The 2017 Girls ODP Tournament is underway! Region I, III, and IV all competed against teams from Costa Rica – see how the matches went:
Region IV vs. DIMAS Escazu
Region IV took control from the first minute and had chances early in the game. The girls were in control of the midfield and this helped them take the initiative inside the pitch.
Besides showing good ball possession throughout the field, Region IV remained a consistent attacking threat against a DIMAS team that was lacking precision. After a DIMAS’ error, defender Aleah Treiterer (#16) took the shot off a long-distance free kick, which ended inside the box. All Costa Rican players tried to clear the shot but they all failed at it; this was taken advantage of by Leah Feato (#2), who chipped the goalkeeper and opened the scoring.
During the same period, Region IV was able to score their second goal on the legs of Feato after a great work performed by Nicole Sweeney (#11) on the left side of the field, who kicked first. DIMAS’ goalkeeper was able to deflect the ball, but Feato came from the right side determined to score her second of the night.
Before the first half was over, Region IV’s solid play paid off and they were able to score a third goal after a low cross from Lilli Rask (#13) coming from the left. The ball ended up on Brecken Mozingo’s feet (#3), who dribbled the goalie with high technical skill and then easily scored with her right foot. On the other side of the pitch, DIMAS Escazu was trying hard to get their own goal, but all their attempts were denied and they failed to get into a rhythm, continually turning the ball over against the disciplined Region IV.
During half-time, Region IV stayed on the pitch and Coach Scott Newmann took his time to deliberate with his assistant coach; then he talked to the girls about their performance during the first period. DIMAS Escazu went to the dressing rooms in search of a good tactic which may help them perform better on the second half of the match.
Whatever Coach Geovany Vargas (DIMAS Escazu) said to his girls on the mean-time was effective, since Escazu came out as a different team with a less sloppy play and a higher performance on the second stanza. Even though they rarely threatened Region IV’s goal, they were able to score once after a strong strike from Maria Fernanda Figueroa (#12) that goalie Hailey Coll was able to repel on a first instance. Unfortunately for Coll, and just like Feato’s second goal, Escazu’s player Hilary Corrales (#9) came like a ghost from the right side of the court and scored for DIMAS Escazu.
After the final whistle, both teams got together and the coaches shared a few words with the opposing team. Leah Feato and Indira Gonzales (#10) were chosen as most valuable players of their teams. The end of this match showed what the competition is really about- gaining experience and, why not, new friends. Both took pictures together and shared some time before the second match started. Great job for Region IV this time! Keep it up girls!
Region III vs. Moravia
The second match of the day was Region III vs. Moravia, which was a even game from beginning to end. Moravia started with great ball possession, but the fierce forwards from Region III would not let them come out with less than four passes before they took the ball under their control.
Both teams had options to score, but defenses seemed to be a real lock for the opponent team. The goaltenders had great communication with their teammates and the game marks from defenders to strikers were tough.
The teams decided to play it safe and keep a solid defense because anyone could score in the blink of an eye. Moravia seemed unexpectedly nervous which showed in their lack of precision, but they kept on trying to get possession of the ball; it was really hard to break each team’s deadlock which turned the match into interesting minutes of open play, always keeping control of their lines and trying not to break them or make any mistake.
After the referee’s whistle, the first half ended as a scoreless draw and both teams went to the changing rooms in order to decide their new tactics. This was definitely a 50-50 game in which the team who scored just once, would be the winner.
Right after the half-time, Region III started to push and Moravia tried to clear as many balls as possible; time passed and tempo was crucial under these circumstances. Finally, after long minutes of suffering and pushing, Moravia was given a well-deserved free kick and Maria Jose Morales (#8) threw the ball right inside the box. Region II’s goalkeeper did a great work stopping that ball, but the sphere kept flashing tantalizingly in front of the goal until Priscilla Barrientos (#19) headed the ball inside the box in order to score the only goal of the match.
Even though they were rivals on the pitch, both teams shared great moments after the game and the most valuable players of the match were Mariana Benavides (#4, Moravia) and Vance Mackenzee (#8, RIII). Isabella Brown (#15, RIII) said: “the match was great; no one had full possession the entire time of the game, it was really back and forth because both teams are so amazing.” Way to go girls; cannot wait for the next match!
Region I vs. Saprissa
The third and final match of the day was Region I vs. Saprissa where the Costa Rican team dominated most of the time, but the defensive lock presented by Region I would not let them score easily. Saprissa brought its best players to the Ernesto Rohrmoser Stadium in Pavas and they did not keep anything for themselves.
It was only minute 3, when a foul from behind forced Saprissa forward Fabiola Villalobos to leave the pitch, but this was not an issue for the team since they had a lot of talented players on the bench as well. Region I had to go through a difficult first half since they could not move forward from their half of the field, but they never gave up; these girls are full of courage and love for the region they are representing.
Region I goalkeeper Michaela Eater had tough work, but she played perfectly and saved her team in more than 6 occasions. Unfortunately for Michaela and her team, Saprissa was able to open the scoreboard during minute 35. Maria Paula Elizondo (#6), with her sweet left foot, crossed the ball right into the box and Maria Fernanda Barrantes (#17) finished the move by scoring the goal right in front of the goalie.
During the mid-time, both teams chatted with their coaches in order to find the issues to improve and enhance the positive actions of the game. Region I really knows how to play the offside… Their coach has taught them well and this is the reason why it was so hard for Saprissa to score. Even though this was not a 50-50 match, the lock on Region I’s defense seemed to be unbreakable for the second half.
The beginning of the second half showed that Region I needed more reading of the match because, although they were more aggressive, but they could not figure out what Saprissa’s forwards and wingers were going to do while keeping the ball on their feet. Saprissa took advantage of this and scored their second goal after a good cross from the left by Mitzi Mitre (#11) and the finishing and classy touch of Carolina Venegas (#9) for the 2-0.
After some changes in Saprissa’s first eleven, Region I finally found their offense. Saprissa’s right channel was weakened and Corinne Dente (#2) found the way to run with the ball all the way to the final line and made the crossing. Mia Vaughan (#8) found the ball inside the box and stroke in two different times after her first attempt was repelled by Gabriela Tristan (#30, goalkeeper).
The final 2-1 left a lot of different experiences for the girls and coaches. The most valuable player for Saprissa was Carolina Venegas, who said, “the Regions always challenge us and force us to improve every time. I am sure that they will learn more about the Latin American style of soccer, which is more tactical and we will try to imitate the great physical conditions they have. The game was intense, their pace and tempo is amazing and we do not find that in our National Tournament; they are so organized that we would love to learn how we could put that into practice in our team.” Great job Region I, we know there is still more to come!
Stay tuned for summaries of the next matches!