ECNL Championships: Rush Girls Come Back Again!
The Rush 15’s came out of the gates flying, creating a wonderful opportunity within the first two minutes of the game. Despite dominating possession and creating several quality chances, Rush were unable to score and came into half time tied at 0’s. The second half started much like the first when Jordan Di Biaisi took the opening kick off 60 yards and earned Rush a corner kick. Every time Di Biasi got the ball, she threated the Eclipse back line. She beat players time and time again on the dribble and nearly scored in the 65th minute off a shot from 30 yards out, but it was denied by the cross bar. Rush’s Rylie O’Keefe was dangerous on the dribble as well and had two great opportunities in the second half. One was saved by a diving Eclipse GK and the other just missed the near post. Rush created a half dozen corner kicks in the second half alone and nearly scored on three different occasions. Betsy Brandon’s header from inside the 6 yard box was saved by the Eclipse GK, Di Biasi just put her header from close range over the cross bar, and Jamie Brunworth’s one time shot from 12 yards out was denied by the Eclipse GK.
Colorado Rush’s Sabrina Macias (GK), Jamie Brunworth (holding midfielder) and back line of Gabi Gines, Taylor Burton, Bre Robertson, and Lindsey Tornabene did outstanding shutting down a very dangerous Eclipse team, a team that managed to score 6 times the day before against Mustang. Eclipse nearly scored the game’s first goal when forward Maya Neal beat Macias to a through ball. Macias was able to get a hand to the ball, forcing Neal to take a shot from a difficult angle that was cleared off the goal line from Robertson.
Despite the number of chances throughout the game, the first goal did not occur until the 76th minute of the game, when an Eclipse attacker served a ball from the right side that found the foot of a wide Neal, who pounded the ball into the back of the net in what was sure to be the game winner.
With only four minutes (plus stoppage time) remaining, Rush pushed Bre Robertson (center back) to forward in hopes she could help get the equalizer. The move paid off 1:30 into stoppage time when Di Biasi beat 3 players and got to the end line on the left side of the goal. Her cross found a wide Robertson, who calmly finished into the lower right hand side of the goal. After Eclipse took the kick off, the ref blew his whistle to end regulation.
Similar to regulation, the OT was wide open and saw both teams create numerous chances. Macias came up with a huge save in the first OT stopping Maya Neal’s blast from short distance. Just when the game seemed destined for over time, Rush’s Betsy Brandon beat two Eclipse players on the left side of the penalty box and found a wide open Aspen Robinson at the near post, who buried her chance for the game winner. The goal was almost identical to the one Rush scored the day before (vs. Ohio Elite) when Kayla Hill found Robinson for the game winner.
With the win, Rush move one-step closer to their quest of winning the club’s first ECNL National Championship (adding to their 11 USYS National Championships). They will face PDA (2-0 win over Texans) in the Semi Final tomorrow (Tuesday) at noon CST. Dallas Sting and Crossfire (WA) will square off in the other Semi Final game.