June 10, 2016
A look at the upcoming games
TSF Academy Valkyries (0-2-0, 0pts) at New York Magic (0-2-0, 0pts) @ Mazzella Field , New Rochelle, NY, 4:00 PM ET
Two former W-League teams that are still struggling to get their first points in Women’s United Soccer. In their most recent defeats, both teams felt the wrath of the New Jersey Copa F.C. offense.
Though both teams are winless, the Valkyries have moved above the Magic in the East standings due to the goal they scored vs. NJCFC in their home opener on May 21st. TSF can thank defender Alanna O’Neill for that, as she temporarily tied the match before three unanswered goals ensured Copa’s 4-1 road victory.
New York almost notched their first goal of the season in their last match against NJCFC on May 30th, as forward Sara Sanau-Ruiz’s shot glanced off the crossbar in the 76th minute. Other than that, they were simply out-matched as Copa out-shot them by a 14-1 margin. Yet, their defense can rely on goalkeeper Samantha Depken, as she has been their most consistent performer, making 19 saves in total in defeats to New England and New Jersey.
New Jersey Copa (3-1-1, 10 pt) at F.C.Lancaster Inferno (2-1-0, 6pts) @ Pucillo Field, Millersville, Pa 6:00 PM E T
As they face off in the first game of a home-and-home series over the next two weekends this Saturday, the matches between Lancaster and New Jersey should be indicators to the rest of the UWS East of what they can expect the rest of the season.
Wins in the next two games for either side will most certainly give them an advantage in the conference race and automatic berth into the UWS National Championship held the weekend of July 30-31. Copa has played the most games of any UWS team up to this point. So, a road victory Saturday and another win the following weekend at home over Lancaster will put the Inferno with three losses and behind the proverbial eight-ball. With league-leading scorer Krystyna Freda (five goals) orchestrating the league-leading NJCFC offense (12 goals), they will look to do just that against a East contender.
That’s easier said than done, especially against an organized and well-coached side like the Inferno. They have experience in the right areas as UWS East Defensive Player of the Week and Costa Rican international Carol Sanchez can chip in on offense, with Guatemalan international Coralia Monterroso and former France U-20 defender Alexandra Plaintive as her side kicks in Head Coach Francisco Cleaves’ system. Add the experience of Lancaster veteran and Offensive Player of the Week selection Teresa Rynier in the midfield and Copa will have all they can handle.
Long Island Rough Riders (1-1-1, 4 pts) at New England Mutiny (2-1-0, 6 pts) @ East Longmeadow High School, East Longmeadow, Mass., 7:00 PM ET
Two long-time women’s soccer organizations in the New England and Long Island will renew their rivalry this Saturday as it will be 15 years since the last time they faced one another in league competition.
New England will look to get back to its winning ways after last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Lancaster. The Mutiny held the overall run of play but the disciplined Inferno side kept New England’s offense at bay. It was the first time this season the Mutiny were held scoreless, as they tallied six goals in their first two wins over New York and Lancaster.
Long Island knows how it feels to be frustrated by the Inferno, as their offense was stifled as well in a similar 1-0 loss at home to Lancaster last Sunday. In the first half, the Rough Riders were the more dominant side but only put one of five shots on target and were called for seven offsides (10 in the entire match). Look for leading scorer Christina Bellero (three goals) to lead the Long Island offense as her athleticism can worry any defense. Their defense has been strong as well, allowing only two goals in their first three matches.
Santa Clarita Blue Heat (1-0-1, 4pts) at Real Salt Lake Women (1-1-0, 3pts) @ Davis High School Stadium, Kaysville, Utah, 6:00 PM MT
There are traditional rivalries throughout the UWS West, but this match may very well start a new one. Saturday’s match between Santa Clarita and Real Salt Lake will be the first-ever match between the two sides. Both sides boast experienced leaders at the top of their rosters with young & athletic core players to rely upon.
Despite holding the run of play, RSL couldn’t solve Houston goalkeeper Courtney Seelhorst in the 1-0 loss in their home opener, then. got revenge on their old adversaries last weekend, as they traveled to Houston for the rematch and the Brigham Young University duo of Elena Medeiros and Michele Vasconcelos led the offense in a 4-1 win.
Santa Clarita will have the return of Israeli WNT defender Diana Redman from international duty to count on, plus the defensive duo of Mexican international Yadira Toraya and former Canadian U-20 member Michelle Roy have been influential in both defense & offense.
Houston Aces (1-3-0, 3pts) at Colorado Pride (2-0-0, 6pts) @ Washburn Field, Colorado Springs, Colo., 4:00 PM MT
The Pride have not allowed a goal this season with thanks to UWS West Defensive Player of the Week selections Lexi Long and Beth Plentl. Long led the Pride defense in their season-opening 1-0 win over the Storm, while Plentl was instrumental on both sides of the ball last Sunday in the come-from-behind 2-1 victory over their northern rivals.
The one worry that Head Coach Richard Simonyi may have for his team so far this season is on offense. It took until the second half against a team playing in its second game in four days for them to get rolling last weekend. Goals from former Texas Tech forward Bri Rohmer and West Virginia University star Michaela Abam got the job done, but Simonyi will hope his attack will be on the front foot early in the match against the Aces.
A win over Houston will keep the Pride undefeated and more importantly, in first place in the UWS West - no matter what else happens over the weekend.