W-LEAGUE NEWS: Pali Defeats Sounders Women
Week in Review with Spotlight on Paili - Takes control of Western Conference race with 2-0 win
The Pali Blues took control of the Western Conference playoff race as early goals by Lynn Williams and Nikki Washington gave them a 2-0 victory against the Seattle Sounders Women on Wednesday night at the Starfire Sports Complex.
The Blues struck first in the fifth minute as Williams received a pass between two defenders on the left side, cut toward the center and fired a low shot into the right corner of the net. Just two minutes later, Washington got in behind the Blues defense as she latched onto a long pass from Sasha Andrews in the right channel before calmly lobbing advancing Sounders goalkeeper Katie Hultin.
The Sounders tried to respond, Veronica Perez going close to halving the deficit with a knuckling shot, but the Blues earned the victory to take a commanding lead at the top of the Western Conference.
OTTAWA 2, LAVAL 1: The Ottawa Fury rallied to win against the Laval Comets at the Algonquin College Soccer Complex as a pair of goals by Norwegian international Lisa-Marie Woods kept her side perfect at home this season.
In hot and humid conditions, Laval took the lead in the 19th minute as N’Kemjika Ezurike took advantage of a giveaway in the Ottawa end to curl a shot in from the top of the penalty area. The Fury were able to get back on even terms six minutes before halftime, however, as Woods capitalized on a goalkeeping error to finish an easy opportunity.
Both sides had chances to take the lead early in the second half, Ezurike going close with a volley and Ottawa’s Mallory Outerbridge unable to get enough power behind a close-range effort. Woods found the breakthrough in the 61st minute for the Fury as she fired home a free kick from 25 yards out, and Ottawa’s defense maintained the lead until the final whistle.
ATLANTA 1 CHARLOTTE 0: The Atlanta Silverbacks edged out the Charlotte Lady Eagles at Atlanta Silverbacks Park as Elizabeth Guess scored the only goal, giving her side an edge in the Southeast Division playoff race.
Guess opened the scoring in the 18th minute, as she took a pass from teammate Rachel Garcia, beat a defender and fired a shot into the back of the net. The Silverbacks almost doubled their lead just before halftime, but Charlotte goalkeeper Robyn Jones made a pair of outstanding saves to deny Tiffini Turpin.
Charlotte didn’t have many chances throughout the contest, but the Lady Eagles came close to an equalizer in the 58th minute when Erin Wingo fired a shot from 25 yards that came back off the crossbar. The Silverbacks were able to clear the rebound to safety and hold onto their lead as they handed Charlotte its first loss of the season.
D.C. UNITED 1, VIRGINIA BEACH 1: The Virginia Beach Piranhas ended D.C. United Women’s bid for a perfect regular season, but were unable to cut into their lead in the Atlantic Division as the teams finished even at the Maryland Soccerplex.
The Piranhas took an early lead when Jamie Clarke split United’s defense in the sixth minute before rounding goalkeeper Didi Haracic and finishing from a tight angle. D.C. was able to get back on even terms in the 20th minute, though, as Mikaela Howell continued her remarkable season, providing a fine pass that allowed an unmarked Ashley Herndon to finish.
Virginia Beach didn’t offer many opportunities for United to take the lead, however, as the Piranhas’ tight defense clamped down on Howell for the remainder of the contest.
NJ WILDCATS 2, LONG ISLAND 1: The New Jersey Wildcats reduced the gap between themselves and the Long Island Rough Riders as a pair of goals by Yael Averbuch gave her side victory at Saint John Vianney Stadium.
The Wildcats took a second-minute lead as Averbuch finished off a move begun by Amber Brooks, who found Andrea Lopez on the left side. Lopez cut into the penalty area and sent a low ball to Averbuch, who turned and fired home. The U.S. international doubled her side’s lead in the 38thminute, with Lopez again the provider as her corner found Averbuch for a low, left-footed shot into the net.
The Rough Riders set up a tense finish with seven minutes to go when Vaila Barsley scored from Kaila Sciascia’s corner kick, but the Wildcats held on to take victory and cut Long Island’s lead to four points, with New Jersey holding a game in hand.
CENTRAL SC 2, ATLANTA 2: The Atlanta Silverbacks moved into first place in the Southeast Division, but left it late to claim a point and remain undefeated against the Central SC Cobras at Younts Soccer Stadium.
Trailing at halftime due to a goal by Atlanta’s Jamie Pollock in the 36th minute, the Cobras hit back two minutes into the second half as Jamie Stewart slotted home Tabitha Padgett’s cross for the equalizer. Then after the Silverback had Rebecca Nolin sent off reducing her side to 10 players, the Cobras took the lead in the 73rd minute as Christina Stern’s shot from just outside the penalty flew home.
The Silverbacks were able to score with almost the last kick of the match to salvage a point, however, as Alexa Newfield was able to win possession after a collision with Central SC goalkeeper Christina Reuter and finish into the open goal.
The point moved the Silverbacks even on points with the Charlotte Lady Eagles, with Atlanta currently holding the head-to-head tiebreaker thanks to their victory on Friday night. The Silverbacks and Lady Eagles will meet again in their final game of the season for what could be a division championship decider.
VANCOUVER 0, PALI 0: The Vancouver Whitecaps Women became the first side to earn a point against the Pali Blues at the Kinsmen Sports Complex as the sides finished scoreless.
The Blues’ Nikki Washington went close to opening the scoring in the fifth minute, only for her shot to go just high and wide of the top-right corner of the Whitecaps’ net. Camille Levin also went close, forcing Vancouver goalkeeper Gurveen Clair into a good save from a free kick nine minutes later.
Vancouver also had chances, with a pair coming from the work of Jenna Richardson, who came closest to finding the net in the 59th minute as her shot after cutting in from the left side went wide. The Whitecaps were able to hold on for a point, extending their undefeated streak to five games, as a late clearance off the line by Marissa Mykines denied the Blues their 10th consecutive win to start the season.
LAVAL 1, HAMILTON 0: The Laval Comets clinched their place in the Central Conference playoffs as N’Kemjika Ezurike scored the only goal of the game in their victory against the Hamilton FC Rage.
Ezurike scored in the opening minute of the second half, giving her four goals in five games for the Comets this season. Also clinching their place in the playoffs this weekend were the Toronto Lady Lynx, whose 1-0 win against the London Gryphons on Wednesday night and Ottawa’s victory against London on Saturday were enough to put them in with three games to play.
Wednesday, June 20
Colorado Rush 2, Colorado Rapids 1
Central SC 4, FC Jax 0
Toronto 1, London 0
Ottawa 2, Laval 1
Virginia Beach 1, Northern Virginia 0
D.C. United 5, Fredericksburg 0
Long Island 1, North Jersey 0
Santa Clarita 4, Victoria 2
Pali 2, Seattle 0
Friday, June 22
Quebec City 3, Hamilton 3
Atlanta 1, Charlotte 0
Colorado Rush 2, LA Strikers 1
Pali 4, Victoria 0
Vancouver 2, Santa Clarita 0
Saturday, June 23
Ottawa 10, London 0
NJ Wildcats 2, Long Island 1
New York 5, NJ Rangers 3
Dayton 2, Fredericksburg 2
FC Jax 3, Tampa 2
Central SC 2, Atlanta 2
D.C. United 1, Virginia Beach 1
Sunday, June 24
Ottawa 1, Toronto 0
Colorado Rapids 2, LA Strikers 0
Vancouver 0, Pali 0
Laval 1, Hamilton 0
North Jersey 3, New York 0
Seattle 4, Santa Clarita 0
Tuesday, June 26
D.C. United at Northern Virginia 7 p.m. ET
Wednesday, June 27
NJ Rangers at North Jersey, 8 p.m. ET
Vancouver at Pali, 7 p.m. PT
Friday, June 29
Quebec City at Laval, 1 p.m. ET
Northern Virginia at Dayton, 5:30 p.m. ET
Rochester at London, 7 p.m. ET
Vancouver at LA Strikers, 7 p.m. PT
Saturday, June 30
New York at NJ Wildcats, 4 p.m. ET
NJ Rangers at Long Island, 5 p.m. ET
Seattle at Colorado Rapids, 4:30 p.m. MT
Tampa at Central SC, 6:30 p.m. ET
Hamilton at Ottawa, 7 p.m. ET
Sunday, July 1
Northern Virginia at Dayton, noon ET
Seattle at Colorado Rush, 1 p.m. MT
North Jersey at New York, 4 p.m. ET
Fredericksburg at D.C. United 5 p.m. ET
Vancouver at Santa Clarita, 2 p.m. PT
Tampa at FC Jax, 7 p.m. ET
The W-League is the first and longest-standing women’s soccer league in North American, featuring the highest level of women’s soccer in the United States and Canada. With emphasis on quality ownership, retention, league standards and player development, the W-League is the strongest, most sophisticated and best organized women’s league on and off the field. The 2012 W-League campaign features 30 teams in three regional conferences playing 12-14 regular season matches. In addition to the league’s international and professional stars, elite amateur players have the opportunity to compete in the W-League while maintaining their collegiate eligibility. The league is recognized throughout the world for providing superior competition for female players, while offering affordable family entertainment for fans throughout North America.