Missed first-half scoring chances comes back to haunt a tough Oklahoma Alliance F.C. sideRICHARDSON, TX (07/31/10) -
In another Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL)
National Semifinal that pitted experience against youth - with the players on each team being very familiar with one another - it was the veteran leadership who once again out-lasted the younger legs. In the first semifinal, Boston defeated F.C. Milwaukee by a 2-1 score and in this match, Ajax America (9-3-1) would go one better in a 2-0 victory over a strong Oklahoma Alliance F.C. side.
It took until the second half for the Pacific Conference champions to really get into gear, and just three minutes in, a shot from Keri Sanchez would deflect off a Oklahoma defender and flutter past the helpless goalkeeper Kelsey Walters. In the 75th minute, Sheuneen Ta would feed Leah Gallegos through towards goal from midfield.
The former USC star drove towards the left post, she fired her shot towards the back post and past Walters for the final tally of the match. Oklahoma would pressure the Ajax defense but except for a shot by Kaylie Garcia that rang off the outside of the post in the 85th minute, they would not dent the scoreboard in a match where they could have on a couple of occasions.
For Ajax America Head Coach Brian Boswell, this is his team's fifth consecutive Final Four appearance - a WPSL record. And from what he saw in this match, he was impressed by all of the aspects of Oklahoma Alliance F.C.
"They made us work," said Boswell. "I just think that old heads prevailed, especially in the first 20 minutes. They ran us around. They're a good, young team and their subs didn't seem to hurt them at all as they put players in & out. They knocked the ball around well... well-organized and well-coached."Brian Boswell's SemiFinal Interview
It was a disappointing result for OAFC Head Coach Jimmy Hampton, as he saw his team had more than a good chance to knock out the 2009 National Finalists. But like the first National Semifinal, missing those early scoring chances against an experienced team can come back to haunt you.
"The game of football is a game of inches and to take nothing away from [Ajax], who we wish them all the luck in the world tomorrow and they earned the win tonight, i felt like that could've been 3-0 at the half," said Hampton. "When they got their goal, that's when you saw their veterans and they did a great job from that point in time... their age & experience came into play once they got up 1-0. Had we got the first goal, we might've been able to keep running at them, wearing them down and their experience would've have mattered so much."Jimmy Hampton's Semifinal Interview
Oklahoma did come out of the gates with all guns firing, working a quality scoring chance just three minutes into the match. They would continue to pressure the Ajax goal, forcing Ajax goalkeeper Yiana Dimmitt to touch a shot off the crossbar. In the 15th minute, it was Christie Shaner's turn to come to the rescue, making the vital back save on a shot from OAFC's Jordan Calhoun.
Gallegos would get the only true scoring chance for Ajax in the first half, shooting over the crossbar from 20 yards out. But as the halftime whistle went off, the Pacific champions would turn their game on going into the second half.
After Sanchez' goal, OAFC would respond in the 52nd minute with a dangerous shot from the left side of the penalty area. Italian WNT keeper Anna Picarelli saved deftly low to her left and touched the ball past the far post. An entertaining half of soccer would ensue, with Pacific Co-Player of the Year Dani Bosio sending a thumping header towards goal in the 73rd minute, but it was saved off the line by a OAFC defender.About the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL):
The WPSL is a 50-plus team national league with five conferences starting in 2010 and is the largest women's soccer league in the world. The league is sanctioned by the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA)
as an affiliate of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF)
. The WPSL's mission is to provide the highest level of soccer in our effort to: bring affordable & quality family entertainment to the community; display positive role models for our youth; while, being a stepping stone for aspiring professional & international-level players.
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