Contrary to expectations, I did not make an odyssey to Somerville this weekend as both my wife and one of our cats were feeling under the weather. Instead, I stayed close to home, went to a concert, and attended the DCU Women’s match Sunday evening. (Boy, I could get used to this journalism gig: I get to sit in the air-conditioned, rain-protected pressbox during the match and talk with whatever female soccer players I want afterwards without being thought a stalker. Okay, on to the actual reporting.)
W-League: DC United Women 3, Northern Virginia Majestics 0
Another perk of the press badge was being allowed to stand a few yards back of the end line with my camera waiting for what I thought would be the inevitable onslaught of goals by the DCU Women against the hapless Majestics, who last won a game in 2010. Instead I got numerous photos like the one above, with NoVa goalkeeper Emma Kruse turning aside one shot from Tiffany Brown after another. I think Brown is going to have nightmares about green-jerseyed monsters.
DCU accumulated 14 shots in the first half, 7 on goal, though with nothing to show for it. The biggest excitement was Carolyn Blank entering in the 34th minute, replacing Kristen Schmidbauer just as she was about to take one of United’s 7 corner kicks. (The Majestics had none.)
Well, I take that back, the biggest excitement was watching the dark clouds roll in and the lightning get closer while wondering whether we’d get to halftime before the game had to be suspended and also if the Soccerplex’s lightning proximity detectors were working – particularly considering that there was a young woman standing on the roof of the pressbox filming the game. The warning horn sounded at the very moment the scoreboard clock hit the 43:00 mark, and, appropriately, just as Mikaela Howell entered the box on a breakaway with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Most of the 421 attending hustled inside the Discovery Sports Center and hung around for about half-an-hour while waiting for the all-clear. When the rain eased off, I returned to the press box (no wet seat to be wiped off – hooray!), and the players warmed up again. Play resumed with a promising situation for DC with a dropped ball just inside the penalty area, but they were unable to take advantage, and the half finished uneventfully. The teams then took a short break before changing sides and beginning the second half.
The second half looked to be more of the first, with United utterly dominating possession but unable to get the ball in the net. Someone sitting behind me groaned, “This is like one of those practices where you only use one half of the field!” The most frustrating moments might have been around the 54th minute, when Tiffany Brown sent a shot off the crossbar that went to the right. That was collected and sent back in to her moments later, whereupon she sent it right to the goalkeeper.
Brown was subbed out in the 61st minute for Sam Baker, who finally ended the deadlock ten minutes later when she got a nice feed from Mikaela Howell and from the top left corner of the box managed to slip a slow bouncer just inside the left post before Kruse could reach it. Three minutes later Carolyn Blank was tripped from behind as she entered the box. The referee pointed to the spot, and Mikaela Howell easily put away the penalty kick to Kruse’s right for her team-leading third goal of the season. Nine minutes later Holly King – dubbed “the best player on the field tonight” by head coach Mike Jorden – would conclude the scoring when captain Marisa Abegg lofted in a free kick that somehow found King in a crowd right in front of the goal mouth. She chested it down and put away with her left foot.
Carolyn Blank commented afterwards about the frustration, “You’re going to have games like that. You just have to be patient, not force anything and not get frustrated. Just kind of regroup and stay patient and keep shooting. One will come.”
Coach Jorden said, “In the first half the Majestics made it difficult for us to get in, and when we did get it in, we missed some pretty clear chances. But we made a few changes the second half, started getting a rhythm, kept the ball moving, and got the goals.”
Goalkeeper Danielle DeLisle, who also played the second half of the opener, did not need to make a save the entire match and only faced two shots (as compared with 26 going the other way, 15 of which were on goal). King said, “We were teasing her. We said we should pull out a chair for her. She was extremely bored.” The black-and-red have yet to give up a goal this year, even without their marquee player, US Women’s National Team central defender Becky Sauerbrunn.
Next match: DC goes on the road for their next two matches, playing the Dayton Dutch Lions on Thursday and again on Saturday before returning home for an exhibition match against Paul Riley’s Women’s Pro SuperGroup Friday, June 15, at 8 pm. The red-and-black’s remaining marquee players – Joanna Lohman, Lianne Sanderson, and Becky Sauerbrunn – should be available for these matches.
Highlights courtesy of the team:
Carolyn Blank talks about her first game with the DCU Women:
Head coach Mike Jorden talks about the game:
Sam Baker (scored winning goal) and Holly King (POTM) talk about the game:
(I asked Baker about her throw-ins because during the Breakers game she was consistently getting them into the goalmouth.)
WPSL Elite: Chesapeake Charge 3, Philadelphia Fever 2
The Chesapeake Charge got their first Elite win on the road against the Fever off of two goals from Alexis Prior-Brown and one from Alex Brandt. That’s all the information I have at the moment.
ADDED 5/29, 11 pm: Game report now available at Soccer Nation.
Next match: The Charge continue their road warrior ways, heading to the Midwest to take on FC Indiana on Friday, June 8, and the Chicago Red Stars on Sunday, June 10. They return home on Saturday, June 16, at 2 pm, when they take on the Western New York Flash at Old Mill High School in Millersville, MD.
WPSL: The Maryland Capitols did not play this week
Next match: The Maryland Capitols FC play the FCW Elite on Sunday, June 3, at 6 pm. Their home opener is on Wednesday, June 6, vs. the Tidewater Sharks at 7.30 pm at Marvin F. Wilson Stadium, Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex, Landover, MD.
Players of the Week
Instead of covering any of the Maryland teams, the other half of the Maryland Women’s Soccer Journalists Association was off at some event in southeastern Pennsylvania involving China, so it’s down to me to make the picks this week. Here we go:
Forward of the Week: Alexis Prior-Brown, Chesapeake Charge, for leading the Charge to their first win by scoring twice.
Midfielder of the Week: Holly King, DC United Women, for her work controlling the midfield and directing the DCU attack.
Defender of the Week: Tie: Jerica DeWolfe and Molly Menchel, both with DC United women. DeWolfe for repeatedly snuffing out even the hint of a Majestic attack and Menchel for having a motor that just doesn’t quit or even slow down.
Goalkeeper of the Week: No award, though honorable mention to Danielle DeLisle for remaining awake for 90 minutes.
Player of the Week: Alexis Prior-Brown.