Soccer News: WPSL Aztec MA Aims To Win The Right Way
Aztec MA has quite the M.O., involving lots of goals and games that aren't usually very close. They've scored at least three times in eight of 11 games, at least four in six, and won the Northeast Atlantic Conference title with a 10-game unbeaten streak, nine of them victories.
That's the Aztec Soccer tradition of success: The Boston-area club sent five teams to the Women's Premier Soccer League postseason the past three years, winning the 2010 title (with Boston Aztec Breakers Reserves). This is the third straight year they've sent a side to the national final four.
The framework for all that is how the club plays.
Aztec (9-1-1) brings a high-powered possession game into the WPSL's championship weekend at Ashton Brosnaham Stadium in Pensacola, Fla., where they will meet Oklahoma FC (11-1-2) in a semifinal Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. Final-four host Gulf Coast Texans (8-0-0) will meet Salt Lake United (8-0-2) in the second game of the doubleheader, at 6:30 p.m., and the title game will be played Sunday at 1 p.m.
“I think we're playing great soccer,” Aztec head coach Dushawne (Doc) Simpson said. “I think the girls have come in with the attitude of let's enjoy ourselves and let's play great soccer. Our focus on just playing an entertaining style of soccer has been key for us. We've got a big collection of players, some with us a few years, some new faces. Everyone adds to the equation.”
They've scored 41 goals for the season, the fourth-best strike rate among 63 WPSL teams, while conceding only nine -- only five since a season-opening 4-3 loss to the New England Mutiny Reserves, a result they avenged twice, including a 2-1 decision that sent them to Florida.
“We've come together, gained pieces and lost pieces, and over the last month it's been the same core of girls, and they've got to know each other,” Simpson said. “We're playing great soccer, and the girls are really enjoying each other.”
The attack relies upon Colgate University's Jill Kinter, who has six goals, and Icelandic target forward Greta Samuelsdottir, from Northeastern, who “has one of the best left feet I've ever seen,” Simpson says. “She hits the ball harder than I've ever seen. A typical European player, can do it all. Her workrate, technical ability, it's just fantastic.”
Erin Quinlan, an All-American at Hartford, has been “phenomenal” as goalkeeper, and the backline is marshaled by Providence's Jenna Roncarati. Simpson says that “if that pro league takes shape next year, she'll be somebody at the top of the list.”
Penn State's Maddy Evans, who also has a half-dozen goals, will miss the final four because she must report for preseason with the Nittany Lions. Several other Aztec players also have to miss the trip.
“Maddy's an unbelievable player,” Kinter said. “We'll definitely miss her on the field, but we have so many talented players. I think someone will step up, definitely.”
Simpson thinks his team can overcome, too.
“We've got to play good soccer. We've got to keep the ball,” he said. “We don't have a whole lot of numbers. We expect some high temperatures, and we've got to possess the ball and make the other team work. ... If we can keep that up, we need Greta and Jill to have a big weekend and put the ball in the back of the net, and we'll need Erin to make some big saves for us. We expect those things to happen, but it will be an uphill challenge.”
It's one Aztec readily accepts. That tradition of success -- and how well they play the game -- provides great confidence.
“We believe in what we're doing,” Simpson said. “We play the game the way it should be played, and we ask you to try to stop us.”
Aztec MA is an amateur women’s soccer team that has competed in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) since 2005. The Aztec organization won the 2010 WPSL National Championship. Home games in 2012 will take place atNorth Reading High School.