June 28, 2016
A look at the upcoming games
TSF Academy Valkyries (1-2-1, 4pts) at Long Island Rough Riders (2-2-1, 7pts) @ Saint Anthony’s High School, South Huntington, NY 5:00 PM ET
Wednesday’s match will be the first meeting between the two former W-League teams in UWS play. In fact, Long Island will get used to facing former W-League opposition to finish their season, as they host the New England Mutiny and the New York Magic in their final two home games at Cy Donnelly Stadium. The Rough Riders are not mathematically out of the East title race, but unfortunately for them, New Jersey Copa F.C. is in control and the two teams won’t face each other again this year (LI won the season series, 1-0-1).
Long Island got back in the win column in their last match, defeating the Lancaster Inferno 2-1 at Millersville University’s Pucillo Field. The Rough Riders were the stronger side and took advantage in the 15th minute, as Laura Gomez fired her shot over the dive of Inferno goalkeeper Emily Dolan for the 1-0 lead. Long Island was awarded a penalty kick in the 48th minute, and Erin Neville converted from the spot for the game-winning goal. Goalkeeper Melissa Guglielmo was named East Defensive Player of the Week for her five save effort.
TSF Academy also did well in their last match, as they scored three unanswered goals to ruin the New England Mutiny’s weekend for their first UWS East win, 3-1. Natalie Melillo tied the match at 1-1 for the Valkyries in the 35th minute. Melillo chipped her shot over Mutiny keeper Anne-Marie Ulliac as she ran out to stop the scoring opportunity. Nickolette Driesse’s free kick in the 48th minute won the match and her strong overall play got her honored as the East Offensive Player of the Week. Melissa Kelly scored her first goal of the season in the 88th minute.
Colorado Pride (2-2-0, 6 pts) at Real Salt Lake Women (3-2-1, 10 pts) @ East High School Salt Lake City, UT 6:00 PM MT
The Real Salt Lake Women had an opportunity this past Saturday to stake an early claim to the UWS West title, but their prospects came up just a bit short as they scored first but gave up two goals to the host Santa Clarita Blue Heat in a 2-1 loss. RSL have a chance to get right back on track as they host the Colorado Storm, who they defeated by a 2-1 score on Sunday, June 19th. But even though the Storm have a losing record, another victory for the Real Women is no easy proposition.
The Storm took the lead in the team’s first meeting in the 33rd minute, as Sadie Stark tallied her second goal of the season on an assist from Elizabeth Sweeney. The tactical adjustments at halftime for RSL Head Coach Mark Davis paid dividends, as sub Jess Vanderveur came through in the 64th minute with the tying goal - her third of the season and second in as many games. After the second mandatory water break, substitute forward Kim Gale scored the game-winner past Storm keeper Jalen Tompkins (six saves) in the 76th minute.
Simply put, the Storm are a tough opponent in a strong top-to-bottom conference. RSL will have their hands full as they prepare to jot down the early mark in the West title race. Real Salt Lake will be the first team to complete their season schedule. After tomorrow’s match, they host the Colorado Pride (2-2) on July 7th in their final regular season game of 2016. A potential 5-2-1 record may be good enough to win the West, but the Blue Heat can still overtake RSL if they win out. The Pride have full control of their title fate but need to go undefeated in their final four games.