Taking on the monster Pali Blues the Sounders Women came away looking pretty solid. This was their third game in five days, without their five UW Husky players, and they were obviously tired. The Blues were only missing one of their big players. Opportunities were there for both teams, but neither could score. When these teams meet again, the outcome should lean in the Sounders favor.
Starters for the Sounders were: Erin McNulty, Shannon Woeller, M’ily Reiter, Brigit Reder, Tafara Pulse, Rachel Mercik, Morgan Johnson, Jaelene Hinkle, Holland Crook, Sara Campbell and Melissa Busque.
Starters for the Blues were: Anna Picarelli, Jenna Richmond, Ashley Nick, Satara Murray, Samantha Mewis, Ashley Freyer, Elizabeth Eddy, Makenzy Doniak, Abby Dahlhemper and Sasha Andrews.
Erin McNulty was the player of the match. The keeper was busy between the sticks the entire game. Other than about 20 total minutes, the Pali Blues dominated play. Brigit Reder, Rachel Mercik, Jaelene Hinkle, Sara Campbell and Melissa Busque battled bravely. They were all over the field, dropping back in defense, stuffing runs, and getting forward on quick counters.
Elizabeth Eddy from the Blues was the biggest threat. Her runs, passes and shots caused chaos. She had an outstanding game, and if not for some crazy keeping by McNulty, Eddy would have gotten a couple of those shots in. Makenzy Doniak also created several chances for the Blues.
In about the 38th minute, there was quite a build up of play by Pali and a questionable hand ball "no call" on Morgan Johnson in the box. The hand ball was not intentional, as it was a rocket shot at Johnson, so perhaps that’s why there was no call, plus Pali retained possession and took a shot. McNulty was able to scoop up the weak shot. That was really the only controversy in the entire match.
After the half, Janine Beckie replaced Sara Campbell and was immediately challenged by Pali. They tried several quick counters on Beckie’s side, but she was ready to play. Eddy really came on strong in the second half. The Sounders were struggling to hold possession for any length of time. Opting for experience and fresh legs in the back, Morgan Johnson was replaced by Elizabeth Russell. That was helpful, but was barely enough. Russell was busy trying to contain Eddy, which opened up Sasha Andrews. Hinkle and Woeller were hard pressed to shut all of the threats down. Pali had at least six corners in the second half alone. Kudos to the Sounders for holding strong.
In an effort to have more offensive chances, Tafara Pulse was replaced by Genessee Daughetee, who played in the right wing spot. It did help on quick counters, but the play was still dominated by Pali. With about 10 minutes left in the match, Mercik was replaced by Jenna Peterson. It was time to bunker down and try to play for the point. Respectable, all things considered.
The final whistle blew after one minute of added time, and the Sounders remain atop the division. Pali is nipping at their heals. The Sounders will return home for a couple of days to recover before they head back out on the road to face the Colorado Rapids Women on June 14th and the Colorado Rush on the 16th. Pali comes to play at Starfire on June 23rd.