The Washington Area Girls Soccer League (WAGS) just wrapped up another round of matches this past weekend and although many games were postponed due to field conditions, the games at Franconia Park in Springfield, Va. went forward on the facility's artificial turf fields.
Under-17, Division 5: LMVS Patriots win 2-1 over SYC Monsoon
On Sunday, U-17 LMVS Patriots laced up to play against SYC Monsoon in front of a faithful crowd of parents and friends under clear, blue skies.
Monsoon’s #23 set the pace of the game as she broke through the Patriots defense only minutes into the match, chipping the ball into the right side of the net. The Patriots responded by connecting passes and repeatedly challenging Monsoon’s goalkeeper. The game was played mostly in midfield as midfielders from both teams displayed excellent ball control, seemingly quite comfortable with passing back to defense and goalie.
“When Monsoon scored their first goal so early on, that was all about our lack of communication,” said Patriots coach Mike Rodgers. “That goal definitely woke them up. Our focus point was to feed our forwards because our speed up front is our dictating factor. But we couldn’t get a through ball through their midfielders so we had to chip it over the top.”
Unfortunately, Monsoon soon started to struggle with injury after injury. Before the second half, Monsoon’s #10 got carried off the field due to a leg injury and soon departed Franconia Park, bound for a local hospital. Just after Monsoon’s only sub took the field, #14 took a ball to the face, forcing her to the sidelines and requiring Monsoon to play shorthanded.
“I was very pleased with their performance during this game,” said SYC Monsoon coach Sully Hamid afterwards. “Our girls were playing good soccer, playing a passing game as we planned.”
Patriots made sure they were on the scoreboard before the half as Sofie Schedler took a solid shot on goal and Alex Martinez was there for the rebound, directing the ball into the net with her body, tying the match at 1-1.
“We played a doubleheader last weekend, and I told them [at halftime] don’t let this team come back. We’ve been through this before,” said Rodgers.
Monsoon suffered yet another injury and played for most of the second half with only nine players. However, Monsoon’s goalie was solid in net and would not let any more goals in despite the number of shots the Patriots took.
After another teammate was pulled because of an injury, “We changed up our formation because we had no substitutions left on the bench,” said Hamid. “I will look out for more subs so the girls don’t have to play a man down. This is a strong team and I think they will continue to get stronger as the season progresses.”
The Patriots' Joanna Torres stood out because of her ability to aggressively win the ball and keep possession. Her persistence paid off ten minutes into the second half, as she stroked home a shot from 16 yards out.
“I don’t know the exact stats, but we outshot them. However, their goalie is a dominating force,” noted Rodgers. “The girls played hard, and most of them have been playing together since U-9 so they work great as a team.”
Under-16, Division 1: LMVS Patriots beat MSC Arsenal 2-0
On Sunday afternoon LMVS Patriots faced MSC Arsenal in U-16 Division 1 action at Franconia Park.
Since Patriots coach Ahmad Sasso was leaving right after the game to go back home to Africa for a visit, he talked to Potomac Soccer Wire before the match.
“I picked up this team when they were Division 3, and now they are playing Division 1," he explained. "The chemistry is there for the team on and off the field. There bond is very strong and they always support each other."
The Patriots came out strong as #1 one-touched the ball into the net off a beautiful cross from deep in the right corner. Arsenal was able to connect passes in the middle, with #25 being the main reason for that. The midfielder was very vocal and showed that she knew where she needed to be on the field to keep possession.
“Today I want to see them have fun and simply play the game. We’re not here to play kickball, so I expect that they will create combinations and keep the ball on the ground,” said Sasso.
This turned out to be a very physical game and it became even more intense as two yellow cards were distributed to the Patriots before the half. After multiple fouls were called by both sides, the referee took a minute to announce the correct way to tackle an opponent without causing harm. Patriots led 1-0 at halftime.
“We have specific players that are able to find the ball and make things happen. However our weakness is our level of strength. We don’t fight as much as we should. One of the team’s strength is their fitness, but they do need to get stronger,” said Sasso.
But his players proved their grit on this occasion as the second half proved to be just as physical as the first, with both teams playing aggressively, but fairly. Patriots scored their second goal of the game as #9 took a free kick and buried the ball in the net. The match ended with Patriots on top, 2-0.