SAN DIEGO, California – While the Colorado Rush were arriving, their three best players were departing.
When the U17 Rush took the field in preparation for their ECNL National Event showdown in San Diego on Sunday, they did so without stars Gabrielle Miranda, Elizabeth Raben and Morgan Stanton. The talented trio was called into nearby U.S. U17 WNT camp in Chula Vista as the U17s prepare for the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, with all three players in the running to make the final roster.
“It’s not ideal, this is an important event but we always put the national team first and we’re flattered to have three players in the hunt for the World Cup qualifying team,” Rush coach Erik Bushey told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “Our team has had to play without players in the past. They recognize they still have a job to do.”
And a job well done it was.
The Rush demolished opponent Freestate Soccer Alliance 4-0 in a performance that showed just how deep and dangerous the Rush really are.
The result aside, it was an entertaining brand of soccer to watch as the Rush kept the ball on the ground during an exhibition of crisp passing and movement.
Central midfielder Jenna Geist, who was everywhere on of the field and was one of the many standouts for the Rush, scored the only goal of the first half. With attackers Sidny Szabo, a tremendous athlete with height to spare, and Victoria Barba helping to lead the way the Rush spread Freestate thin.
By the second half they had completely broken the Maryland squad’s defense and as a result Danica Evans scored a pair of late goals while Tommi Goodman drew a foul in the box and converted the PK.
It was utter domination.
Lindsey Lane was a lone bright spot in the midfield for Freestate, but truthfully they didn’t retain enough possession to really leave their mark. Lane is strong and decisive with the ball and showed flashes of the ability that has her ranked No. 36 in her class.
The Rush, who lead the Mountain West Conference, were in a whole different class.
“We work hard to put forth entertaining soccer,” Bushey said. “The girls put together one heck of performance today.”
U16 Slammers FC 3, Albertson Fury 0
Despite dominating the match, Slammers FC was on the verge of perhaps settling for a 0-0 tie before one positive play opened the floodgates.
Claire Oates got the ball wide on the right wing and sent a cross middle that somehow ricocheted around and found the foot of Jessica Wong who promptly scored.
The score was more relief than rejoice as it ended a string of near misses from all over the pitch.
It also took some pressure off of goalkeeper Cassidy Rey who carried more than her share of the load to keep her team level. Rey is a 5-foot-10 sure-handed keeper with great agility. She made a particularly spectacular play late in the match on a 1v1 scenario that saw her hold her ground until the final minute before making a sprawling stop.
MacKenzie Cerda was another stud for the Slammers. She’s fearless and physical in the middle and possesses a strong left foot. She showcased that in the final couple minutes where she added a pair of goals to pad the final score.
The final goal saw her track down a long ball, outrunning the defense, and angling in the shot past the keeper from just about parallel to the post.
The Slammers were also without Kayla Mills, who has been called into U17 camp, but they showed why they’re at the top of the U16 Flight A standings.
U15 Real So Cal 4, Ohio Premier 0
Real So Cal has had more than a few ominous signs this season. For starters, they’ve had three players suffer ACL injuries during high school season leaving them with a thin roster.
That sure didn’t stop them Sunday during yet another lopsided match. The Southern California squad seized most of the possessions and erupted for four goals in the second half, getting scores from Tayler Ayers and Madeline Romeo.
The story of the match, though, and maybe of the Real So Cal club moving forward, was Samantha Bruder. She’s an eighth grade striker who was one of the biggest players on the field and few could stop her from getting where she wanted to.
Bruder showed flashes of dominance and will be a player to be reckoned with as she continues to develop.
“She’s incredible. She will be one of the top recruits in the nation,” Real So Cal coach Adolfo Perez told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “She has a great combination of speed and strength so her play never surprises me.”
Ohio Premier was overmatched despite a nice showing from midfielder Megan Glass, a tireless worker with good ball skills, who just didn’t get enough opportunities.