PITTSBURGH (June 13, 2015) – Steel City F.C. returned to action Saturday with a 3-1 home loss to Buffalo, New York-based Empire Revs in the Women’s Premier Soccer League.
A first-half double by Alex Juliano and a penalty kick from incoming Penn State freshman Charlotte Williams set the Revs up for a deserved victory at The Ellis School in Shadyside. Bethany Smyda notched a late consolation goal for the hosts.
Steel City drops to 1-1-0 (three points) in the WPSL’s Can Am Division. Empire Revs stretch their lead at the top with a third straight win (3-0-0, nine points).
The visitors began brightly and rarely eased off. Williams worked a neat one-two with Alexis Ruggerio on 11 minutes before pulling her shot into the side netting. Maddie Pezzino dragged her attempt similarly wide of the near post three minutes later after shrugging aside Abby Weber in the penalty area.
Steel City threatened when left-back Jessie Vilkofsky displayed incredible footwork to escape from two opponents in a tight space before freeing Amy Vinopal up the line. Vinopal’s through ball almost released Ashley Cuba on goal.
Home goalkeeper Laura Saussol was busier than her counterpart in the early stages. She made a smart save on 19 minutes to tip a rasping Christina Fluman free kick over her crossbar.
Williams continued to look a step sharper than those around her. She was inevitably involved in the Revs’ opener on 28 minutes when her dribbling led to a fortuitous break inside Steel City’s 18-yard box. Juliano gleefully swept her low shot beyond Saussol’s reach.
Juliano doubled the lead 10 minutes later when Steel City’s defense failed to deal with a long free kick launched into the penalty area. The 19-year-old Daemen College forward accelerated onto the loose ball and rounded Saussol before slotting into an empty net.
It was going to be a tough task for Steel City to chase the game amid stifling heat and humidity. Cuba came close to handing her team a lifeline two minutes after the restart when she cut in off the left flank and curled in a right-foot shot that narrowly missed the far top corner.
City head coach Betsy Warren set her team up with a midfield diamond anchored by Duquesne’s Danya Fenech and spearheaded by former Akron player Jessica Fix. The inherent unfamiliarity of playing with new teammates had hindered the hosts’ ability to connect their passes during the first half, according to Fenech. Her team improved in that respect after the interval with Fix pushed into the center forward role.
Fix released Vinopal on the right of the penalty area on 73 minutes. Her cutback led Revs goalkeeper Claire Feiertag to save Carley Bogan’s shot.
Williams ended the contest on 83 minutes after her threatening run into the penalty box was illegally ended by Alyssa D’Egidio’s challenge. Saussol moved to her right. Williams stroked her kick to the other side to make it 3-0.
The hosts kept fighting and earned their reward within a minute after Fix drew a foul in midfield. Smyda climbed highest to nod the resulting free kick beyond Feiertag.
Another foul on Fix two minutes later could have set up a dramatic finale. Lauren Mizik connected on the resultant cross with a firm volleyed blast that flew across the face of goal before narrowly evading the far corner.
Steel City has a quick turnaround to prepare for its next game. The girls leave Pittsburgh at 9 a.m. Sunday morning for a bus ride to Niagara Falls and an afternoon meeting with Tkaronto Justice.
May 25, 2015 — Steel City Romps To Debut Win In WPSL