Colorado Pride News Release -- www.pridewleague.com
Sunday, June 29, 2014
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The Colorado Pride beat the Santa Clarita Blue Heat 4-0 on a hot afternoon at Washburn Field on Saturday to complete their weekend doubleheader with maximum points. The victory moved the Pride into a tie for second place in the W-League's Western Conference with a game in hand on the Bay Area Breeze.
An earlier start to the match meant much warmer temperatures and blazing sun, though the difficult conditions were no match for Pride’s blazing fast start. Taking a page from the U.S. National Team’s early goal in their opening World Cup game against Ghana, the Pride scored in the opening minute through Jessie Ayers to take a quick 1-0 lead.
The Pride continued to press forward, and hit both the post and crossbar in the opening 11 minutes, the latter from an exquisite shot from Mallory Weber. Again in the 31st minute, the Pride had a shot rattle off the bar, while Chloe Logarzo had an effort tipped over the crossbar by Santa Clarita goalkeeper Kaci McCain, who was the far busier of the two goalkeepers.
The Pride had a chance to double their lead when they won a penalty in the 40th minute after a handball in the box by a Santa Clarita defender, but Colorado College’s Sarah Schweiss would miss from the spot to leave the score 1-0 at the break.
The miss wouldn't faze the Pride, however, as within 10 minutes of the start of the second half Ayers would score her second. Ayers was found by a sublime pass from Sarah Schweiss 20 yards from goal, and carried the ball into the penalty area and shot. Her first shot came back off the post, but Ayers picked up the rebound to tuck the ball into the back of the net at the second time of asking.
Substitute Tara Andrews, whose insertion to the game brought a very different dynamic to Pride’s play, scored the team’s third in the 69th minute from a Lara Kane corner. The 5-foot-11 striker rose and headed powerfully into the Santa Clarita for her third goal of the season.
Five minutes later, Australian substitute Ashley Spina added a fourth with a blistering shot that gave the McCain no chance from 15 yards out. Pride Head Coach Daniel Clitnovici was satisfied with the win and his substitution's involvement.
“The substitutions made a real difference," Clitnovici said. "They brought real energy and pace to our play; we have a talented squad and our depth is strong, this was good for the squad because I don't want players getting complacent, if you work hard and play well you will be given a chance, if you don't work hard and struggle you will be taken out. Thats a fair principle we have been working with all season, the squad is fully aware of this".
The Pride enter their final three matches with a chance at making the playoffs. The side returns to action on Thursday night as it visits the Colorado Storm before what could be a crucial game at home against the Seattle Sounders Women on July 11, who currently sit four points behind the Pride and Breeze with two games in hand.
“We are looking at nothing less than winning all of our remaining matches,” said General Manager Sian Hudson. “If we do, then we know we’re in. If we don’t we have to rely on results elsewhere. The best approach is to win out, and keep our destiny in our own hands.”