The Colorado Rush U18 Girls (First 11 vs. Team Boca at right) woke up on Friday morning, the 3rd day of group play at the US Youth Soccer National Championships, able to breathe easy. Through their wins on the first two days they had already qualified for Sunday’s final. Their opponent, Team Boca from South Florida, had already been eliminated due to losses in their first two games. The expectation of the fans was that there would not be much to this match, however Rush Coach Andrew Kummer knew better. “This is a very good team and they will not just roll over for us”, Kummer was heard saying prior to the match start.
After the start, it was clear that the Colorado Coach was correct. Team Boca began putting pressure on the Rush goal from the start and quickly capitalized with a ball headed in from a corner kick in the 11th minute. From there the next 20 minutes were primarily played in the middle of the park with neither side really seeing the opportunity they were looking for. The spark for Rush came when striker Annie Kunz was inserted in to the match. Kunz, making her 1st appearance on the field at this year’s nationals due to a nagging illness, quickly made her presence known. In the 38th minute she was able to dribble through the Boca defenders, keeping her balance through two tackles that would have each drawn a whistle if not for Annie’s terrific balance, before getting off a shot that was blocked by the Florida keeper. A 2nd chance by Kunz was immediately blocked again, but directly to the feet of a charging Haley Stading who buried the ball in the back of the net to tie the game 1-1.
As the 2nd half started Team Boca was ready to pressure the Rush goal again. A rested, and very fast Florida striker was back on the pitch looking to break the Rush back line. In the 53rd minute she was able to take a ball that split the defense not far from midfield, win the foot race, and slot the ball home to take a 2-1 lead. Even with a spot in final already in hand, the Rush girls were not willing to sit back and take a loss. Only five minutes later Rush captain, Kelsey Loupee drove a direct kick from 30 yards out that was allowed to take a bounce inside the box that went over the Florida goalkeeper’s head and into the back of the net to tie the match at 2 in the 58th minute.
The remainder of the game saw only a few chances for either team, but only one looked to break the deadlock on the scoreboard. In the 66th minute Rush goalkeeper Molly Poletto charged off of her line to stop the oncoming Florida striker. The Team Boca player got by Poletto, but not before she was able to knock the ball to her left. As the opposing striker hit the ball at goal, Rush defender Madison Yoswa slid to the near post at the last possible moment to turn the ball away.
The match quietly ended in a 2-2 tie with neither team getting final satisfaction. However, the Rush girls were able to walk away knowing that not only they would be playing in Sunday’s final, but that many key players were able to get some much needed rest in this week-long tournament.
In the final the Colorado Rush girls will have a rematch of their day one game against FC Milwaukee. Rush won that hard fought game 1-0.
TopDrawerSoccer.com posted a great article about the girls victory over Stars of Mass on Thursday. Click here to see the article.
Florida Rush went into Friday nights game needing a win and some help in order to have a chance to play for a National Title on Sunday. Neither scenario went the Rush way. A tough 3-1 loss to TSC Black (OK), a team Florida Rush had beaten in the Region III Championship game, effectivly ended all possibility of a Championship game appearance. However, Florida Rush did pick up a win during the tournament and are the first team from a Rush club other than Colorado, to win a game at Nationals.
The New Mexico Rush gave up only one goal in their match up with Dallas Texans but were not able to score on themselves. New Mexico had no chance to go through to the championship. They will look for more success as U18's.
U17 Boys Schedule
|Rush Club||Opponent||Game Time/Date||Score|
|New Mexico Rush||Penn Fusion (PA-E)||8:00PM - 07.27.11||L 3-1|
|Florida Rush||Grand Rapids Crew Juniors (MI)||8:00PM - 07.27.11||L 4-0|
|New Mexico Rush||Florida Rush||8:00PM - 07.28.11||L 0-3|
|Florida Rush||New Mexico Rush||8:00PM - 07.28.11||W 3-0|
|Florida Rush||TSC Black 9 (OK)||8:00PM - 07.29.11||L 3-1|
|New Mexico Rush||Dallas Texans Red (TX-N)||8:00PM - 07.29.11||L 1-0|
|National Championship||TBD||9:30AM - 07.31.11|
U18 Girls Schedule
|Rush Club||Opponent||Game Time/Date||Score|
|Colorado Rush||FC Milwaukee (WI)||8:00AM - 07.27.11||W 1-0|
|Colorado Rush||FC Stars of Massachusetts (MA)||8:00AM - 07.28.11||W 2-0|
|Colorado Rush||Team Boca (FL)||8:00AM - 07.29.11||T 2-2|
|National Championship||FC Milwaukee (FC)||7:45AM - 07.31.11|