PHOENIX – Cal Odyssey was on the verge of letting one get away.
Its two-goal advantage had been cut in half and the Dallas Texans were in desperation mode.
Back on their heels, the U16 Odyssey mustered two critical plays to turn the tide and pull out a 3-1 victory over the Texans on Saturday during the second day of the Development Academy Winter Showcase.
“We lost our composure a little,” said Cal defender Christian Chaney, who was responsible for one of the game’s biggest plays.
About that play: the Texans were dominating the second half - having seized some momentum at the end of the first where Ryan Ward scored to make it 2-1 – and were pressuring forward. Cal Odyssey’s goalkeeper came out to try to disrupt an attacker but was beaten, leaving the net wide open.
That’s when Chaney, tracking back hard, went into a full slide to clear the shot attempt just before it crossed the line.
“It was instinct, I guess,” he said. “I saw the ball getting ready to be shot and saw the keeper was out of it. “We kept fighting through and came up with the victory.”
Chaney’s play led to a Cal counter attack where Elijah Martin found teammate Justin Herrera on the right wing and Herrera converted a low shot far post for the game-clincher.
It didn’t look like Odyssey would need any late goals in the first half where they stormed to a 2-0 lead on scores from Luis Najera and Jordan Patterson.
The Odyssey squad has good collective size and they controlled a lot of the early possessions. The Texans seemed to get a little one-dimensional early as they tried to get the ball up to speedy striker Christian Soldat, but failed.
A resilient Dallas team came back in a big way, however, forcing the Odyssey to regain control.
“At some point we (had to) step it up. We had to help our teammates on defense and take the game from there,” Martin said.
U18 Real Salt Lake 7, IMG Soccer Academy 1
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