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.
LA Hotspur FC lost their first league game of the Coast Soccer League’s Spring 2014 season last Saturday in a closely contested match against AC Brea Women.
Brea, a newly consolidated team that merged with the former Freedom Elite, scored 3 goals to Hotspur’s 2, and in doing so, pulled out a win on the day.
The Spurs were the first to get on the board when center middie Ana Carinena capitalized on a crossed ball by knocking a header into the back of the net. The play was generated by Rae Fuhrman who received the ball on the right side of the pitch and centered it into the box. Carinena made a crashing run towards the far post, leapt up over the defender and nodded the ball into the back of the net to put the Spurs up by one.
Hotspur’s second goal came by way of newcomer Liz Franco, who made her Spurs debut last Saturday. Fellow newcomer, defender Kelsey Gudgeon won the ball in the back and passed the ball forward to Franco, who was checking back towards the midfield line. Franco turned and drilled the ball towards net from 40 yards out. The ambitious shot lofted over the keeper and nestled into the upper left corner to give the Spurs their second goal of the game.
Despite a great team effort and dominant play in the second half, the Spurs were not able to pull off the win.
The side looks forward to next week’s play as they take on So Cal Select in a Saturday evening matchup.
Hotspur #2′s won LA Municipal’s Women’s 7-aside Winter Invitational, solidifying the win after opponents LA Strikers forfeited the final game of the season. The forfeit, while not entirely unexpected, was an anticlimactic finish to the tournament for the Spurs who had dominated play in all games until that point.
In the 5 game tournament, the Spurs won their first four games in decisive fashion before earning their final victory by way of forfeit from the last-placed team in the group.
On the season, Hotspur #2′s finished with a 22-4 goal differential (scoring 19 goals in regulation and acquiring the final 3 goals as a result of the Strikers’ forfeit).
Over the course of four regulation-length games, Ana Carinena emerged as the leading goal-scorer, finishing the ball a total of 6 times on the season. Hailey Murray and Mary Brazie each chipped in 4 goals during the course of the season, and Flora Guilbaut, Alli Griffin, Rachelle Lazzaro and newcomer Ana Marshall each tallied a goal on the season. The Spurs’ also notched an own goal on a play generated by Catherine Davila.
A complete record of assists was not kept during invitational tournament play.
Without a designated keeper, the Spurs’ field players all contributed to the sides’ success in net, only allowing 4 goals in 4 games: a mighty feat in small-sided play. Davila contributed to the brunt of the time in goal, playing a game and a half in net for the Spurs. Brazie, Carinena, Marshall, Kelly Buck and Becca Bullard also each spent half a game standing between the pipes for Hotspur.
In addition to shared goaltending, the Spurs can boast to having arguably the best defense in the league, led by defensive powerhouses Buck, Davila, Griffin and Brittney Watson.
This is the Spurs’ second consecutive 7-aside Invitational Tournament Championship, and as the tourney has only been offered two seasons in this division, Hotspur can boast being the only women’s 7-aside team to have won the tournament.
In addition, the Spurs have now completed 7 rounds of either full season or invitational play in the LA Municipal 7-aside division, capturing the title 6 times during said play.
The LA Municipal 2014 Spring season is currently scheduled to begin at the end of March.