SBSC U18s, U16s to play for U.S. Youth Soccer regional titles

Two Santa Barbara Soccer Club boys teams are one win away from regional championships and berths in the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships.

The SBCS Under-16 and U18 teams both won semifinal matches over Arizona teams Saturday at the USYS Far West Regionals in Albuquerque. N.M., marking the first time in club history it has put two teams in regional finals. The U16s got two goals from Brandon Sanchez to defeat TSA 98 Red of Tucson, 2-1. The U18s earned a clean sheet, blanking Sereno 96 White of Phoenix, 2-0.

In Sunday’s finals, the SBSC U18s play Southern California’s Fram Premier, while the U16s take on SC del Sol 98 Colavecchia of Arizona. The U16 group is seeking its third straight regional title.

After a scoreless first half, Sanchez gave SBSC a 1-0 lead in the 47th minute. Giovanny Acosta made a run down the left side, beat two defenders and crossed the ball to Sanchez, who finished with a right-footed volleyball to the far post.

Six minutes later, TSA 98 Red tallied the equalizer off a turnover.  Julian Gaona scored he goal.

Sanchez found the back of the net for the game winner in the 77th minute on a great individual effort. He ran into the left side of the box and hit a solid left-foot full volley that beat the TSA goalkeeper. The shot hit the cross bar and found the back of the net. Sanchez leads the division with six goals.

The U18s played a solid defensive game and got first-half goals from Geoffrey Acheampong and Miguel Padron to beat Sereno 96 White. It was the division-leading sixth goal of the tournament for Acheampong, a UCSB commit. Auggie Andrade and Ricky Reyes assisted on the goals.

“This was a great performance from this group, playing a solid game and dominating from start to finish,” coach Rudy Ybarra said. “The score of 2-0 was a just result and could have been a  4-0 result. Santa Barbara created plenty of scoring chances played an attractive style of futbol. This was the best performance from this group in the tournament so far which we hope will continue into tomorrow’s final vs Fram Premier.”

These two teams also met in the Cal South National Final this past May in Lancaster, where SBSC defeated Fram by the score of 2-0 to crown themselves as Cal South National Cup Champions.

The teams are playing for berths at the national championships in Germantown, Md., Jul 22-27.