The Force women hadn't played a game since May 20th in Salem. A game they were unlucky to come away without at least a point. Back in action against Twin City Union at Gordon Field Sunday, they would look to show that the good play they showed in their first 3 games of the season could result in some points.
Over 80 fans with umbrellas braved the hail, rain, and wind and if you weren't there, I can only really describe the entire game in this way. If you sit in a chair and you lean back, and you lean a little farther, and a little farther until you reach that point where you feel the balance of the chair swing and your heart feels like it has jumped into your throat and you're going to fall but at the last second you catch yourself....that's how the entire game felt.
If the Force men put on a dominant performance on Saturday, the women were masterful. They allowed only 6 total chances on their goal the entire game and last year's NWPL Golden Glove Winner, Ricci Wiedbrecht saved every last one of them. On the other end of the field, it always felt like a question of when would the Force score, not if. The pressure was instant, it was constant and it consumed the visiting team.
A couple chances early from Palau at the top of the box before Wiedbrecht cut out a 1v1 on the other end, followed by 9 more chances in the first half. The chances came from all over the field. Beisley, Fry, Dowling, Haga, Zeitler. Even Mama Lo (Kruzner) hit a top corner shot that should have put the Force in front but the TCU keeper was up to the task and matched Ricci's 1 v 1 save with an effort that just tipped the ball away at the last second. The halftime score was still 0-0 with the Force feeling like they should have had more than one goal already.
In the second half, the effort continued. Sanchez, Fry and Beisley were relentless in their assault up front. The midfield cast an oppression on TCU middle of the field that made it difficult for them to get the ball forward. The defense for the Force, was back. One of the best defenses in the league last year seemed to find its groove. They cut nearly everything out and when a chance was created, Wiedbrecht slammed the door.
Haynes got forward and hit a shot. Oba shot. Sanchez... TCU managed to finally get out of their own end 8 minutes into the second half and put a brilliant strike to the top right corner. Wiedbrecht, off balanced, managed to set her feet just enough to leap and dive back the other way to swat the ball away from the net. Haynes laced another shot from the top right, Haga lashed a cross through the box and 3 Force players just couldn't deflect it in. Sanchez and the TCU keeper almost collide on a Mama Lo cross that had everybody misjudging it. Fry, Peters and then a triple shot effort from Sanchez, taking the last effort from her butt and every time, the ball just wouldn't go in. Hard work and effort were seemingly not going to pay off again. TCU mounted one more effort late but again Wiedbrecht shut it down with little effort.
5 minutes left. Chance after chance. The Lady Force continued to push. 87th minute, another chance goes just wide. 89th minute, another shot just over the bar. 90th minute, the referee signals for only 1 additional minute. 91st minute, the ball goes into the box, Beisley collects. She's a mere 6 yards from the goal with a defender on her back. She steps over, she turns, she pushes past and gets dropped. The referee without hesitation points to the spot. A PENALTY! A chance! When everything else hasn't quite worked out, finally a chance!
Sanchez spots the ball. The stare down from the keeper. Calm. Simple. Sanchez steps up and slides the ball into the left corner with the inside of the foot. It's in! The referee blows the whistle to end the match. It's over! The Force have their first win of the season, their 4th point and have moved into a playoff spot with 4 games to go!
You can check out the women this Saturday at 5pm at Gordon Field at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds when they take on NCW Alliance. #OURTIME