UWS West Conference Week 2 Preview: Real Salt Lake Women host newcomer So Cal Crush FC in West opener
Fans will have to wait until Week III of the Summer 2017 season for the defending United Women’s Soccer (UWS) champion Santa Clarita Blue Heat to take the pitch, but in Week II action, one of their rivals for the West Conference crown will look to get a step ahead of the competition.
Real Salt Lake Women – who finished second in the West race in 2016 – will play the first of three home matches this year at Clyde Field on the campus of Utah Valley University when they host West newcomers So Cal Crush FC this Saturday night.
SATURDAY, MAY 20
Real Salt Lake Women vs. So Cal Crush FC
7:00 PM MDT – Utah Valley University (Orem, UT)
Coming into the 2017 season, the Real Salt Lake Women need to put behind the disappointment of last season when they were literally seconds away from capturing the West crown. And the RSL Women go into this campaign with a renewed spirit and the backbone of their 2016 team back in the fold. Defending West Conference Coach of the Year Mark Davis will once again lead the team and he has 2016 UWS Goalkeeper of the Year Becca Ritchie and 2016 All-UWS defender Natalie Norris marshaling his defense. All-West Conference selections in midfielder Kira Sharp and forward Jess Vanderveur also return to the Real Women.
An influx of new talent comes the way of the UVU Wolverines, who will have five players on this year’s RSLW side. Defender Tara Furlong, keeper Brooklyn Nielsen, defender Sara Callister, forward Alexis Peterson and defender Hannah Bruce won’t travel far for three of their four home matches this season, as Clyde Field will be familiar territory. In a final tuneup before Saturday night’s opener, the RSL Women hosted Liga MX Femenil champion Club Pachuca on Wednesday night in an international friendly. The Tuzos would get the 2-1 win with the RSLW goal coming from former UVU star Kasandra Anderson and the assist to Utah State Aggie midfielder Wesley Hamblin.
Being a new organization, So Cal Crush FC will need to cycle right into traffic without getting hurt in their franchise opener. The W-League experience of Head Coach Reggie Rivas – the Head Women’s Soccer Coach at Pasadena City College – should help the team in this transition. SCCFC has a trio of experienced forwards to rely on in Ryan Casey (Carnegie Mellon), Jamie Bell (LMU, FC Energia – Russia) and Kara Lankey (Pacific University). The addition of Trinidad and Tobago international Janelle McGee will bring UWS experience to the lineup as she played for the Colorado Storm last summer.
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