Foothills FC Can't Climb Final Mountain to UWS League title
Foothills WFC's season came to a dramatic but unfortunate end as they fell 1-0 to the L.A. Galaxy OC in the 2019 championship match of the United Women's Soccer League.
In front of over 1000 fans at Mount Royal University's stadium field, the NCAA's player of the year, Catarina Macario, found the net behind Emily Burns in the 72nd minute to propel Calgary's biggest rival to their first ever UWS title.
Galaxy head coach Scott Juniper said the key to their success during the 90 minutes was they had to shut down two or three big players from the Foothills that could have hurt his side.
“We couldn’t give them too much space and I think we did that right from the start. In previous games we had let Calgary get ahead and once they are ahead they are very difficult to reel in.”
It was the first win for the Galaxy in the all-time series between the clubs in five attempts. Juniper talked about the rivalry.
“Every game has been super tight between us, they are a very organized squad with a passionate group of players.”
Their roster adjustments for the final weekend were numerous, but not unusual for the Galaxy to plan around.
“It (this weekend’s roster) didn’t feel any different us,” the coach said. “We’ve gone through 37 players over 11 games. Our team has had to welcome many different starting lineups and to our bench. To see a team that has that much togetherness and in how well way we played, it’s a credit to the players.”
The clean sheet belonged to Hillary Beall, the Michigan Wolverine, who said this title was what they had worked all season for.
“This third time (in 2019) we were finally able to break down Calgary so it’s a great win for us.
“We really came together a group and attacked them with a nothing to lose mentality. Winning puts us on the map in Southern California. It’s great to represent our state and the L.A. Galaxy program.”
For Foothills, there were tears on their silver medals. Head Coach Troye Flannery knew it would be a battle against the conference rivals in a national championship.
“They are littered with some world class players, a ton of all-Americans. They are a who's who of U.S. soccer and we went toe to toe with them.”
Macario’s goal came from an over the top feed from defender Natalie Jacobs, sailing right to Macario onside, who took two steps and while under pressure from Caleigh Boeckx found the net with a blast inside Emily Burns’ left goal post.
“Special players find a way to do special things at the right times,” Flannery said. “We were quite good with respect to our details, and our game plan.
“With the exception of our set pieces which didn’t come off the way they normally do, with everything else we stuck to the plan. It was unfortunate but that’s the game.”
One of Calgary’s biggest obstacles was the tallest player on the pitch, L.A’s centre midfielder Taylor Kornieck, who seemingly took away almost all of the Foothills’ offensive chances in the second half with her height advantage and clearance ability.
“She covers a lot of ground,” Flannery said of the Korieck, another player along with Macario who didn’t appear for the Galaxy in Calgary’s win over them on June 16. “We were a bit silly at times just playing (the ball) into her wheel house.
“Their good players stood out but so did ours.
“There is nothing to be ashamed of here. I’m proud of this club. How we’ve extended the pathway and given women an opportunity at a high level of play. To give Grace Stordy, a 17 year old, a chance to play centre back against a player who's appeared for the U.S. 70 times, you don’t see that anywhere else at the grassroots level.”
Among the 23 team UWS, this was the second consecutive trip to the final playoff weekend for the Foothills WFC, a claim only one other team can brag about.
“It's exhausting, it’s a lot of work, I’m just proud of this group of women for how they represented the club and this city,“ Flannery said.