COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Six dreams became a little closer to reality on Sunday afternoon as the first leg of Sueño MLS presented by Allstate trimmed down 26 finalists to the final six players that will make up one third of the final group at next month’s Sueño MLS finale in Los Angeles.
The announcement, made live on Univision's Republica Deportiva, brought tears to the eyes of the families of the six selected and brought big smiles to the participants who moved on. Here are the players:
|Alejandro Alaniz||Midfielder||16||Gardena, CA|
|Oscar Aragon||Defender||16||Magnolia, TX|
|Jesus Arredondo||Midfielder||15||Denver, CO|
|Ernesto Galvan*||Goalkeeper||15||Commerce City, CO|
|Luis Loera||Midfielder||15||Albuquerque, NM|
|Gilberto Tovar||Defender||17||Garden City, KS|
NOTE: El Portero Allstate
The six players will train with the Colorado Rapids youth academy for a week before going to LA for the Final Event.
“After watching here for a while, there are players with high quality and strong dreams to be selected to represent Colorado,” Colorado Rapids midfielder José Mari, who helped judge the final day, told MLSsoccer.com on Sunday morning after the final match was played. “This is a great program to help identify players that might not have been discovered and can potentially help teams down the road.”
After starting off with a lengthy set of drills, the action got underway. Elio Delgado of Denver opened the scoring for the blue team, finishing after a nice string of passes.
But with only one goal scored in the first half, it was the defense that stood out. Center back Aragon used his size to keep a clean sheet for his blue squad in the first half and Tovar also stood out on defense.
Loera, as he did on Saturday, got the offense going in the second half, breaking out a long solo run that ended in a powerful low shot for the second goal of the match. Loera had several other opportunities, as did Jesus Arredondo of Denver also stood out in the second half. Galvan came up with several big saves to keep goals at a premium.
“The quality of play today was very high level,” Colorado Rapids developmental coach Josh Pittman, one of the judges, told MLSsoccer.com. “I thought bringing those best players together, you can see the difference in the skill and decision-making, and there were quite a few players that you could’ve picked out of this to go to LA. It was a tough decision, but great overall play and quality.”
Sueño MLS moves on to the second local-market tryout, in Los Angeles, next weekend (April 27-28), then to New York (May 3-4).
The "Final Event" will see the 18 finalists from the three local-market tryouts convene in Los Angeles, May 13-18, for four days of training and matches at StubHub Center. The winners – one field player and one goalkeeper – will receive the opportunity to play with an MLS youth academy.
Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.