EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - All of us here at United Women’s Soccer (UWS) would like to wish all of our fans, friends and families a safe and happy July 4th weekend. But before we commence the festivities across our nation, there are two games to recap and one to preview on the 2016 UWS slate. On Wednesday, the Real Salt Lake Women (3-2-2) and Long Island Rough Riders (2-2-2) had to deal with two disappointing results in regards to their postseason fate. This Sunday, the Rough Riders will try to get back in the win column when they make the short road trip to Iona College to visit the New York Magic (0-4-1).
REAL SALT LAKE WOMEN 1, COLORADO STORM 1
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - Real Salt Lake Women hosted the Colorado Storm (1-3-2) in a crucial West Conference match on a Wednesday night that started out warm, but cooled off shortly after kickoff thanks to an actual storm that moved into the Salt Lake City area. The change in weather would serve as a bad omen for the home side, as the Storm would tally a late goal in a hard-fought 1-1 draw that put a dent in their West title hopes.
After an early scoring chance created by RSL forward Bayley Bruner, both teams settled into trading possession while contending with the wind that played havoc with any ball sent into the air. The Real Women broke through in the 18th minute when Bruner was played through on the right by Michele Vasconcelos. She dribbled into the six-yard box on a 1v1 with Storm goalkeeper Cristina Salazar (three saves) and curled the ball into the net to give the hosts a 1-0 lead that remained through the first half.
RSL had the benefit of the wind at their backs in the second half and Kira Sharp nearly gave her team the lead on a shot from distance that hit the crossbar, but the Storm cleared the ball. The physicality from both teams created a number of free kick chances that the Real Women used to test the Storm defense. Tempers flared in the 85th minute after a scuffle for the ball led to RSL’s Jeni Viernes and the Storm’s Alexandra Huynh exchanging words and shoves. Huynh would receive a straight red card for pushing Viernes to the ground while the RSL player would see a yellow card.
Despite being down to 10 players, Colorado fought hard into the stoppage time and earned a throw-in in the final minute. The long throw went into the box, and Nancy Best was able to flick a header over Real keeper Rebecca Ritchie (four saves) for the equalizer. The home side out-shot the Storm by a 10-6 margin. The draw kept RSL in first place in the West, but they’ll need to collect all three points next Thursday against the Colorado Pride (2-2) in their final regular season match to keep the pressure on the teams currently below them in the standings.
LONG ISLAND ROUGH RIDERS 0, TSF ACADEMY VALKYRIES 0
SOUTH HUNTINGTON, NY - On Wednesday afternoon in the East, the Rough Riders hosted old W-League adversary TSF Academy in their effort to keep winning and put the pressure on East leaders New Jersey Copa F.C. (6-1-1) in the title race. Both objectives would not be accomplished, as after out-shooting the Valkyries (1-2-2) by a 23-8 margin in the match, Long Island would be held scoreless and left Cy Donnelly Stadium with a disappointing 0-0 draw.
The game came full circle for the Rough Riders, as they missed clear scoring chances to start and finish the match. In the 1st minute, Erin Gilroy’s shot banged off the crossbar. Long Island continued to attack and put pressure on the TSF defense until Gilroy suffered an injury in the 19th minute that cut her debut as a starter short. The Rough Riders struggled to create the same quality chances after that injury - they were without team leading scorer Christina Bellero in this match - until the 87th minute.
Substitute Christina Dutcher found herself one-on-one with Valkyries goalkeeper Bjonda Ademi - who shared time in net with starter Caitlin Hoffer (seven saves combined) - but placed her shot off the right post. Two minutes later, Dutcher was clean through on goal again but unfortunately, the result was the same: her shot went off the right post. The game ended in a 0-0 draw and Long Island picked up their 8th point on the season, but are still behind the Lancaster Inferno (3-4) in the East standings in fourth place.
The Rough Riders still have a chance to capture the East title, but would have to win all four remaining games while Copa (with 19 points and a superior goal differential) must lose their last two games. If both teams were tied in the final standings, Long Island would have to exceed the difference in goals scored (12) in the four wins they need. That will not be an easy task, especially as they face another old W-League rival in the New York Magic this Sunday. The Rough Riders will have to hope for early July 4th fireworks on the scoreboard to re-commence their difficult run for the East title.
About United Women’s Soccer (UWS): UWS is a national women’s soccer league sanctioned by U.S. Soccer through the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA). UWS is a professionally operated league created for teams that meet high minimum standards. The season runs from May until the end of July, culminating in a National Championship match. The UWS player pool is comprised of college players, aspiring & former professionals and international stars. You can follow UWS on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
UWS is managed by EDP, a leading soccer management company that runs a number of leagues and tournaments. In addition to UWS, EDP operates youth leagues that includes an NPL league, the EDP Super Club program, the EDP Premier League and the EDP Championship League. EDP also runs EDP Futures programs for U-7’s to U-12’s and it conducts more than 20 youth tournaments, including tournaments within its EDP Cup Series and EDP Showcase Series.
Media can contact UWS Director of Communications Jorma Kansanen by e-mail at Press@UWSSoccer.com. You can visit the league’s official website at UWSSoccer.com. Interested team applicants can contact League Commissioner Joe Ferrara by e-mail at Joe@UWSSoccer.com.