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Match Preview: Albuquerque FC can clinch division with victory against Phoenix Del Sol

By Chris Walker | June 22, 2019 | seekandstrikecollective@gmail.com

WPSL expansion side Albuquerque FC (3-1-1, 10 points) are at home this weekend facing Phoenix Del Sol (6/22) and expansion side FC Arizona (6/23) at Ben Rios Field at St. Pius High School at 5:45 pm. There are no live streams available for these matches.

Last Sunday, Albuquerque FC picked up 4 points bringing them into a tie for first in the Desert Division with Phoenix Del Sol. The ABQFC women wrapped up a two-game road series against FC Arizona and Las Vegas Players SC.

On Saturday, June 15th, it was the battle of two newly-minted WPSL expansion sides as FC Arizona and ABQFC played to a 2-2 draw. FC Arizona went up early in the match scoring at 21’ leaving ABQFC scoreless through the remainder of the first half. Just moments into the second half, ABQFC’s Gwen Maly finds the net for her fourth time this season at 48’ off of a pass from Claire Lynch, which got started up out of their midfield.

“The second half, we changed our game plan to play more direct and put pressure on their defense. We changed formations to play with three high forwards. We tried to send Lani, Miranda, and myself long and put their defense under high pressure. This change was more successful,” Maly said. “We got a goal quick in the second half of a long ball that went to Claire. Claire dribbled at a defender and pulled them out of shape. She slipped me a ball in behind around the 18 and I ran onto it and slotted it past the keeper.”

FC Arizona answered right back at 51’ off of a loss of possession by ABQFC. As the match continued on, the style of play got more physical and ABQFC made adjustments to help towards finding their next score. They shifted from a 4-4-2 to a 4-3-3 formation. ABQFC’s second goal came at 83’ off of a corner kick taken by Brittney Harris as Corey Kizer gets to the ball first to head it into FC Arizona’s goal. The match drew even at 2-2 as neither club was able to score again to win outright.

“After the second goal, we tightened up our defense. By doing this, we were able to move the ball forward. We got a corner out of our efforts,” Kizer said. “The corner was kicked perfectly to the front of the goal and I was able to get a head on it heading it to the top right of the goal.”

With the result against FC Arizona, Albuquerque FC kept a steady grip on the 2nd spot in the Desert Division.

On Sunday, June 16th, ABQFC traveled to Nevada to take on Las Vegas Players SC. ABQFC won the match 1-0 earning 3 points to put them tied in first with Phoenix Del Sol in the Desert Division. ABQFC controlled possession throughout the game but, couldn’t get completely settled until the second half. Several players had big nights on the pitch.

“Maly had several shots but couldn’t get one in the net. But played great and worked hard all night,” Assistant Coach Ric Martinelli said. “Leilani Baker was a handful all night as she dominated on the right side. She created several chances offensively for the team and herself.”

ABQFC goalkeeper Mia Montano had 3 great saves on shots taken by Players SC. Montano is also credited with an assist on her team’s lone goal scored at 53’ by Brianna Martinez.

“Montano played a ball over the defensive line and Martinez ran onto the through ball to finish 1v1 with the Players SC keeper,” Martinelli said.

With the rest against Players SC, Albuquerque FC moved into a two-way tie for the 1st spot (with Phoenix Del Sol) in the Desert Division.

This evening’s matchup between Albuquerque FC and Phoenix Del Sol is for 1st place in the Desert Division. I expect the matchup to become physical due to what is at stake with post-season hopes looming near.

An ABQFC win tonight will qualify the women for post-season play. They would have the tie-breaker against Phoenix Del Sol.

ABQFC must win the ball up high and keep their composure to set up scoring chances. ABQ FC has done a good job using Leilani Baker to pull defenders out of their shape. Baker is a scoring threat as well so if she finds an open seam on her drives, it could be lights out for Del Sol’s goalkeeper. Up high, Kizer, Lynch, and Martinez are viable scoring options. Maly will not be playing in tonight’s match (personal committments). Defensively, ABQFC will need to communicate with each other and refocus when the game gets physical. The last two goals that ABQFC has allowed were mainly due to miscommunication and their opponent capitalized. Only giving up 4 goals this year, the other 2 being from PKs, ABQFC must maintain their defensive dominance on the pitch.

Del Sol will be without their leading goal-scorer Joriam Baucom, who just signed a professional contract with NWSL’s Houston Dash. Del Sol’s second leading goal-scorer Adriana Orozco is also not listed on their active roster. They have other players that have stepped up in the past match against FC Tucson.
Del Sol has conceded 12 goals on the season, which have been evenly split between Navarrete (6) and goalkeeper Lauren Marquez (5). Del Sol could stay with Navarrete or Marquez due to their in-game experience or rotate in Meredith Reinhardt, who has yet to concede any goals on the season.

LAST MATCH

Las Vegas Players SC 0 | Albuquerque FC 1: Albuquerque FC’s Brianna Martinez scores a goal at 53’ in a 1v1 sequence. The ball Martinez played on was a long ball that dropped in behind the Players SC defensive line. This win helped ABQFC earn 3 points and sit in a tie for first with Phoenix Del Sol.

Phoenix Del Sol 3 | FC Tucson 3: FC Tucson’s opening goal was recorded at 26’ by Abbie Boswell. Phoenix Del Sol equalizes at 48’ by Jenna Parkhurst and takes the lead at 52’ with a goal scored by Natalie Stephens. FC Tucson brings the score even at 65’ with a goal by Maury Urcadez. Phoenix Del Sol pulls ahead at 79’ with a goal scored by Allison Jorden. FC Tucson bookends the match with a goal scored at 87’ by Haley Harris.

2018 RECORD
• Albuquerque FC: N/A
• Phoenix Del Sol: 3-4-1

MATCH SERIES W/ PHOENIX DEL SOL
• Albuquerque FC: 1 win, 4 goals
• Phoenix Del Sol: 0 wins, 0 goals

GAME NOTES
• ABQFC (3-1-1, 10 points), Phoenix Del Sol (3-1-1, 10 points) T-1st
• ABQFC is 1-0-0 at home and 2-1-1 on the road in 2019.
• Del Sol is 2-1-1 at home and 1-0-0 on the road in 2019.
• Del Sol Lead Goal Scorers: Jorian Baucom (4) and Adriana Orozco (3)
• Del Sol Assist Leaders: Lex Allard (2) and Luciana Garcia Riefkohl (2)
• ABQFC Lead Goal Scorer: Gwen Maly (4), Corey Kizer (2)
• ABQFC Assist Leaders: Claire Lynch (2), Corey Kizer (1) Leilani Baker (1).
• ABQFC has only allowed 4 goals this season.

Next Up, Sunday, June 23, Albuquerque FC completes the regular season as they face FC Arizona at Ben Rios Field at St. Pius High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico at 1:30 pm MT.

Photo Credit: Amanda Getchell

Chris Walker is a writer for Seek & Strike Collective covering NM United, Albuquerque Sol FC, and Albuquerque FC. Follow him on Twitter and join in on the conversation. @_ChrisWalker505

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