West Region vs. Saprissa
The first match of the second day of tournament was between West Region and Saprissa. The match started with a great pressure from the Costa Rican team, but West Region presented great game dynamic and physical strength. The ODP girls where totally concentrated and the whole team moved perfectly together. The first half was played 100% in Saprissa’s half and West Region had perfect control of the midfield and ball possession.
The first goal came by a quick and long run from the right hand side of the pitch and followed by a strong strike by Erin Bridges, but Saprissa’s goalkeeper, Gabriela Tristan, repelled the action. The ball was left in the middle of the box and Kassandra Ceja entered alone to push the ball to the end of the net. Ceja kept pushing and trying to strike again as well as creating very dangerous pass options, but the girls could not score another goal.
The remaining half presented the same strength and strong pressing; Saprissa did not give up and moved their lines ahead in order to find a scoring option. The rain made it difficult for both teams to complete the passes since the wet field had the ball roll faster. Saprissa kept trying and the West Region had to move back a little bit and they stopped pressing Saprissa for a while, but even though Saprissa had increased the rhythm, West Region had more options to score and even two penalties that were not called by the referee. Finally, the whistled sounded and West Region was the winner.
After the match, Daniela Cruz (Saprissa, #8) said: “This region has a clearer game idea, they know how to move, they are very fast and they know how to take advantage of it. We had a bad day today and our physical strength was challenged since we have not had 24 hours to recover from the match yesterday.” Kassandra Ceja (West Region, #10) also stated: “I feel like yesterday we had a lot of combination play because that team was more laid back and today’s team pressed us a lot. For the next match, we need more composure and times at the end of the game; learn how to keep the ball, take a breath, and calm down.”
South Region vs. DIMAS
For the South Region, day 2 was a great day as well as for the other Regions since they all won their matches. Even though they started down in the scoreboard with a free kick converted by Daniela Contreras from DIMAS, the girls did not give up and they continued to work hard and consistently in order to find a goal of their own.
Hillary Porras (DIMAS) (32′) scored the second goal for her team, but no long faces were shown on the field. South Region kept working hard, but the coaches complained that the referee was biased since he was not calling out many faults from the Costa Rican team.
After several minutes of even efforts, the South Region was able to score their first of the match via Brooke Hart, who displayed an exquisite technique and classy touch in order to send the ball all the way to the end of the net. After the goal, Region 3 started organizing the block and worked perfectly in the middle of the field by gaining ball possession.
After the recess, the South Region came out with more strength and vitality and they became a headache for DIMAS’s defense. After several continuous attempts of striking, Marilenis Oporta (DIMAS, #5) unconsciously hit the ball with her hand inside the box and a penalty kick was called. Region 3 player Jolie Baltzegar had come from the bench and she took the ball confidently in order to shoot the penalty; she then scored the second goal for her team and tied up the game.
On a great play from the right hand side, Hillary Corrales was in charge of the third score for DIMAS. She demonstrated great ball managing skills and left four rival players back after a long run. She then shot on ground and defeated the goalie. DIMAS started pressing and challenging the South Region’s defensive line, but the solid lock did not let them pass. Actually, in one opportunity, the defense passed the ball to Olivia Lebdauoi, who started running from the midfield and leaving as many opponents as possible behind, finally reached the box and scored a great goal for the 3-3 and everyone went crazy.
Some minutes before the final whistle, Abby Brighton ran throughout the left channel, dribbled on the end line, and passed the ball back diagonally for Jolie Baltzegar to score the final 4-3 in favor of South Region. Brooke Hart talked to us at the end of the match and she commented: “We played hard, the match yesterday was really difficult and today we did improve on our aggressiveness and passing. For the next match, we need to work on the 50-50 balls because they have been challenging for us in every match.”
East Region vs. Moravia
This was the last match of game day 2. The game started with high intensity, East Region was ready to put up a fight and pushed forward until Giovanna Catorina (#3) ran without losing focus and won the one-on-one chance against Moravia’s goalkeeper. After realizing that they were already against the score, Moravia tried to impose the pace and tempo in the midfield, but this was not enough. The East Region was on fire and they were able to score their second of the match via Chloe DeLyser, who took a great shot outside from the box.
East Region kept working hard and tried to open up spaces and play on the sides, but Moravia stopped all of their creations. Some minutes later, and after a great midfield performance by East Region, Megan Donelly was able to face the goalie and shot for a first instance. This shot was repelled by the goalkeeper, but courageous Donelly stayed close and paid attention to the problems the goalie was having to control the ball, so she fought with all her strength and won the ball once again and finally scored the 3-0. Interesting fact, Megan was basically half the height of Moravia’s goalkeeper, but she managed to impose her game and she won the ball in order to score, great work.
In the second half, Moravia owned ball control over midfield, but this was not enough since East Region kept connecting great passes until Brooke Burzynski (#4) shot on goal after a great crossing from the left channel; this goal was the 4-0 in favor of the East Region. Moravia took advantage of a slower pace and scored the 4-1 on the left foot of Daniela Coto after shooting from outside of the box.
Finally, Moravia scored their second goal almost at the end of the match after a free kick that hit the post and then Mary Paz Ruiz pushed the ball inside the net. After Randal Poveda’s final whistle, the scoreboard marked 4-2 and the match came to an end. Jazmin Elizondo (Moravia) commented on the game: “Tpace was slower this time, but the girls never gave up pushing. They scored very good goals.” East Region Coach Sue Ryan commented: “We are working on having a better soccer IQ and the first game had a fast speed of play that presented us with problems and puzzles that we don’t normally get back at home. Today, we worked through some sessions in order to give the players some more information that they can utilize in this game and that help them do better in this game.”
Stay tuned for summaries of the final matches!