PITTSBURGH (June 28, 2015) – Steel City F.C. fell to its first Women’s Premier Soccer League defeat two weeks ago when Empire Revs WNY left The Ellis School in Shadyside with a comfortable 3-1 win.
Highmark Stadium was the setting for the second meeting between the top two teams in the league’s Can Am Division on Sunday. A tactical switch from Steel City head coach Betsy Warren allowed the first-year Pittsburgh team to bridge the gap and hold their Buffalo, New York-based opponents to a 1-1 tie.
“We were playing a 4-4-2 before and their midfield was just pinging it around us,” Steel City forward Jessica Fix told The Soccer Observer after Sunday’s game.
“Today we came out and I think we matched them pretty well.”
Former University of Akron player Fix and current Duquesne midfielder Danya Fenech were outnumbered in the middle of the field two weeks ago. Warren’s lineup took on a different shape this time with Fenech sitting behind a midfield quartet and Fix pushed into the sole forward role.
Warren successfully tried out her new formation in Saturday’s 2-0 win at the Syracuse Lady Knights. Sunday’s tie edges her team closer to one of the division’s two playoff spots. Empire Revs lead the section with a 6-0-1 record (19 points). Steel City (3-1-1, 10 points) has a comfortable lead over third-placed Syracuse.
Alyssa D’Egidio found herself pushed into a wide midfield role from the center of defense in Warren’s tweaked system. D’Egidio forced Revs goalkeeper Claire Feiertag to tip away a fizzing shot from outside the penalty box on four minutes.
Steel City kept the visitors on the back foot in those early stages and took the lead on 15 minutes. Fenech released Ashley Cuba on goal with an exceptional cross-field pass behind Revs right-back Amanda Gallo. The Revs’ defense seemed to have recovered to crowd out Cuba’s shot only for the ball to ricochet back off the forward and into Feiertag’s net.
Incoming Penn State freshman Charlotte Williams had troubled Steel City with her exceptional dribbling and balance earlier this month. Williams continued in a similar vein during the first half although her shooting let her down on the numerous occasions where she had a sight of goal.
Empire Revs took control of the second half with Steel City’s forwards restricted to a few counter attacks. The equalizer looked set to arrive with 10 minutes remaining when Madisyn Pezzino and Pia Rijsdijk created an opening inside the 18-yard box for Hayley Besaw. The Niagara University defender skewed her finish high and wide of the target.
The score was finally leveled three minutes later. Williams slipped the ball wide to Pezzino on the left wing. Hannah Crofut launched herself at Pezzino’s cross to convert it with a diving header.
Steel City meets Empire Revs once more before finishing the regular season on July 12 against Syracuse.
The WPSL’s regional finals take place in Michigan over the weekend of July 17-19 with the national finals held one week later in Oklahoma.
June 13, 2015 — Steel City Fails To Empire Revs Despite Spirited Effort
May 25, 2015 — Steel City Romps To Debut Win In WPSL