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USC Women’s Soccer Falls Short Of Victory Vs. Washington

Taiu Kunimoto |
October 5, 2013 | 2:42 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

The losing streak is at three games for the women's soccer squad. (Taiu Kunimoto/Neon Tommy)
The losing streak is at three games for the women's soccer squad. (Taiu Kunimoto/Neon Tommy)
The USC Women's Soccer squad failed to make their chances count, losing 1-0 to the University of Washington Huskies on Friday at McAlister Field. Although they had advantages in shots and possession, USC fell short of delivering a goal, marking their second consecutive Pac-12 loss. The Trojans fell to 5-5-1 and 0-2 in Pac-12 play on the season, while the Huskies improved to the same overall record. 

Multiple careless errors cost the Trojans early into the game. The Huskies placed USC's defense under immense pressure, forcing the team to retreat deep back in their own half. However, defender/midfielder Mandy Freeman’s solid control of the defensive line pushed back against an aggressive Washington offense. 

Midway into the first half, Trojans’ close-down defense won more ball possessions. However, due the lack of support at the front, USC barely posed a threat to the Husky defense. Kayla Mills, USC’s freshman striker, especially received tight scrutiny from the Husky defender Molly Boyd, leaving her little to no space to secure the ball.

Despite the drop in the possession, the Huskies’ well-timed pressing at the midfield severely disrupted the Trojans’ passing game, forcing the occasional drawbacks from Trojan defenders fearing a counter-attack.

The major test on the Trojan defense arrived at the 36th minute. A Washington player stole the ball at midfield and delivered it to the overlapping wing back, Havana McElvaine, whose cross from the left flank met the head of McKenzie Karas. The ball, after an awkward bounce, inched past the fingers of USC keeper Caroline Stanley, but was cleared just in time by defender Mia Bruno right on the goal line, leaving numerous Trojan supporters on the stand with a big sigh of relief.

Nevertheless, the Trojans’ hope to end the first half at a draw vanished in the air, as Washington’s Allie Beahan shook the Trojan goal net less than a minute left before the halftime whistle. The sudden strike from Beahan at the left side of penalty box caught Stanley off guard, where she could only witness the ball swerve into the top right corner amid her desperate attempt for the save.

USC's offense clearly shifted into a high gear in the second half. Senior midfielder Jordan Marada took control of the midfield with multiple quality deliveries to the Trojan wingers on both flanks. Yet, frustration mounted among the squad as none of the breakdowns from the side resulted in goals.

The Trojans' inefficiency to convert chances into goals worsened when the Women of Troy began to show signs of fatigue. With time slowly ticking away, USC’s lack of quality finishes was followed by Coah Ali Khosroshanin’s increasing screams of dissatisfaction from the sideline.

With only 3 minutes left in the game, Coach Khosroshahin received a warning from the referee due to his continuous complaints on the series of un-called fouls committed by Husky defenders.

USC’s final attempt to scramble an equalizer from a corner was cut short by the final whistle, making the team's third conseuctive loss official. 

What Is Wrong?

The Women of Troy have lost all of the past three games by a one-goal margin, and have yet to win a single game in the Pac-12 conference. The match against the Huskies clearly showed the Trojans’ lack of goal-scoring presence. 

USC's 4-3-3 formation relies heavily on the breakdown from the flanks, using either dribbles or crosses. Yet in the game against Washington, USC neither had the ability to dribble past Husky defenders nor had crosses good enough to make for a comfortable shot in the penalty box. Most importantly, USC needs to work harder not only on creating chances, but also converting the shots to goals.

In addition, the Women of Troy need to find a playmaker in the midfield to distribute the ball to the flanks. They also need a midfielder to set up and take charge of the smooth transition of the ball from defense to offense. Marada took the crucial role in the second half, which instigated a streak of Trojan offense, however, she needs take charge of the midfield earlier on in games.

Despite the strong start in the beginning of the season, setting a program record by scoring 12 goals in its first 3 games, the Trojans’ conference standing is in last, and improved play must come sooner rather than later.

Reach Staff Writer Taiu Kunimoto here or follow him here



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