Fuego Score Last-Minute Victory Over Fireballs
September 16, Oakton, VA
The FUEGO needed all 90 minutes to dispatch of the pesky Reston Fireballs, despite dominating for most of the game.
The Fuego took charge of the game early, putting immediate pressure on the Fireballs and getting off several quick shots. Kristen, Ellie, Nina, Jazz and Melissa all had shots on goal in the first several minutes, but none found the net.
The Fuego finally got on the scoreboard first about 10 minutes into the game when Julia sent a free kick sailing over everyone and into the back of the net. The Fireballs came right back and got off a great shot across the front of the goal that Caroline dove to redirect. They finally scored 15 minutes later on a long ball from about 25 yards out that again went over everyone and just snuck under the crossbar.
From that point the game was pretty even, with the Fireballs putting pressure on the Fuego defense, and Rhi, Sara, Kennia, Morgan and Marika keeping the pressure away from goal and denying the Fireballs any decent chances.
The Fugeo had chances as well. Kaitlin got loose on a breakaway and made a terrific shot towards the far corner that the goalie just got a finger on at the last second and then nearly redirected Katie's ensuing corner into the net, and a mad scramble in front of the Fireball net saw several players, including Dasha, Kaitlin, Jazz, Katie and Aby and get a foot on the ball, but with no success.
A few minutes later, Brooke moved into space in front of the Fireball net and got off a shot that just missed wide, but on the ensuing goal kick, Katie intercepted the ball, slid it across to Brooke who was in the exact same spot. Only this time Brooke didn't miss, and drilled the ball into the net for the 2-1 Fuego lead right before the half.
The Fuego started hard in the second half, passing well and putting pressure on the Fireball defense. Nina took a ball deep down the left side, crossed it into the middle and onto Ellie's foot. Ellie couldn't turn for the shot, but passed it back to Melissa, who got off a low hard blast that just missed wide. Shots by Jazz, Julia, Kristen and Kaitlin all were either stopped (and the Fireball goalie made some terrific saves) or went just wide.
Despite the relentless pressure, the Fireballs did get opportunities, and they finally capitalized on one about midway through the half when they managed to put one in a corner kick, knotting the score at 2.
From that point on, it was all Fuego as they pressed relentlessly against the Fireball defense. Sabrine, Nina, Kristen, Dasha, Morgan, Sara, and Kennia in particular put relentless pressure on the ball, and forced several turnovers. In one sequence, Kirsten, Morgan, Julia and Melissa outworked about half a dozen Fireball players to control the ball for about two minutes deep in the attacking end.
Frustrated but still working hard, the Fuego got one final chance. With about a minute to go, the Fuego were awarded a free kick just outside the Fireball penalty area. Katie launched a beautiful ball toward the far goal post. Jazz crashed the net and deflected the ball past the diving goalie, and into the net.
The hard-fought, 3-2 victory gives the Fuego a little momentum going into this coming weekend's grudge match against the rival CYA Rumble, who are out for revenge after the Fuego eliminated them from the Virginian last spring.