U18s Into Cup Semi-Finals

Everton Under-18s are through to the Dallas Cup semi-finals after beating Real Salt Lake 3-1 at the Cotton Bowl.

The victory, coupled with Tigres’ 3-3 draw with Kyoto Sanga, ensured the Young Blues finished top of Group B and secured a place in the last-four of the tournament.

Any early nerves were settled in the first half when centre-back Callum Lees smashed home from close range.

Nathan Broadhead struck a wonderful curling second with a quarter of an hour remaining and Delial Brewster showed great composure to effectively wrap-up the win late on.

Jesus Avelar pulled one back for Real Salt Lake in stoppage time but it had no direct influence on the final outcome.

Everton now wait to discover the team they will play in the semi-finals on Friday.

The Under-18s went into the match with one change to the side that beat Kyoto Sanga two days earlier. Josef Yarney returned from his ban in place of Jamie Mellen, who had to sit out the match through suspension for bookings collected in the two previous fixtures.

Knowing a victory was needed to be in with a chance of advancing, Everton played intently throughout.

Brewster twice went close early on, shooting narrowly wide of the target from inside the area on both occasions.

Lees struck the breakthrough goal for Everton on 25 minutes. Yarney got a touch on Broadhead’s corner and the central defender was in the right place to convert from eight yards out.

It was a richly deserved lead, which was taken into half-time. The Americans rarely threatened Everton’s goal prior to the break and whenever they did, keeper Ben Pierce was alert to any danger.

Everton continued to dominate when play resumed and an angled drive from winger Liam Morris was fractionally wide. Yarney also saw a header directed just over the bar.

The Young Blues’ doubled the lead on 72 minutes through a top-class strike from Broadhead.

Brewster broke quickly through the middle, played it out to the left where the Welsh striker cut inside and bent a precise finish into the top corner.

Two became three in the closing stages when quick thinking from Ryan Harrington released Brewster, who ran clear and tucked away his second goal of the tournament.

Avelar found the net for Real Salt Lake in stoppage time, but the 3-1 win was enough for Everton to finish above the Americans on goal difference after both sides recorded a total of six points from their three matches.

Kevin Sheedy’s side can now look forward to Friday’s semi-final which is being played at Toyota Stadium - the home of MLS club FC Dallas.

Everton: Pierce, Yates (Corke 90), Lees, Yarney, Harrington, Baningime, Denny, Kiersey, Morris (Virtanen 87), Broadhead (Morris 87), Brewster (Sub not used: Johnson)

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