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National Women's Soccer League


June 3, 2016
A look at the upcoming games

Real Salt Lake Women at Houston Aces @ Houston Sports Park, Houston, Tex. 7:00 PM CST
These two teams met last week, with the Aces winning 1-0. A well-placed cross by Houston defender Shauna Peare found forward Paige Hayward, and she beat RSL goalkeeper Rebecca Ritchie to the ball and headed home in the 71st minute. Aces keeper Courtney Seelhorst (five saves) was a brick wall as she almost single-handedly kept the Real Women attack at bay with her first-half performance in goal.

Returning the favor in this Saturdayís rematch will be of utmost importance to the Real Salt Lake Women, but if their offense can continue their pace of play, scoring goals should eventually come around for them. The forward trio of Madie Lyons, Brecken Mozingo and team co-captain Colette Smith harassed Houston to no end, but the lack of luck in front of goal alongside the play of Seelhorst kept them off the score board. Although disappointed with the result, RSL Women Head Coach Mark Davis was pleased with his teamís effort, as they out-shot the Aces by a 16-9 margin and out-cornered them, 10-2.

TSF Academy Valkyries at New Jersey Copa F.C. @ Mercer County Community College 4:30 PM ET
The first-year NJCFC program has been improving more and more as the Summer 2016 season has progressed, as the team gave up three goals in a loss to Long Island to start the season and have only allowed two goals in their last three matches where theyíve gone 2-0-1. That run of success has also seen Copaís offense spark to life, as after being held scoreless in their first-ever match at the pro-am level, NJCFC has scored nine goals in three games led by league co-leader Krystyna Freda (four goals).

Copa has also run the rule over two former W-League teams in the UWS East: the TSF Academy Valkyries and a long-time organization in the New York Magic (0-2). Last Sunday, Copa simply dominated the Magic at home, but it took three goals in the final 24 minutes for it to show on the score board in the 4-0 victory.

TSF can feel somewhat aggrieved with their loss to open the season, as they were evenly matched with NJCFC for most of the first half until they surrendered two goals in the final five minutes. The Valkyries tied the match at 1-1 in the 28th minute, as Syracuse University defender Alana OíNeill rose up for a corner kick from Penn State midfielder Nickolette Driesse and scored her teamís only goal. But the two-goal outburst from Copa to end the half seemed to puncture the teamís sails as the visitors would hold the run of play the rest of the game.

Lancaster Inferno at New England Mutiny @ East Longmeadow High School, East Longmeadow, Mass., 7:00 PM ET
The budding rivalry between the Mutiny and the Inferno grew into full bloom when the two teams faced off at Millersville Universityís Pucillo Field on Sunday, May 22nd. It was the season opener for Lancaster and their offense would rain on the New England defense early in the match, but Mutiny captain Kate Howarth kept her team above water via two goals in the second half for the 3-2 road win. With her one-woman performance in attack so far this season, Howarth leads the UWS in overall scoring with four goals and an assist (nine points).

But Katie Hackos was also a wrecking ball in attack for the Inferno, scoring both goals in the loss while constantly harassing the New England defense.

And New England may not have to rely on Howarth this Saturday, as the home side can count on the return of two familiar faces. Providence College forward Rachel Ugolik will see her first time on the pitch in 2016 while another Mutiny veteran - former UConn & Boston Breakers midfielder Riley Houle - has returned to the team after a three-year hiatus. Ugolik is coming off her strongest season for the Friars as she started all 22 games for the BIG EAST runner-ups (five goals, three assists). Houle played against New England last year for the Breakers Reserves and was also called up to the senior NWSL team.

Lancaster Inferno at Long Island Rough Riders @ Saint Anthonyís High School, South Huntington, NY 5:30 PM ET
This Sundayís match vs. Lancaster will mark two weeks between games for Long Island, as they last played a 1-1 draw at New Jersey on Sunday, May 22nd. The Inferno will be playing their second game in two days.

What Lancaster has to counter the quick turnaround is the return of a core group of veteran players alongside three new defensive-minded players who have extensive international experience. Guatemalan international defender Coralia Monterroso, former France U-20 defender Alexandra Plaintive and Costa Rican international defender Carol Sanchez are all quality additions to this yearís Inferno team. And Lancaster has a rock solid tandem to rely on in goal, as team veteran Emily Dolan and University of Connecticut keeper Emily Armstrong are a great 1-2 defensive counter-punch for Head Coach Francisco Cleaves.

The visitors will need their defense in order, as Christina Bellero has burst on to the national scene for Long Island, netting three goals which is good for third in UWS behind Krystyna Freda and Kate Howarth. The Saint Johnís forward has certainly been a handful as she pestered a quality Copa defense in both games this season. The Long Island defense has also been strong so far, allowing only a goal. Defender Allyson Baner was an Honorable Mention Defensive Player of the Week selection while defender Mikhaila Martinov has played all 180 minutes in the 2016 season so far.

Colorado Storm at Colorado Pride @ Washburn Field, Colorado Springs, Colo. 1:00 PM MT
The Colorado Pride kick off the home portion of their 2016 UWS West schedule on Sunday, hosting the Storm in one of the most gorgeous settings in all of pro-am womenís soccer - Washburn Field at Colorado College. The two teams met up on May 22nd, with the Pride holding the overall run of play on the road even amidst the windy conditions at Sports Authority Field in Parker, CO, coming away with a 1-0 win.

The vital breakthrough occurred in the 52nd minute when Texas Tech grad and Pride forward Briana Rohmer put the ball away from eight yards out off a perfectly slotted pass from University of Northern Colorado sophomore midfielder Mariel Gutierrez.

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