The Red Bulls U-16s entered the final match of group play needing a win or a tie to advance, and they easily defeated the Portland Timbers, 4-2.
Portland got on the board first in the 3rd minute after Carlos Anguiano scored off a rebound. Brian Saramago evened things up in the 15th minute. Saramago, who has been terrorizing defenses all year, set up strike partner Omir Fernandez in the 33rd minute. Not satisfied with a goal and an assist, Saramago scored his second goal in the 53rd minute on a Kyle Casey assist to put the Red Bulls up 3-1.
In a desperate bid to stop the U-16s from winning and advancing, the Timbers called Mother Nature for help. In the midst of a torrential downpour and a thunderstorm, the match was suspended in the 57th minute due to a "flash flood warning." However, the rain eventually stopped and the match switched to a turf field. Despite playing on a more familiar surface, Portland's witchcraft was in vain. In the 69th minute, Jared Gilbey played a ball to Casey who put the Red Bulls up 4-1. The Timbers added a goal in the 80th minute, but the result was all but decided at that point.
The U-16s -- having won their group -- advance to the quarterfinals and look to be the odds on favorites to win the whole thing. It cannot be said enough: the New York Red Bulls Academy U-16s are an offensive juggernaut.
Match 1: 5-1 win over IMG Academy
Match 2: 6-1 win over Solar Chelsea SC
Match 3: 4-2 win over the Portland Timbers
They entered the playoffs as the top seed after going 23-1-2 during the regular season and won the Premier Division at the Generation adidas Cup. Now they're three matches away from winning the national championship.
The Red Bull U-16s host Chivas USA at the Red Bull Training Facility on July 8th. The winner of that match advances to the final four which is being held at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles on July 16th and 18th. Best of luck to the Academy players in their pursuit of glory.