Another day, another win for the LAFC Under-15 squad at the Generation adidas Cup.
It was a tough, close clash for the bulk of the 60 minutes. Toronto FC faced plenty of pressure from the front three of Arteaga, Dempsey Resich and Matias Wanchope. TFC goalkeeper Nathaniel Abraham made a couple of quality saves in the first half, including a point-blank stop on Arteaga.
Toronto looked to Joshua Nugent to spearhead the attack in the first 30 minutes of the game but were unable to best LAFC goalkeeper Dylan Auffret. And that put Arteaga in position to slot home at the near post, just as penalty kicks loomed, securing the win for LAFC.
Portland Timbers 2, New York Red Bulls 0
Goals from Grayson Carter and Noah Santos – his fifth at the Generation adidas Cup – powered Portland into the semifinals of the Under-15 tournament.
Carter scored in the seventh minute, getting just enough on his shot to beat New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Aidan Stokes. Eric Izoita set the first goal up with a nice ball from midfield.
Santos nearly doubled the lead in first-half stoppage time, but he fired his shot over the frame.
In the second half, after holding off the Red Bulls with a stout defensive effort, Santos sealed the win. It came from an excellent left-footed cross from Izoita, as Santos beat his defender to the ball, controlled it and slotted home the second goal.
Real Salt Lake 1, Valencia 1
RSL’s Under-15 squad fell on penalty kicks in heartbreaking fashion, as the Spanish side triumphed by a 5-4 margin from the penalty spot.
The MLS side was seconds away from securing victory in regulation, as they led 1-0 thanks to a spectacular goal from Kevin Hernandez in the 40th minute. Big-time play from goalkeeper Ty Rinker had kept the game scoreless in the first half, as the La Liga side put pressure on the Real Salt Lake backline.
Hernandez volleyed home a cross from Zavier Gozo to put RSL up. In second-half stoppage time, Adrian Monino tied the game for Valencia, slotting home after a ball over the top found him in the penalty area.
Valencia goalkeeper Pedro Sanchez was the hero in the shootout. He made three straight saves to secure the win for the Spanish side.
Atlanta United 3, Tigres 1
Playing in the last quarterfinal of the day, Atlanta United ensured that MLS sides would comprise three out of the four teams in the semifinals.
George Okigbo scored a brace, with a goal from midfielder Rocket Ritarita sandwiched in the middle, as Atlanta mastered the transition moments.
A brilliant ball into space from Ritarita sent Ashton Gordon in behind the Tigres backline. He burst into space, forced away from the goal, but cut it back to a wide-open Okigbo, who tapped it into an empty net.
Leading 1-0 at the half, Atlanta doubled the lead a minute into the second stanza. Jesse Garcia got onto a long ball from one of the center backs that deflected into his path. Garcia showed good awareness to pick his head up and find Ritarita on the far side of the box. Ritarita showed quick feet and a good finishing touch to put Atlanta up by two.
As they already showed against Houston in the Round of 16, Tigres couldn’t be counted out. Angel Medellin made it a 2-1 game by finishing a nicely-worked team move.
However, Gordon and Okigbo struck again. Able to sit back and look for their chances, Gordon burst into space on another counterattack. He was able to hold onto the ball just long enough, and sent in a cross that eluded the Tigres defenders and found Okigbo, who finished in impressive fashion.