MENTALITY THE DIFFERENCE AS REAL COLORADO ADVANCES TO SEMIFINALS WITH 1-0 WIN OVER LAFC SLAMMERS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (July 9, 2018) - In the first of two semifinals games of the Girls' Development Academy semifinals, Real Colorado ended LAFC Slammers' 37-game unbeaten streak to punch its ticket to the first-ever Girls' U-16/17 Academy Championships Final. On-field temperatures reached upwards of 100 degrees as the heavyweight bout proved to be a physical battle from start to finish. The game's defining moment came just before halftime in the 44th minute.

On the move up the right flank, Lia Beyer outran a trailing defender before she drew a center back from her post inside the penalty area. When the defender closed in, a passing lane opened up near the top right of the box. There, Beyer left it off for Taeya Schuepper. Schuepper quickly controlled the pass, cut inside to her left and fired from just inside the 18-yard mark. The forward's blast towards the back post curled just past the fingertips of outstretched LAFC goalkeeper Megan Quiggle and into the side netting. The goal proved to be decisive for the Colorado club.

After the game, Beyer was overjoyed with her squad's effort to advance to the final.

"I'm just really ecstatic that we're moving on," Schuepper said. "We've worked really hard to get here and it feels great to contribute to our team's success. We came into this game with a strong mindset to put our best effort out there. This is it for us. We are ready to win (the championship) for everyone."

Real Colorado managed to accomplish a feat that no other team has this season- shutting out the Slammers. Much of the clean sheet effort can be attributed to the steady hands of Real 'keeper Halle Mackiewicz.

"We pride ourselves on defense," the Real Colorado goalkeeper said. "For us, we know that we have a solid defense and we knew that we could do it. It feels good to get the shutout, but I don't think it was too surprising because that's what we work for."

Not only had LAFC failed to score in any game this season, but the team's last defeat came all the way back on Sept. 10, a 3-1 loss to Real So Cal.

"We have a fantastic goalkeeper and we have defenders that understand defending is a special skill," Real Colorado head coach Jared Spires said. "If you watch, they step in front of shots, they block, they head. They do all the little things that make you a defender."

With all of their success thus far, the Slammers had not faced Real Colorado until the final four. LAFC's attack ran into a brick wall going against the Centennial, Colo.-based club. Spires preached that his team's mentality was the difference-maker in taking down the Playoffs' No. 1 overall seed.

"The best quality of this team is their mentality," Spires said. "They grind through and they have special moments. I thought their mentality today was fantastic."