Arsenal defeated Toronto FC 6-5 in their final match of the Dallas Cup group stage, but it wasn’t enough to ensure their progression to the semi-final of the competition.

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Folarin Balogun at the Dallas Cup 2019 (Photo via Facebook / Dallas Cup)

Arsenal’s u19 side knew they needed a win to have any hope of progressing in their final group game, and they achieved it in strange circumstances. The Gunners put together a 2-1 lead at half-time, before another eight goals after the break resulted in a final score of 6-5.

Ben Cottrell was the captain of the u19s on the day, his first opportunity to pull on the armband at that level. Cottrell’s recent performances have certainly earned him the chance to lead the team, particularly as he’s developing a knack for important late goals.

On this occasion, Alfie Matthews, Sam Greenwood and Folarin Balogun were among the goalscorers, and Balogun’s two-goal haul puts him on 31 for the season in all competitions. Harry Clarke and Mazeed Ogungbo provided an assist each, and talented 16-year-old Yunus Musah set up two.

Unfortunately, Monterrey drew the other group game with Real Salt Lake 1-1, leaving them on seven points, one ahead of Arsenal.

In the Dallas Cup, the three group winners automatically qualify for the semi-final, along with the best second-place side. That was Group A’s New York City FC, who had six points like Arsenal, but a goal difference of seven versus Arsenal’s zero.

It’s disappointing for the young Gunners not to make it as far in the competition as last year (when they reached the final). However, they still have a lot to play for on their return to England, with the u18 Premier League title within their grasp.

A win in their final game against Fulham would ensure top spot in the south division, to be followed by a playoff against the winner in the north. Let’s hope for a couple of good results to cap off a positive season.