EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - With two weekends left to the regular season slate in the East Conference of United Women’s Soccer (UWS), all that is left to play for is pride as New Jersey Copa F.C. (7-1-1) wrapped up the conference title last weekend. Yet, there is the matter of who will finish in second place, a distinction in future UWS seasons that will most likely signify qualifying for the postseason. This year, though, only the East and West champions will compete in the playoffs with the latter hosting the inaugural UWS National Final the weekend of July 30-31.
SATURDAY, JULY 16
New England Mutiny vs. New Jersey Copa F.C. (7:00 PM EDT)
Venue: Clark Field
West Springfield High School
550 Amostown Road
West Springfield, MA 01089
In what could have been a showdown for the East title is now an exercise in what will never be for the home side, as the New England Mutiny (5-3) are left to rue their missed chances this season to bring about such an opportunity. One less loss and it would have been that way. But in the end, New England will still have some consolation on Saturday night as they host 2016 East champion New Jersey Copa F.C. in their first match at West Springfield High School since their 2008 season.
The brand-new Clark Field facility will play host to what still can be an exciting encounter, as both teams proved in their first meeting on June 25th. Copa hosted the Mutiny, who unfortunately were missing three key starters (Liana Hinds, Andrea Plucenik & Stephanie Santos) to pre-match injuries. But they still held on admirably against the potent NJCFC attack, with Jeanine Nunez scoring her second straight game-winning goal in the 66th minute in the 2-1 win for Copa.
As it has been in many games this season, New England surrendered an early lead to allow New Jersey back into it. The Mutiny opened the scoring in the 13th minute, as Rachel Ugolik converted on a 1v1 chance against her Providence College teammate & Copa goalkeeper Kristyn Shea. In the 35th minute, Copa equalized when Alexis Williams crossed a ball from the right flank that was misdirected into the net by a New England defender. NJCFC would hold the run of play the remainder of the game, and in time, the East trophy.
SUNDAY, JULY 17
Long Island Rough Riders vs. New York Magic (3:00 PM EDT)
Venue: Cy Donnelly Stadium
Saint Anthony’s High School
275 Wolf Hill Road
South Huntington, NY 11747-1394
This will be the second meeting this season between the two former W-League rivals. The Long Island Rough Riders will look to duplicate their prior success against the New York Magic. On July 3rd, New York (0-7-1) hosted Long Island (3-3-2) at Iona College’s Mazzella Field and the visitors walked away with the 2-0 victory. Francesca Venezia scored her first goal of the season for the Rough Riders in the 72nd minute and the Magic surrendered a late own goal to seal the deal.
Long Island is still in the running for a second-place finish in the UWS East, but the fourth-place side will need to win their last two games and the Lancaster Inferno and the New England Mutiny will have to concede points in their last two regular season contests. If they end up tied with either team, they will lose the first round of tiebreakers to the Mutiny (head-to-head) while it will still be to determined as far as the Inferno are concerned.
For New York, its simply a matter of finishing their 2016 season with their heads held high for the last-place side. They have yet to win a game, and there is no time better for a victory than on Sunday against a long-time adversary. What the Magic have to rely on is the recent play of forward Shani Abrahams. After the team’s slow start on offense this year, Abrahams has tallied five goals in her last six games. Her five goals scored ranks fourth in all of UWS, and is tied with Santa Clarita’s Kodi Lavrusky.
TSF Academy Valkyries vs. Lancaster Inferno (4:00 PM EDT)
Venue: DePaul Catholic High School
1512 Alps Road
Wayne, NJ 07470
Last weekend was a chaotic one for the TSF Academy Valkyries (2-3-2), as they had to deal with a 6-1 thrashing by the Lancaster Inferno (4-4) on the road on Saturday while on Sunday at home, they participated in a goalfest with the New York Magic in an eventual 6-4 victory. Going from allowing six goals scored on one day to scoring six goals the next must have left the TSF coaching staff scratching their collective heads in disbelief.
On the other side of the pitch, the Lancaster staff should be proud of how their team has fought back from their three-game, mid-season losing streak. In their last two contests, the Inferno offense has out-scored their competition by a 10-2 margin and have been led by the veteran leadership of midfielder Teresa Rynier. The former professional notched two goals and four assists in wins over New York & TSF Academy and is now in a tie for third-place in UWS scoring (four goals, five assists, 13 points) with NJCFC’s Jeanine Nunez.
Last Saturday against the Valkyries, Lancaster ended their home slate in style, playing at Clipper Magazine Stadium. Amy Rieker opened the scoring in the 12th minute when she fired a tight-angled shot past TSF Academy goalkeeper Caitlin Hoffer (eight saves). Rynier made the score 2-0 in the 18th minute off an assist from Rieker but in the 32nd minute, TSF cut the score in half on Jen Andresen’s goal. Lancaster would go up 3-1 just before halftime when defender Carol Sanchez stepped up and fired home a penalty kick.
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.