BEAVERTON, Ore. - It is no secret that coaches like to see the best players play against the best players. It provides the clearest lens with which to evaluate the true talents of the players.
The final day of US Club Soccer id2's Training Camp at the Tualtin Hills in Oregon offered a glimpse at some of the best that the 2001 and 2002 age groups had to offer. Match No. 2 between the Yellow and Greens squads was the highlight of the affair with creative, flowing soccer on display.
The opening goal came from West Coast FC's Angel Ariza. For a player of his athleticism and talent, it was a signature goal. Ariza received a pass ten yards over the half way line and immediately went into a dead sprint toward the end line. The run started on the far touchline and he still need to make his way into the center to be threatening. Carlsbad SC's Angel Flores helped out by intelligently making his run away from the ball and to the back post which tangled up the center backs and gave Ariza the space he needed. Ariza made it into the box after a 40-yard run and opted to go with a shot. The shot was low and hard and found the side netting on the far post for the opening goal of the game. The Yellow Team took a 1-0 lead.
The creativity and audacity of the passing grew with the game and some truly brilliant football started to form. One such play manifest itself as FC Golden State's Abraham Gonzalez played a 1-2 to beat his defender on the touchline. From there, with great speed, he worked his way down to 5 yards from the endline and riffled in a low driven cross. The cross proved accurate as it found Crossfire Premier SC's Lorenzo Lopez but the angle and the obstacles made any chance at goal near impossible. Lopez shrewdly chose a one touch lay off to a striker at the top of the box whose attempt at goal was saved.
Green Team’s equalizer came from Santa Rosa United SC's Luis Arriaga. The goal came from another Gonzalez cross and after the defensive clear attempt only moved the ball a couple of yards, Arriaga lunged and tapped the ball into the back of the net.
Arriaga quickly found the back of net again. He won possession of a loose ball, turned, and from 15 yards out at a 90 degree angle slotted the ball past the keeper for his second goal.
These two back-to-back goals had an impact on the rhythm of the game and Green Team started to establish their dominance. Green’s possession was solid and the central midfielders showed great composure in the middle of the park. Green’s possession turned into its best defensive trait as it neutralized two top players on Yellow Team - Ariza and Flores.
The completion of Arriaga’s hat trick almost came in the opening minutes of the second half. With surprising speed, he got the first step onto a less than optimal back pass and was instantly behind the defensive line. He drove the ball forward and went with the near post shot but the keeper delivered a good kick save and the goal was thwarted.
Instead, Arriaga would have to wait another 10 minutes to get his hat trick. It came from another error. The goalkeeper, in an attempt at a quick re-start, lobbed a soft 10 yard pass and Arriaga was a step ahead. He darted into the path of the ball and took it out of the air. The keeper saw his mistake and doubled down on the play only to watch Arriaga dance around him to the outside left. From there Arriaga sent in an impressive left footed strike which was enough to beat the defender standing in goal with hands but no ability to use them.
The final goal of the id2 program was a good one to end on. With hardly any build up, Jourdan Furukawa gathered a bouncing ball with one touch and blasted an arcing volley from 25 yards out. The ball sailed up and over the keeper and landed in the top corner of the far post. Nothing for the keeper to do but enjoy the show. The late tally was not enough though, as the Green team held onto a 3-2 win thanks to the hat trick from Arriaga.
Green Team: Abraham Gonzalez, Cameron Duke, Edward Berumen, Victor Rangel, Luis Arriaga, Maximillian Goeggel, William Manum and Logan Haustein.
Yellow Team: Gabriel Arredondo, Ethan Ash, Azriel Gonzalez, Caden Buckley, Angel Flores, Nolan Jetter, Mario Rocha, Leonardo Sepulveda, Angel Ariza, Lorenzo Lopez, and Jourdan Furukawa.