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UWS Preview: Week VIII

06/27/2019, 5:00pm EDT

Calgary & Lancaster both have big two-game road trips this weekend


Friday, June 28

New England Mutiny (5-0-2) vs. Lancaster Inferno (5-1-0)
7:00 PM EDT | Lusitano Stadium | MyCujoo

The top three teams in the East Conference of United Women's Soccer (UWS) are starting to separate themselves from the pack. The New England Mutiny are currently in a tie for first-place in the UWS East with the Connecticut Fusion (17 points) and both teams have three matches left on their regular season schedule. The only team that can pass the Fusion and the Mutiny is the Lancaster Inferno - the reigning conference champions - and they have a match in hand. After a 1-0 road loss to Connecticut in their 2019 opener, Lancaster has reeled off five straight victories. The Inferno defense leads their success, as goalkeeper Kelly O'Brien has only allowed three goals during this winning streak. New England is set to face Lancaster again on the road on July 6th. The four-team East Conference playoffs will be held on the weekend of July 12-14 at a location to be determined by the league office. The winner will represent the conference at the four-team UWS National Championship on the weekend of July 19-21.

Saturday, June 29

New Jersey Copa FC (1-6-0) vs. Connecticut Fusion (5-0-2)
4:30 PM EDT | St John Vianney H.S. | MyCujoo

The Connecticut Fusion set a new franchise single-game goal scoring record as they powered past the winless Worcester Smiles by a 6-0 score last weekend. Connecticut saw seven different players register a goal or an assist and was paced by Tori Sousa's two-goal, two-assist performance. Vivien Beil got the scoring started in the 21st minute before veteran center back Kylee McIntosh hammered home a side-footed volley from a Sousa corner kick in the 37th minute. This will be the first of back-to-back meetings between the Fusion and New Jersey Copa FC with the teams scheduled to meet up next Friday, July 5th at the Farmington Sports Arena. Connecticut won the lone contest between the two sides in 2018, a 4-1 decision at home on May 18th. It was the first win for the Fusion in franchise history. Goal scoring has been a major issue for Copa this year as they've netted just five goals and only recently did they snap a four-game goalless streak in last Saturday's 2-1 road loss to the Lancaster Inferno. In that match, after giving up the opening tally in the third minute, Tori Baliatico leveled the score for NJCFC in the 35th minute but lost on a 65th minute Maura Holst game-winner.

Syracuse DA (3-3-2) vs. LI Rough Riders (4-4-0)
6:30 PM EDT | Solvay High School Stadium | MyCujoo

While Connecticut, New England and Lancaster are on the verge of qualifying for the four-team UWS East playoffs - with only who hosts the tournament to be determined - there is a tight battle going on for the fourth and final berth. Going in Saturday's game with their chief rival for the last spot in the postseason, Long Island (fourth-place) has a narrow one point total lead over Syracuse DA (fifth-place) with both teams having two regular season games left on the schedule. On top of that, they will play each other in a home-and-home series over the next two weekends. After two road losses during Week VI action in the East, Syracuse bounced back last weekend with a 2-1 win on Friday over the Rochester Lancers and a come-from-behind 1-1 draw against the New England Mutiny. After a 2-1 home loss to the Lancaster Inferno on June 19, the Rough Riders were off last weekend. It has now set up a very exciting conclusion to the 2019 campaign for both teams. If Long Island wins this Saturday, they will knock SDA out of the playoff race. The only other team who will than have a shot of dislodging the favorites for the top four will be Rochester (eight points), who have three games remaining and if the Lancers win out, they will accrue 17 points: which tentatively appears to be the "basement" for postseason consideration.

Worcester Smiles (0-8-0) vs. Lancaster Inferno (5-1-0)
7:00 PM EDT | Foley Stadium | MyCujoo

Two road wins this weekend for the Lancaster Inferno will not only wrap a postseason berth for the defending UWS East title holders, but also put them in pole position to win the regular season championship. Finishing first will most likely give Lancaster the opportunity to host the four-team East playoffs as well. If the Inferno can emerge victorious in their match the night before against the New England Mutiny, the chance for another win against the Worcester Smiles would appear to be an offer they could not refuse. Last season, Lancaster blanked Worcester by a 7-0 score at home on July 1. Haley Crawford and Teresa Rook scored two goals each in the win. Rook has been a top performer for the Inferno this year and was just named the UWS Offensive Player of the Week. The Smiles had a tough inaugural season in 2018 and their fortunes have not improved in 2019. The lone stat the team can grin about is the fact they tallied their first goal of the season in the 57th minute of last Sunday's loss to Rochester on a penalty kick by Ashton Ariola. Playing the role of spoiler should be an inspiration as well.

Sunday, June 30

Rochester Lancers (2-3-2) vs. New England Mutiny (5-0-2)
2:00 PM EDT | Aquinas Institute of Rochester | MyCujoo

Somewhat lost in the Long Island/Syracuse two-game melee to end the 2019 season is the fact that the Rochester Lancers still have an outside shot to qualify for the four-team UWS East playoffs. The only results that stand in their way before Sunday's game are what the Connecticut Fusion and New England Mutiny do in their games previous to it this weekend. If either team get a draw against New Jersey or Lancaster, they will reach the "magic number" of 18 points and take the first two spots. Rochester's chances for the postseason will than diminish significantly. The least complicated thing the Lancers can do is just win and let the cards fall where they may. A win over New England on Sunday would be the first-ever for Rochester, as they have gone 0-2-1 in their previous three games against the Mutiny. The last time they faced off was last season and both sides fought it out to a 2-2 draw on May 19. The Lancers netted a 90th minute goal to grab the point on the road.


Thursday, June 27

Detroit Sun (2-6-0) vs. Michigan Legends (2-4-2)
8:00 PM EDT | Ultimate Indoor Soccer | MyCujoo

While Lansing United and Indiana Union have separated themselves from the pack in the race to qualify for the four-team playoff in the UWS Midwest, the other four conference teams are still in the hunt for the final two spots. For the first time in their three-year Midwest tenure, Detroit are on the outside looking in when it comes to postseason picture as they currently sit in a tie for sixth-place with AFC Ann Arbor. The Sun are on a five-game losing streak but the one thing they can build on going into the home match vs. the Michigan Legends - who sit above them in the standings in a tie with Grand Rapids FC for fourth-place (eight points) - is that their last win was against tonight's opponent. Detroit bounced back from a 1-0 deficit to score four unanswered goals in a 4-1 road win on May 22. Rachel Deluca scored two goals and the pair of Dani Evans and Gabriella Mencotti each tallied two assists. Two draws last weekend for Michigan kept them in the playoff race, especially a solid 1-1 decision against Lansing last Sunday in their second game of the weekend. The Legends have either been tight defensively in two wins and two draws this year. It is the magnitude of their losses that have left them with a conference-worst -13 goal differential.

Friday, June 28

Indiana Union (6-1-1) vs. AFC Ann Arbor (2-6-0)
7:30 PM EDT | Marian University | MyCujoo

The Indiana Union have locked up a postseason berth, it is now a matter of battling for the top spot in the regular season race in their season finale. Indiana is coming off a solid 2-1 road win over Detroit from last Sunday, as it was the second game of a two-game trip. The Union's top scorer Samantha Dewey notched both goals in the victory. AFC Ann Arbor are coming off a big win in their home finale last Saturday, as they goalkeeper Victoria Norris (seven saves) and the host's defense delivered a 1-0 shutout over the Detroit Sun. Suzuho Yamasaki tallied the game winning goal and was named the Audi of Ann Arbor Woman of the Match. The result also kept Ann Arbor mathematically in the race for the UWS Midwest playoffs. AFCAA will have to win on Friday and while they have had a solid inaugural season, Indiana has proven to be their harshest opponent. The Union ran away with a 5-1 victory on June 8th. In the second game of a weekend road trip, Indiana fell behind early but responded ruthlessly with five unanswered goals. Rachel Sweigard opened the scoring for Ann Arbor in the 11th minute but the visitors bounced right back and scored three goals in the span of five minutes.

Sunday, June 30

Grand Rapids FC (2-4-2) vs. AFC Ann Arbor (2-6-0)
5:15 PM EDT | Houseman Field | MyCujoo

It has not been a season the defending UWS Midwest champions would have wanted but it currently stands at what is needs for Grand Rapids FC; especially when it comes to postseason consideration. Going into Sunday's home finale, GRFC stands in a tie in third-place with Michigan Legends - who both have identical records. They do not have identical defensive records as Grand Rapids FC has scored a lot more than Michigan and possess a -1 goal differential. Yet, they have given up one more goal (22) than the Legends and that lack of discipline has bitten them in a few matches this season. GRFC can use revenge to solidify a playoff berth, as they dropped a 5-2 road decision to AFC Ann Arbor on May 17. For the defending conference champions, losing by such a margin to a first-year team was a bitter pill to swallow. Rachel Sweigard tallied a hat trick in the victory: the first-ever UWS win for AFC Ann Arbor. Grand Rapids FC has gone 1-1-1 in their last three games and a win in this match will set them straight going into their season finale against the Detroit Sun on July 7th. Depending on their result against Michigan on Thursday night, Detroit could be out of the postseason picture by that point.


Saturday, June 29

Houston Aces (5-0-0) vs. San Antonio Athenians (3-1-0)
7:00 PM CDT | Houston Sports Park | MyCujoo

Saturday night's game pitting the defending UWS champion Houston Aces and the San Antonio Athenians may determine the winner of the regular season conference title. If Houston is victorious in their 2019 finale, they will capture the crown. If San Antonio can win or draw, the Athenians will push the race one for one more weekend. They have plenty of motivation as the Aces humbled them in their season opener, as in front of an impressive home crowd of 1,521, San Antonio dropped a 5-0 decision. The match started off with both teams exchanging possession for the first twenty minutes. Houston eventually became the aggressor and won the majority of the 50-50 balls. The Aces capitalized on their quick play for a 3-0 lead at halftime. The Athenians came out with a sense of urgency in the second half but were unable to capitalize on numerous missed opportunities. A goal nullified by an offsides, a PK that went wide left and some set pieces that were turned away by a stingy Houston defense could've made the final score interesting. Athenians goalkeeper Michelle Cole made 12 stops in the loss while Houston's Alexis Espino made seven saves.

El Paso Surf (0-5-0) vs. FC Austin Elite (1-3-0)
6:00 PM MDT | Americas High School | MyCujoo

In the second of back-to-back games, FC Austin Elite will make the long trip west to face the El Paso Surf. Last Sunday, Austin picked up their first UWS Southwest win of 2019 via a 4-0 shutout over visiting El Paso. It was the second game in as many days for the Surf and the Elite took advantage of it, notching four first half goals by four different scorers en route to the victory. Jayme Woodfill led the way for the Elite with a goal and two assists. Defender Bethany Cyrtmus was named to the UWS Team of the Week for her efforts while Woodfill garnered Honorable Mention plaudits. El Paso will have plenty of motivation in this match. Saturday's season finale for will give the Surf a chance to notch their first win of 2019 in front of their home crowd.


Friday, June 28

Santa Clarita Blue Heat (4-2-0) vs. Calgary Foothills (5-0-0)
6:00 PM PDT | College of the Canyons | MyCujoo

The race for the UWS West title will come to a head this weekend as Calgary Foothills makes the road trip to southern California. Two wins and Calgary are in as the conference champions. The defense of their 2018 West title will be complete. But they can not let the celebratory cart get before the horse. First up will be a tough test against the Santa Clarita Blue Heat. Santa Clarita - the 2016 & 2017 West champions - are still in the hunt for the conference crown and a home win against Calgary will keep them in the race. Foothills WFC were victorious in their first match against the Blue Heat this season, a tight 1-0 win on June 14th. Tanya Boychuk tallied the game winning goal in the 21st minute and it stood up for the rest of the match in a 1-0 win. Boychuk's goal developed from a short corner kick amidst continued pressure and possession. A strong start for the hosts evolved into a much tougher second half but the hosts kept the Santa Clarita attack from mounting any sustained pressure. Goalkeeper Emily Burns (two saves) earned the shutout while Brooke Littman made eight saves for the visitors.

Saturday, June 29

Colorado Pride (0-5-0) vs. Queen City United (0-6-0)
7:00 PM MDT | Mountain Lion Stadium | MyCujoo

In the battle at the bottom of the UWS West standings, one team may come out with their first win of the season as the Colorado Pride and Queen City United face off in the first of back-to-back games. Colorado will make the road trip worth to Saskatchewan on Friday, July 5th for the rubber match against Queen City. The Pride and United will at least come out with their first point of 2019 on Saturday as both teams have found success in the top-loaded West a tough proposition. This game will be the home finale for Colorado and they are hoping that proves to be inspiration for victory. Queen City had a solid defensive record going into last weekend's road trip to southern California, but were upended by a combined 7-0 score in losses to the Santa Clarita Blue Heat and LA Galaxy OC. It will be interesting to see in this match if either team's attack comes to life. Both sides have combined for only three goals scored in 11 conference games this campaign.

Sunday, June 30

LA Galaxy OC (5-1-0) vs. Calgary Foothills (5-0-0)
5:00 PM PDT | Orange County Great Park | MyCujoo

No matter what happens in Friday night's Calgary vs. Santa Clarita game, Sunday's home finale for LA Galaxy OC is essentially a playoff game. Due to their 1-0 road loss to Calgary on June 16th, if LA wants to capture the UWS West crown they will need to win their last two games to guarantee the championship. Foothills WFC completed an impressive weekend sweep via a 1-0 win over LAGOC that Sunday afternoon. It was the second straight victory via shutout for Calgary. In the 27th minute, Caleigh Boeckx found the far top corner behind LA goalkeeper Hillary Beall (five saves) for the only goal of the match. The goal came from a throw in on the opposite side of the field and a pass under pressure from Alex Lamontagne to a brilliant side foot tap from Tanya Boychuk directly to the foot of Boeckx. LA will look for forward Millene Cabral to continue her torrid tear in attack. Coming into Friday night's game against Santa Clarita, the Foothills WFC defense has allowed only one goal this season. Cabral was named to the UWS Team of the Week for the third time this season after her two-goal performance last weekend against Queen City United.

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