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UWS Preview: Week VII

06/20/2019, 5:00pm EDT

Battles for postseason positioning abound this weekend


Friday, June 21

Syracuse DA (2-3-1) vs. Rochester Lancers (1-2-2)
6:30 PM EDT | Solvay High School Stadium | MyCujoo

Friday's game between Syracuse DA and the Rochester Lancers will be the rubber match of the Upstate Derby. Only 80 miles separate the two sides. On May 19th, Rochester hosted Syracuse at the Aquinas Institute of Rochester and the visitors netted a late equalizer in the 1-1 draw. It was also the season opener in the East Conference of United Women's Soccer (UWS) for both teams. The Lancers came flying out of the gates and Taylor Wingerden scored in the 3rd minute of play for the 1-0 lead. The home side held that slim advantage for the next 77 minutes of play before SDA tied the score. Reigning UWS MVP Brooke Barbuto found Marissa Greiner on the right flank. Greiner cut the ball to her left foot and placed the ball into the side netting of the far post. Syracuse held on for the draw in their inaugural UWS game. Both teams are on the outside looking in when it comes to the East playoffs, where the top four teams qualify and battle for the automatic bid into the UWS Championship. The Lancaster Inferno are pulling away in fourth place, so another draw will not do for either side's postseason ambitions.

Connecticut Fusion (4-0-2) vs. Worcester Smiles (0-6-0)
7:00 PM EDT | Farmington Sports Arena | MyCujoo

In the second of back-to-back home games, the Connecticut Fusion will look to continue their undefeated start to the 2019 season against the Worcester Smiles - who are mired at the bottom of the UWS East standings. This will be the first of two meetings this season between Connecticut and Worcester with the teams scheduled to meet up again at Foley Stadium on Monday, July 8th. Coincidently, that game occurs on the last day of the regular season and may hold postseason implications for the Fusion. Last season, Connecticut made short work of the Smiles in their lone meeting, winning 5-0 on July 15th in the season finale that qualified them for the East Championship game. Both teams came in as expansion sides for the 2018 UWS season, however, their respective journeys couldn't be any more different. Worcester struggled in their debut season last year, going 1-9-0 and allowing a league-high 49 goals, while only scoring seven. The Smiles' fortunes haven't fared any better in their sophomore season, as the team has allowed 28 goals without scoring a goal so far.

Saturday, June 22

Lancaster Inferno (4-1-0) vs. New Jersey Copa FC (1-5-0)
5:00 PM EDT | Millersville University | MyCujoo

After a come-from-behind 2-1 road win on Wednesday against the Long Island Rough Riders, the Lancaster Inferno are starting to build up a head of steam. Kay Liebl and Teresa Rook scored for the defending UWS East champions. The Inferno are now tied with Long Island (4-4-0) in fourth-place and with two consecutive wins over the Rough Riders they now hold the tiebreak over the 2017 conference champions. Four teams will qualify for the East playoffs and Long Island is losing momentum with only two games remaining, opening the door for the likes of Syracuse DA. The Rough Riders play SDA in a home-and-home series to finish their 2019 campaign. On Wednesday, Long Island took a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute via a penalty kick by Kayla Saager. The hosts held that lead until the 65th minute when the visitors tied the score. Lancaster completed the comeback in the 81st minute and now go into the rubber match against New Jersey Copa FC on a four-game winning streak. The Inferno won their previous match against Copa on June 1 by a 1-0 score. In their first two seasons, New Jersey were the top side in the UWS East but have not kept pace recently and have only scored four goals in six games in 2019.

Syracuse DA (2-3-1) vs. New England Mutiny (5-0-1)
6:30 PM EDT | Solvay High School Stadium | MyCujoo

While Syracuse DA has a home game against the Rochester Lancers the night before, this game for the New England Mutiny will serve as a back-to-back matchup against the UWS East newcomers. The two teams faced off at Lusitano Stadium on June 15 and New England took advantage of SDA's second road game in as many nights. The Mutiny scored four unanswered goals in the first half and did not look back in a 5-0 victory. The win moved New England into first-place in the UWS East and only stand two points ahead of the Connecticut Fusion (14 points) in the standings. Team captain Kate Howarth tallied the game winner in the 10th minute on an assist from Zoe Steck. The UConn forward intercepted a pass and Howarth dribbled in on goal and fired her shot over Syracuse goalkeeper Mackenzie Hanna (eight saves). The former Boston Breaker tallied her league-leading 10th goal in the 36th minute when Howarth collected a missed pass and finished low underneath Hanna for the 3-0 lead. Jessica Fernandes and Zoe Steck finished the scoring in the win. After a bright 2-1-1 start, the two road losses by Syracuse last weekend temporarily tampered their momentum.

Sunday, June 23

Rochester Lancers (1-2-2) vs. Worcester Smiles (0-6-0)
2:00 PM EDT | Aquinas Institute of Rochester | MyCujoo

Sunday's game between the Rochester Lancers and Worcester Smiles will be the rubber match in the season series between the two teams. Rochester notched their first win of the 2019 season on May 25th at Foley Stadium as they salvaged a two-game weekend road trip in impressive fashion via a 6-0 victory over Worcester. The Lancers got two goals & two assists each from forwards Claire Myers and Leah Wengender and in addition, team-leading scorer Taylor Wingerden had a goal and an assist in the win over the Smiles. Kenna Kosinski made three save on goal for the win. Last season, Rochester also registered a big road victory against Worcester, taking a 9-3 decision on May 20. The teams were tied at 3-3 at halftime and the Lancers exploded for six unanswered goals in the second half. Brooke Barbuto announced her early candidacy for UWS MVP (which she eventually won) with a three-goal and assist performance.


Friday, June 21

Lansing United (7-0-0) vs. Indiana Union (5-1-1)
7:00 PM EDT | Lansing Catholic H.S. | MyCujoo

The top two teams in the UWS Midwest will face off in a rematch from May 31 where Lansing United captured a 3-2 road win against the Indiana Union and took the early lead in the race for the regular season conference crown. The two sides traded goals before Camryn Evans scored the game winner in the 77th minute for Lansing. It was the second of the game (and third of the season) for the All-Big Ten selection from Michigan State University. The visitors opened the scoring in the 24th minute on a goal from captain Dani Stephan. Indiana immediately responded and earned a penalty kick just two minutes later and converted to tie the score. Evans put United ahead in the 38th minute and the team kept the lead into halftime. The hosts came from behind to tie the score again in the 52nd minute on a goal from Samantha Dewey. Evans came through twenty-five minutes later to put Lansing top of the Midwest table. Madison Clem and Grace Kraft combined to make nine saves in the win. Since that loss, the Union have won four straight games including a big 5-2 home win over Grands Rapids FC on Tuesday night. Lauren Rice scored two goals and Samantha Dewey (8g, 5a, 21 points) continued her hot summer with a goal and assist.

Grand Rapids FC (2-4-1) vs. Michigan Legends (2-4-0)
7:00 PM EDT | Grandville High School | MyCujoo

It has been an up-and-down season for the defending UWS Midwest champions, as after two losses to start their campaign, Grand Rapids has gone 2-2-1 since that time which includes Tuesday night's road loss to the Indiana Union. Goals from Brittany and Riley Tanner were not enough as goalkeeper Maia Perez allowed five goals. GRFC dropped even further back in third-place behind the Union, who now hold a nine-point lead in second-place. Grand Rapids has dropped back into a three-team battle for the final two spots in the Midwest playoffs with one of those sides being the Michigan Legends. Michigan is coming off a two-week layoff and their last game was a 3-1 home loss to Indiana on June 7. The Union scored three unanswered goals to open the game in a 3-1 win over the Legends in the first game of a weekend road trip. Erin McDonald headed in Abby Gardiner's corner kick for Michigan's lone goal in the 75th minute. The weekend before that, the Legends swept the season series with AFC Ann Arbor for their second 1-0 win over the Midwest newcomers. In the 60th minute, Alexandra Thomas capitalized on a defensive miscue to take the lead and the visitors did not relinquish it.

Saturday, June 22

AFC Ann Arbor (1-6-0) vs. Detroit Sun (2-4-0)
3:00 PM EDT | Concordia University Ann Arbor | MyCujoo

AFC Ann Arbor and the Detroit Sun are familiar adversaries this week as the two teams faced off in the Michigan Milk Cup semifinal on Wednesday night. Detroit hosted the match and scored the first goals before Ann Arbor's Devyn Brough (a former star for the Sun) evened the score at 2-2 before halftime. Detroit tallied three goals in the second half to pull away and move on to the Michigan Milk Cup final. In their previous matchup this season, Detroit hosted AFCAA as both teams opened their season at Ultimate Indoor Soccer on May 10. Like the Milk Cup semifinal, the Sun got off to a fast start and won but not without drama. In the fifth minute, Gabriella Mencotti got on the end of a through ball and her shot bounced off the far post and into the back of the net. A quarter of an hour later, Mami Yamaguchi scored the first ever goal for Ann Arbor after Devyn Brough found her on a long ball to the wing. Brough was just getting started, scoring from outside the box (and nicking the underside of the crossbar in the process) in the 41st minute to give AFCAA the lead. Detroit responded as Rachel Deluca's goal tied the game at 2-2 right before halftime. The Sun tallied two goals in the second half in the 4-2 victory.

Sunday, June 23

Michigan Legends (2-4-0) vs. Lansing United (7-0-0)
2:00 PM EDT | Legacy Center Field House | MyCujoo

The Michigan Legends' home match against Lansing United will be the first of two games between the two sides this season. Lansing will host the rematch on Sunday, July 7th in the season finale for both teams. This will be the second game of the weekend for Michigan and their first home game since their Week V loss to the Indiana Union. The Legends are still in the race for the four-team Midwest playoffs but face a tough road in their final four games. Michigan is tied with the Detroit Sun in fourth-place (six points), yet, they will face all the teams ahead of them in their final four regular season games and that includes two games vs. undefeated Lansing. The Legends have already lost to Grand Rapids FC (third-place) and Detroit while their goal differential is -13 which is well behind their compatriots. A loss on Friday night to GRFC will most certainly put them behind an even greater sized eight ball in regards to playoff qualification.

Detroit Sun (2-4-0) vs. Indiana Union (5-1-1)
5:00 PM EDT | The Corner Ballpark | MyCujoo

The Detroit Sun host the Indiana Union in the rubber match of their season series. The first time these two teams faced each other this year was on June 1 and after a tough loss to Lansing United the night before, Indiana bounced back and tallied a 3-2 win over the perennial conference contenders. Samantha Dewey notched a goal and two assists to help her side take over second-place in the UWS Midwest. Detroit went ahead on goals from Rachel Deluca and Madison Schupbach but surrendered the lead in the loss. Since that game, the Sun lost to Grands Rapids FC (June 8) and Lansing (June 16) by a combined score of 9-3 before their Saturday night game against AFC Ann Arbor. This game will be played at The Corner Ballpark presented by Adient. Fans may not recognize the name of this new state-of-the-art facility but they will remember what used to be on the site: hallowed and historic Tiger Stadium. The Detroit Police Athletic League oversees the facility and all proceeds benefit after school programs for children in Detroit.


Saturday, June 22

San Antonio Athenians (2-1-0) vs. El Paso Surf (0-3-0)
7:00 PM EDT | Cibolo Multi-Event Center | MyCujoo

Saturday's match between the San Antonio Athenians and El Paso Surf will be the second of back-to-back games between the two UWS Southwest sides. Conference leaders Houston Aces are off this weekend and it is a chance for San Antonio to put pressure on them in the race for the regular season title. The Athenians took the trip west to El Paso last Saturday and notched their second consecutive win. Unlike their first two matches, the San Antonio offense ran smoothly from the outset en route to a 4-0 victory. Athenians forward Briana Woodall scored two goals and was named to the UWS Team of the Week for her efforts. Woodall tallied the eventual game winner in the 16th minute, firing a free kick over Surf goalkeeper Savannah Hernandez. This has been a tough season for El Paso. Hopes were high after the team rebranded in the offseason from ASA El Paso but those hopes have not translated to success on the pitch. The Surf have yet to score in three games and have a -18 differential with three different goalkeepers splitting time in net.

Sunday, June 23

FC Austin Elite (0-3-0) vs. El Paso Surf (0-3-0)
6:00 PM CDT | Elite Field (Round Rock) | MyCujoo

Unless the El Paso Surf can get off the schneid and generate some offense on Saturday night, Sunday's game against FC Austin Elite may be their best chance at scoring their first victory. Both teams will grow to be familiar with each other as this is the first of back-to-back games as Austin will make the long trip to El Paso on Saturday, June 29. In their last match, the Elite could not replicate their earlier season success against the conference leaders Houston Aces and lost 5-1 to the defending UWS champions at home. In the first match between Houston and Austin on May 25, the Elite held their potent offense to only one goal. The Aces opened the match by scoring three unanswered goals. Hanna Rozzi scored the first goal on Houston this season on a back post header on a corner kick for the 3-1 score but the visitors added two more later in the second half.


Saturday, June 22

Colorado Pride (0-4-0) vs. Calgary Foothills (4-0-0)
7:00 PM MDT | Mountain Lion Stadium | MyCujoo

This will be the first match of the season between the Colorado Pride and Calgary Foothills WFC. Colorado will make the trip north over the border on Sunday, July 7 in their regular season finale. Both teams sit at opposite ends of the UWS West standings as after two wins at home last weekend, Calgary is raring and ready to defend their conference title. This will be the first game in two weeks for the Pride and they will look to reverse their biggest loss of the season: a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of LA Galaxy OC. Alexis Walker has been a revelation for Colorado this season - making the UWS Team of the Week on two occasions despite her team's offensive struggles (two goals in four matches) - but she was not in net for the Pride in the loss to LA. Sonest Furtado opened the scoring in the first minute of play for the eventual game winner and assisted on Millene Cabral's goal in the 28th minute. The former University of Hawai'i star tallied her second of the game in the 62nd minute and Jordan Marada concluded the scoring in the 83rd minute on an assist by Madison Louderback. Afton Schrami made seven saves for the Pride while Hillary Beall made two saves in goal for the visitors.

Santa Clarita Blue Heat (3-2-0) vs. Queen City United (0-4-0)
6:00 PM PDT | Master's University | MyCujoo

UWS West newcomers Queen City United will make the flight from Saskatchewan to Southern California this weekend for two games. First up is Santa Clarita and Queen City will look to avenge last Sunday's 2-0 home loss to the Blue Heat. In a physical match that saw 29 fouls called, Santa Clarita bounced back from a loss to Calgary the day before and first half goals from Evdokia Popadinova and Chloe Castaneda propelled the visitors to victory. United goalkeeper Kylie Bolton (13 saves) stood tall in the loss. In the 31st minute, Popadinova tallied her first goal of the season and Castaneda earned a penalty kick right before halftime. The UCLA star cut inside from the left flank and got fouled. She fired her spot kick inside the upper 90 for the 2-0 score. Lauren Brzykcy made nine saves for the Blue Heat in the win. Even though QCU are tied with the Colorado Pride at the bottom of the standings, they have represented themselves well since their season-opening 5-0 loss to Calgary. In their last three losses, Queen City have been outscored by a 5-1 margin which is good for a 1.66 goals allowed average. Like the Pride, a little more offense could go a long way for them.

Sunday, June 23

LA Galaxy OC (4-1-0) vs. Queen City United (0-4-0)
5:00 PM PDT | Orange County Great Park | MyCujoo

LA Galaxy OC will want to get back in the win column after suffering their first loss of the season last Sunday afternoon on the road against Calgary Foothills WFC. Calgary completed an impressive weekend sweep against Santa Clarita and Los Angeles - both by shutout. LAGOC dropped a tight 1-0 loss to CFWFC as they peppered the reigning UWS Defensive Player of the Week Emily Burns, who had to make 11 saves. LA is tied with Calgary at the top of the UWS West table but the latter side has the tiebreak advantage at this point of the season. It was a tough road trip for the souther California side, as Queen City United battled them hard in a 1-0 win for the visitors. Millene Cabral tallied the game winner in the 53rd minute after an interception of a throw-in deep in United territory. Jordan O'Brien touched the ball ahead for Cabral who ran straight at the back-pedaling United defense and after a deft cut inside the penalty area, blasted a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Kylie Bolton (eight saves). It was her team-leading third goal of the season. Hillary Beall made two saves in the win.

Tag(s): News  Connecticut Fusion  Lancaster Inferno  New England Mutiny  New Jersey Copa FC  Worcester Smiles  Detroit Sun  Grand Rapids FC  Indiana Union  Lansing United  Michigan Legends  El Paso Surf  FC Austin Elite  San Antonio Athenians  Calgary Foothills  Colorado Pride  LA Galaxy  Santa Clarita Blue Heat  AFC Ann Arbor  Queen City United  Syracuse DA