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Sounders Academy advances to GA Cup semifinals

Seattle defeated Columbus on PKs 3-2 to win Group A.

Azriel Gonzalez Max Aquino/Sounder at Heart

The Sounders Academy blitzed through their first two group stage matches at the Generation Adidas Cup in Frisco, Texas before needing penalty kicks to dispose of the Columbus Crew on Monday. Seattle advances to the semifinals with eight points through three matches.

Seattle started the tournament with Matsumoto Yamaga, a Japanese U17 side, and after giving up an early goal proceeded to score six, three in each half. S2’s Azriel Gonzalez and Ray Serrano each bagged goals in the first match. Once Seattle found the back of the net once, the game became rather smooth sailing for the team.

Against New England, Seattle’s offense was a bit quieter but still managed to finish them off 3-1. With Columbus beating both the Revs and Matsumoto in their matches, the final was a winner-take-all. The Sounders lead the Premier Division with a +7 goal differential through two games.

The Crew were Seattle’s toughest opponent and between their defense and the wind held Seattle in check for the majority of the 70 minutes. Seattle also started the game without Marlon Vargas, who was arguably their top attacker against Matsumoto, due to a virus. Vargas was able to sub on at half for Serrano, who was suffering from the same thing. Seemingly anytime Seattle was able to start stringing together attacks, an injury hit with Gonzalez going out late in the second half to a back injury. Starting goalkeeper, Bobby Harraka, had to leave the match after colliding with a player in mid-air punching a free kick away. Once subbed on, Conrad Lee -- a 15-year-old trialist from New Hampshire — made a few massive saves to keep the game scoreless before saving three straight penalties to send the Sounders through to the semifinals on a 3-2 PK victory.

Joining Seattle in the semis are the Montreal Impact and Mexico’s Monterrey. The New York Red Bulls have the upper hand in Group C and will advance with a regulation win over the Chicago Fire but a PK win or any loss could see the winner of the UANL Tigres-San Jose Earthquakes match advance. They’ll play March 27 as their games were delayed a day at the start of the tournament from weather delays preventing NYRB from arriving.

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