LA Hotspur had a strong start to its 11-aside Municipal league season, as the side overcame Kickin It by a score of 4-1 last Saturday. Several new Hotspur players made their debut in the match, including Charissa Clark, Demi Cobar, Shannon Snow and Katie Donegan. Rachel Pearson tended goal for the Spurs.
Kelly Buck scored first for the Spurs with twenty minutes remaining in the first half. Mary Brazie delivered a corner kick towards the far post, where Buck cleanly first-timed the ball into the back of the net on a volley. It was the only goal of the half.
In the second half, the Spurs’ first goal was set up by Flora Guilbaut, who sent a cross to Brazie from the left side of the field. Brazie trapped the ball to her feet, turned and took a low, left footed shot that was placed into the right corner. Becca Bullard scored the next two goals for the Spurs. Both goals were made on similar plays, where Bullard made a run in the left-center of the field, received a through pass from a midfielder, beat her defender and drilled the ball into the back of the net. The first assist came by way of Brazie; the second goal was assisted by Buck.
Meanwhile, in the Coast Soccer League, the Spurs faced off against So Cal Select on Sunday, March 30th. Hotspur ultimately lost the tightly contested match by a score of 2-1. So Cal scored a goal in the first half and then again in the second to establish a two goal lead. With ten minutes left to play, Brazie won the ball from a So Cal forward, turned and drilled a long shot from 40 yards out. The ball sailed just under the crossbar to give the Spurs a point. But the lone goal was not enough and despite pushing hard until the end of the match, Hotspur were unable to equalize.
Keeper Brittany Parker made several saves on the day to keep the Spurs in the match and defenders Oriana Nierojewski and Hillary Tribbs controlled the backline, keeping So Cal’s offensive threats at bay. In the center of the field, Ana Carinena repeatedly won battles for the Spurs and contributed defensively for the duration of the match.
After a rocky start to the spring 2014 Coast Soccer League season, LA Hotspur have rebounded by remaining undefeated in the last two games.
Hotspur’s undefeated streak comes with a bit of assistance from opponents Focus FC, who forfeited a match just hours before game time on Saturday, March 8th. The win was the Spurs’ first and only of the season so far.
The Spurs then went on to play AC Brea on Saturday, March 22nd in a home match at Occidental, a game that would end in a tie. The Spurs scored the first two goals of the match and were leading 2-nil at halftime. However, rapid scoring in the second half led to a final score of 4-4.
Translation? In the second half, both teams combined to score a goal every 7.5 minutes.
The scoring in the first half started off a goal from outside midfielder Kelsey Gudgeon. Lauren Johnson in-bounded the ball off a throw in, playing it to Mary Brazie on the left side of the field. Brazie turned and sent the ball across the field, towards the far post, to Gudgeon who was making the run. Gudgeon controlled the ball out of the air in a one-time volley, finishing the ball to put the Spurs up by one.
The Spurs continued to press for the rest of the half, dominating play and drawing many fouls in the final third of play. With ten minutes left in the half, Becca Bullard had the ball in the penalty area with a chance on net. She was brought down viciously from behind, earning a penalty kick. Bullard stepped up to take the kick, and blasted it soundly into the back of the net, pinging the ball off the back left post and giving Hotspur their second goal of the game.
At the start of the second half, Brea increased their offensive pressure, pushing hard to equalize. Ten minutes in, the side earned their first goal of the half.
But the Spurs quickly equalized with another goal by Bullard! The play started with Gudgeon, who had the ball on the outside right side of the pitch, just over the halfway line. Gudgeon sent a long cross that shot past all of Brea’s defenders, landing in the path of Bullard who was making a run on the left side of the field. Bullard caught the ball on a one-time strike off the bounce, chipping it over the keeper and into the back of the net, bringing the score to 3-1, Hotspur.
The Spurs then quickly found another on yet another Gudgeon assist. Again, Gudgeon had the ball on the right side of the pitch, and played the ball to Brazie on the run. Brazie turned with the ball and dribbled towards net, still on the right side of the pitch. Teammate Nicoline Jorgensen made a run towards the right corner flag, pulling three defenders with her in the process, and opening space up on the left for Brazie. Brazie capitalized on the space by cutting left and, from the 18, drilling a left-footed shot that went just over the hands of the keeper. The goal brought the score to 4-1, but Brea were not content.
With 25 minutes left to pay, Brea miraculously found three more goals, finally earning the equalizer with no more than five minutes on the board. The Spurs continued to press and earned a few more opportunities in the second, but Brea maintained dominance in the last thirty minutes of play.
On the season, the Spurs (1-1-3) sit in fourth place in the standings with just 4 points in five games. The Spurs have seven games to turn it around. Hotspur face off against So Cal Select this Sunday at Irvine High School, in a match that marks the halfway point of the season.
As the Coast Soccer League’s spring 2014 season gets underway, the Spurs are off to a rocky start. After suffering a loss to AC Brea in the first game of the season, Hotspur subsequently lost the next two games, despite hotly contested battles.
In their second game of the season played on March 22nd, the Spurs faced So Cal Select, the returning champions from last season. Plagued by injuries and with several new players on the roster, Hotspur struggled to come together in the first twenty minutes of the game. It was in these early minutes when So Cal was able to capitalize on defensive miscommunications, and scored two goals to nab an early lead. Once their early stages of courtship had passed, the returning Spurs and new Spurs began to blend together both offensively and defensively. While the side’s newfound chemistry was enough to create a solid defensive barrier against the opposition’s attack, Hotspur were unable to combine effectively to goal. The Spurs’ best opportunity came when forward Mel Fernandez drilled a shot from thirty yards out. The ball beat the keeper and hit the crossbar, bouncing out to safety and keeping the Spurs off the board. Later, Mary Brazie had a chance on net from inside the box, but she knocked the ball just wide. Stacey Rodwell also blasted a free kick from twenty yards out that went just over the crossbar. In the end, the Spurs lost 2-0 to So Cal Select.
Last weekend, the Spurs faced off against Norwalk FC in a rainy game on March 1st. The game was the first home game for the side, but the advantage was not enough to help the side to victory. Once again the Spurs defense surrendered an early goal to the opposition, by way of a breakaway. Hotspur in turn had difficulties overcoming the rainy conditions and combining effectively in the front third of the field. As the rain began to trickle away, the Spurs began to find their legs but Norwalk had already established a two-goal barrier to overcome. In the second half, Hotspur changed formation, a move that suited the side well. Hotspur retained complete domination in the second half, and created numerous opportunities on net. Oriana Nierojewski and Liz Franco both had headers that just barely missed conversion. In a packed box after a corner kick, Becca Bullard recovered a ball and placed a shot on net, only to be denied as it hit the body of her own teammate. Mary Brazie controlled a cross from the right side of the field, turned and fired a left footed shot that just grazed the outside of the far post. Ana Carinena drilled several shots from beyond the 18, shots that were blasted just high of the crossbar. The pressure from the Spurs was constant, but the Spurs were not able to convert enough goals to turn the game in their favor.
Hotspur’s lone goal of the game came by way of a combination between Nierojewski and Bullard. Nierojewski slotted a through ball to Bullard, who was making a run on the left side of the pitch. Bullard received the ball, dribbled end line, and, just steps from the end line, fired a rocket that blasted past the keeper and into the back of the net. The goal brought the Spurs within reach of a win, making the score 2-1 with twenty five minutes left to regain the win.
After the goal, the Spurs continued to press, growing more and more desperate and continuing to take chances as the game went on. Finally, in the last minutes of play, as the Spurs were pressing, Norwalk managed one last goal after recovering the ball and staging a breakaway against the Hotspur defense. The game ended 3-1 in favor of Norwalk.
The Spurs are now 0-0-3 on the season.