2012 W-League Championship
Friday, July 27, 2012
OTTAWA, ON - Liz Bogus’ goal in the 31st minute opened the scoring for the Pali Blues and they never looked back, advancing to the W-League Championship game with a 2-0 victory against the Quebec City Amiral on Friday evening at Algonquin College Soccer Complex.
The Blues came into the W-League Championships as the No. 1 seed with a 13-0-1 record and looked the part early on, dictating play for long spells of the first half. The Quebec City back line, however, remained poised and limited any serious threats.
Both teams showed contrasting styles of play as the Blues looked to methodically work the ball up the field while the Amiral sat behind the ball looking to break quickly through with Josee Belanger and Imen Trodi on the counter.
"We didn’t create enough chances and, quite honestly, we gave them too much space to play. And that’s what we’ve been pretty good at all year," Pali Head Coach Charlie Naimo said. "They were a hard team. Until we got the second goal they kept coming at us."
It was Bogus with the breakthrough in the 31st minute. Camille Levin’s cross from the right found Uzunlar in the box. Bilodeau’s reaction save fell to the feet of Bogus who neatly slotted home to put the Blues up 1-0.
Quebec City responded well and Belanger almost equalized before the break. After being played through into the right side of the box her shot from close range was saved by the on-rushing Picarelli. As it stood, the Blues took the 1-0 lead into the break.
Pali came out pressing forward and second-half substitute Elizabeth Eddy almost doubled the Blues’ advantage. Again, it was Bilodeau coming up with a big save to keep Quebec City within arm’s reach.
Quebec City weathered the pressure and began to push up field. The spritely Trodi had a series of half-chances but Picarelli was up to the task.
In the 70th minute, it was Bilodeau to the rescue saving Mariah Nogueira’s half-volley from just inside the box. Six minutes later there was no denying Bogus her second, however. A fortunate bounce off the defender found Bogus’ feet and she made no mistake. Taking a couple of touches inside there was nothing Bilodeau could do as Bogus blasted past for the 2-0 lead.
The cushion seemed to relieve the pressure a bit and Pali streamed forward. Levin’s point-blank shot was saved by Bilodeau to keep the scoreline at 2-0 in the 86th.
On this night, Pali wouldn’t be denied and closed out the game earning the right to play for the W-League Championship on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET. The Blues will take on the winner of the second semifinal between the Ottawa Fury and D.C. United Women.
Naimo is confident a revitalized Pali side will come out on Sunday.
"They got to rest," he said. "I know we’ll play well on Sunday. I thought we looked a bit tired today. So, I think they worked really hard physically today but mentally they didn’t put the work in for the team and the performance wasn’t as good as it could have been."