Pleasanton RAGE vs. Fresno FREEZE 1-0 Victory; Jun 25, 2022
By Lizzy Rager
After its away game versus Fresno tied 0-0, the RAGE made a comeback with a 1-0 victory against Fresno on home turf. Midway through the WPSL season, RAGE maintains the second top spot in the southern division Pac North conference. Now on a two-game win streak, the players are confident to head to the conference championship games.
Within the first two minutes of the first half, RAGE gets multiple close goal-scoring opportunities, one with the Fresno goalkeeper leaving the goal wide open and another just barely scraping Fresno’s crossbar.
In the 19th minute of the first half, RAGE midfielder Haley Hong received a pass at midfield and escaped the defending Freeze, then sent the ball 20 yards to the RAGE midfielder Nicole Rivas, moving into an opportunity at Freeze’s sideline. Rivas dribbles inwards and passes the ball precisely past the Freeze defense to RAGE forward Ella Colombini at Freeze’s 15-yard line. The Fresno goalie steps to the edge of the goal box and fails to scoop the ball out of the feet of the fast-approaching Columbini. Immediately, she shoots a strong flat ball to the center of Fresno’s open goal, bringing in the goal that would win the game.
The RAGE WPSL forwards, Ella and Mia Colombini, proved to have great synergy during the game playing opposite to each other as wingers. #itsatwinthing
“We know where each other are gonna run because we do most of the same things a lot. We play the same style of soccer, so I feel like we’re really matched in that energy,” said Mia Colombini.
Fresno played very physically and did not give up throughout the first and second half to bring the score even.
“They put up a good fight, very aggressive. We were able to get behind them a couple of times and get some through balls. I think it was a good battle” continued Mia.
While the score shows a close game, RAGE maintained ball control and won most 1v1s throughout the two halves. They have improved vastly in dominating the game, with standout players like Nicole Rivas and Kayla Morales making the difference by transferring the ball efficiently between the defensive and offensive lines while using the width of the field.
Coach Sarah Fawcett learned from RAGE’s previous game against Fresno, who came back with even more aggression in this game.
“I thought they were gonna give us a challenging game because they are very physical in comparison to us. In moments today, we did not match their physicality. We have got to be a bit more brave in our challenges & winning the ball back” said Fawcett.
In the second half, RAGE had to rework its tactics & strategy to minimize Fresno breakaways.
“Fresno was playing a 1-3-5-2, so it was important we did not leave ourselves exposed defensively. We discussed at halftime the importance of the weak side–outside back tucking in to ensure that we’re always numbers up (3 v 2) against them. If that didn’t happen, one of the six’s (would) drop in and help create numbers up,” said Fawcett.
RAGE did not have as much ball control in the second half of the game.
“I think we got tired a bit there, fatigue got us. Sometimes making substitutes can also affect the rhythm” said Fawcett.
The WPSL goalie, Jordan Smith, gave off one of her best performances of the season, cleanly catching air balls and moving out of the box at the right moments to stop Fresno’s approach. Smith says “she wasn’t able to make those saves without the excellent performance of RAGE’s defensive line and center-back”.
“In the first half there was a cross in the box and the girl volleyed it. Luckily I got my hands on it. That was probably the scariest moment. Besides that, they didn’t have many dangerous opportunities” said Smith.
This win now puts RAGE WPSL in the PacNorth Conference Playoffs with the semi-final game on Jul 8, 2022, kick-off 7:30 pm @ Bernal Community Park, Stadium.