USL News Release
Thursday, July 31, 2008 Photos by John Radd / Click for larger version
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA -- Patience is a virtue, and for FC Indiana, they needed every bit of patience to squeak out a 1-0 victory in the semifinals of the W-League over a very game Seattle Sounders club. In the second semifinal, the Pali Blues and the posts denied the Washington Freedom a repeat as W-League champion with Danesha Adams scoring twice for the 2-0 win.
Seattle Sounders 0 :: 1 FC Indiana Lionesses - Match Stats [+]
The game started with FC Indiana dominating possession. They controlled the pace of the game with great spacing and crisp passing.
In the 12th minute FC Indiana had their first real chance when midfielder Kelly Parker beat her defender just outside the 18-yard box and whistled a shot just over the crossbar.
Then the weather became the x-factor that it can be in crucial games. In the 18th minute heavy rain started to fall and persisted for the rest of the half.
Un-phased by the weather, FC Indiana continued to press the issue. Julianne Sitch and Lena Mosebo were consistently dangerous on the wings and peppered crosses in front of Seattle’s goal.
Fortunately for Seattle, they had Jessica Salvi in goal who was up to the task. Salvi showed no fear in constantly denying FC Indiana advances with saves and clearing punches.
FC Indiana’s best chance came in the 33rd minute when the dangerous Kelly Parker again created a scoring chance by defeating her defender and sending in a cross that Lauren Sesselmann headed off the crossbar.
Halftime came with the teams still tied at 0-0 and had an extended break due to a short lightning delay.
Seattle came out strong in the second half and started to gain some of the possession. The majority of the first part of the second half was played in FC Indiana’s end and knocked the Lionesses of guard.
FC Indiana picked up the pace in the 70th minute when Julianne Sitch again streaked down the sideline and sent in a dangerous ball that found the foot of a Seattle defender.
Throughout the game, even though they hadn’t scored, FC Indiana played with discipline and control. Those qualities were rewarded with a spectacular goal by Fatima Leyva in the 87th minute.
Leyva gained possession in the midfield and quickly maneuvered her way around two Seattle defenders before playing a beautiful give and go with W-League assist leader Laura Del Rio and finishing with a striker’s grace in the lower left hand corner.
Seattle was unable to create any chances in the waning moments of the game and fell by the score of 1-0. Seattle became just the second team this season to limit the Lionesses to one goal in a match with the previous match being FC Indiana’s 1-1 draw against Minnesota. The Sounders also had two narrow 1-0 defeats to regular season champion Pali Blues.
Washington Freedom 0 :: 2 Pali Blues - Match Stats [+]
The Pali Blues rode the leg of Danesha Adams as she scored two goals for the Blues as their march to perfection continued Thursday night by defeating the defending W-League Champion Washington Freedom 2-0 in the second semifinal of the W-League Championship.
The Freedom arguably gave Pali their toughest test of the year and for periods of the night were the better team. They just simply could not find the back of the net.
It started in the 6th minute when Freedom forward Christie Welsh sent a beautiful through ball to Kele Golebiowski, who was one on one with Blues goalie Valerie Henderson, but her shot sailed wide right.
Just three minutes later, the star of the match, Adams, had her first scoring chance of the game when she fought off two defenders and sent a shot off the left post before being cleared by a Washington defender.
Both teams continued to trade chances and continued to play an attacking and entertaining style of soccer. In the 22nd minute Washington had their best opportunity of the night when star Pali defender Jill Oakes turned the ball over in front of her goal. Welsh then pounced on the loose ball and sent a low line drive that beat Henderson to the left, but her shot clanked off the post.
Danesha Adams finally got the scoring going in the 26th minute with a beautiful volley off a cross from Collette McCallum. Pali controlled the ball from the backline and fluently worked the play up the wing to McCallum, who sent a perfect cross that Adams was able to bury in the back of the net.
Washington thought they scored the equalizer in the 28th minute when Sarah Huffman broke free and scored a goal. However, a late offside call that did not please the Freedom bench was whistled and the goal was called back. The half ended with Pali holding on to a 1-0 lead.
Washington started the second half strong and continued that play for the rest of the game.
“Washington was the better team through most of the second half,” said Pali Head Coach Charlie Naimo. “We changed formation for a little bit at the start of the second half, but that clearly wasn’t working the way I wanted it to, so we switched back.”
However that did not stop Washington’s pursuit to tie the game. In the 55th minute Pali was whistled for a hand ball right outside the area, which set up a golden opportunity for the Freedom. Washington midfielder Lori Lindsey took the free kick and sent a bending shot that curled around the wall and beat Henderson. But as was the case throughout the night, the soccer God’s did not smile on Washington and Lindsey’s shot hit the post.
Washington continued to dominate possession but could not get anything past the retreating Pali defense.
Adams put the game away in the 82nd minute for the Blues when she tallied her second goal of the game. The US youth international collected a loose ball just beyond the midfield line and used her speed to blow by two Freedom defenders. Adams then calmly chipped the ball over the charging Freedom keeper Chante Sandiford to make it 2-0 in Pali’s favor.
Washington still fought hard over the last few minutes of the game and for lady luck again denied Welsh, who ripped a shot that again found the post with the deflection going safely out of play. The Freedom hit the post a total of three times in the match.
Pali’s win sets up a marquee matchup in the W-League Championship on Saturday, August 8th at 8:00 p.m. against FC Indiana. Both Pali and FC Indiana have been dominant on the season and their paths will finally meet this Saturday with a W-League Championship at stake.