As 2018 winds to a close, the New York Red Bulls’ U18/U19 and U16/U17 sides traveled down to Lakewood Ranch, Florida for the 2018 USSDA Winter Showcase.
The tournament provided each team three matches to close out the year. RBNY U18/U19 matched up against Sporting Kansas City, Barcelona Academy, and Real Salt Lake. RBNY U16/U17 faced off against FC Golden State, Real Salt Lake, and Atlanta United.
USSDA 2018 Winter Showcase Recap
John Michael Tolkin and Samuel Epitime were on the score sheet for the U18/U19 squad’s opener against SKC. The three points were all but secured in that match before Sean Karani notched a last-minute equalizer. Tolkin, brought up from the U16/U17 team for the weekend, went the full 90 in their 2-2 draw.
On match day two, the team handed Barcelona Academy their first loss of the season. Kevin Alvarado, Omar Sowe, and Aly Camara all found the back of the net. RBNY cruised to a 3-0 victory. Sowe joined the team off the back of a 89 goal, 67 assist career at Harrison High School. In his second appearance for the U18/U19 team, generation ’04 prodigy Dantouma Toure played all 90 minutes as a starter.
Jafi Alexis contributed the lone goal in RBNY’s 2-1 loss to RSL on the final match day. The team seemed on course to ending the tournament on a high, but a last-minute defensive collapse saw RSL’s Luis Arriaga and Julian Vazquez find the back of the net in the last two minutes.
Defenders Jared Juleau, Ryan Schultz, and Christopher Tiao played every minute of every match for the U18/U19 team as they finished the weekend with a 1-1-1 record.
The U16/U17 side opened their weekend of matches with a 2-0 loss to FC Golden State. Alex Bobocea, who trained with the professional teams on occasion throughout 2018, started in net for all three matches.
Paul O’Donnell’s team bounced back from the loss with a 2-0 victory of their own against Real Salt Lake. RBNY soared when Edwin Melendez and Diogo Rebelo put them two goals up before the 25th minute, but a red card to Joseph Zalinsky in the 39th minute hindered their offensive prowess for the rest of the match.
Match day three against Atlanta United saw the side start with the same momentum they had against RSL as William Cardona and Max Andrews put them 2-0 up after 46 minutes. However, Atlanta fought back from their two goal deficit to hand RBNY a 3-2 defeat to close out the tournament. Daniel Mangarov sealed The Five Stripes’s victory with a goal in the 86th minute.
Omre Etienne, younger brother of Derrick Etienne Jr., saw 10 minutes of action in the loss to Atlanta.
Amir Daley, Bryce Lebel, Diogo Rebelo, and Tapiwa Shumba did not miss a minute of action as the team ended with 1-2-0 record at this year’s USSDA Winter Showcase.