Saturday, May 1, 2010
SPU recap & OSU preview...
This game presents a unique opportunity as a fan/supporter. Being played on Field #11, the Sounders Men's practice field, this will be the first chance for many a Sounder Supporter to cross through the beautiful gates of the world-class Starfire practice facility onto the fine, full-sized 120yd pitch. This game will be about as intimate as imaginable. Those of you seeking an old school feel to the game, this is your chance (on an artificial surface). Fans will line the field and better be ready to collect errant passes, strong clearances, and chide the opponent from mere meters away!
Oregon State made a run to the Sweet-16 in the NCAA Tourney last season and is coming off of a tough 0-1 decision to the National Team's U-23 side. In that game, the Beavers fought hard and had many scoring chances. They are a team that is very aggressive in the opening minutes of the game, so our ladies may find themselves on their heels for a few minutes to start.
OSU plays Saturday afternoon at Interbay against SPU. It's a 3pm start for those of you interested in a preview of tomorrow's action.
If our game with the Beavers is to be anything like Thursday night's battle against SPU, we can expect a pressing Sounders side. The ladies were relentless in their attack and well rewarded for their efforts. Some early sloppy play was expected but the girls cleaned it up quickly and found their pace.
Without Michelle French, a former National Team player, at the holding midfielder position, the Sounders had a decidedly new look. Tafara Pulse stepped into the role nicely on Thursday at Interbay. The former Hibernian Saints midfielder looked confident and comfortable in her role organizing the front five. Between her and new coach Leighton O'Brien, it seems as though the ladies will be taking a more direct approach in their attack this season. The straightforward 4-4-2 looked at times like a 2-4-4 with the aggressive pressing of our outside mids. It was a very fun product to watch.
Other Sounders returners also looked in top form:
Chalise Baysa, at the left outside mid position, pressed forward and had several nice runs that kept the back line of SPU busy all night.
At Keeper, Katie Hultin was not tested often, but commanded the 18 with her usual intimidating presence. She was scored on early with a magical knuckleball from 20 following a missed clearance. That goal, however, sparked cleaner, less-hurried passing for the remainder of the night as the ladies found their pace.
Kelli Smith played her usual game with several heady decisions and pressing long-balls and Erin Redwine was a constant threat when the ball moved forward into the box.
The only troubling aspect of the night came soon after SPU's opening goal. Defender Allison Tenney, a former defender with the WPS's Washington Freedom, found the losing end of a collision and sustained a collar bone injury of some sort. Hopefully she's okay, both for her sake, and that of the Sounders. Her experience will be missed on the back line. I'll do my best to find out more about her recovery this weekend.
We finally found net in the 37th minute after a beautiful run up the left side by Baysa. She settled the ball and found an eager Jocelyn Charette (former SPU Falcon) in front of the goal who easily netted the ball. The result followed a long stretch of Sounder possession that saw many a near goal.
Our ladies continued the press through the break until Kelly Irving put her strong right foot to the ball and left the SPU keeper with no chance in the 53rd minute.
All in all, Leighton O'Brien's inaugural debut as the Lady Sounders' Head Man was a success. The girls found their rhythm with minimal hiccups and were the dominant side for the majority of the match. Tomorrow's test against the Pac 10's Oregon State will be a solid increase in competition and a good test for our ladies as they continue to refine their play.
See you tomorrow at MAD Pizza. ECS Members will receive discounts on food. So show your card & bring your voices. March to the Match promptly at 12:40.