal for San Jose came in the 60th minute.
Although the result was a loss, wins and losses are not the primary objective with the Academy, improvement and development of the players is what comes first and an extremely strong showing like this, with a man down, against the strongest team in the league, is a positive indicator on how well the lads are progressing after only 6 months of training against an Academy system that has been run for years.
All told a productive weekend for the Timbers, lots of travel (flights and driving) to play those games and if up for it this is just a small sign of things to come for these players as they work towards becoming professional soccer players in the years to come.
The lads have this weekend off and then begin to prepare for their Winter Showcase in Lakewood Ranch, Florida from Nov 29 to Dec 4.
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