Friday, November 20, 2009

Youth: Linkfield gives RSL girls opening victory

LAND O’ LAKES – Thea Linkfield scored in the 84th minute to give RSL Florida’s girls under-17 side a 2-1 victory against Princeton in its opening game of the United Soccer League’s Super-Y North American Finals at the Land O’ Lakes Recreation Center on Friday afternoon.

After numerous missed chances to take the lead in the second half, Linkfield latched onto a pass by Colleen Lynch, and then drove a low shot into the right corner of the net to put RSL ahead. The victory, though, was almost grabbed away in the final minute, when RSL goalkeeper Brittany Bennett was unable to hold a shot by Princeton's Emma Carp, and Amanda Redding put home the rebound. But Redding was ruled to be offside when Carp’s shot was taken, wiping out the goal and preserving a vital three points for RSL.

RSL had taken the lead in the 25th minute, Linkfield finding Jessica Giblin, who sent a through-ball to Connor Zwetsch, who broke through the Princeton defense and shot home from 15 yards out. Princeton hit back from the penalty spot five minutes later, though, Capr shooting low to the right to tie the game.

RSL then had a pair of chances before halftime to take the lead, but Giblin and Amy Werdine were both denied. Werdine then shot wide in the second half before Nicci Carter and Linkfield had opportunities saved and Giblin shot wide after beating Princeton’s offside trap.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic, though, as Bennett made a pair of good saves to keep the game tied before Linkfield’s winner.

RSL will face West Michigan Fire Juniors, which defeated the MPS Renegades 5-3 in their opening game, on Saturday afternoon. Victory there would put RSL in a strong position to make Monday’s semifinals.

“The game tomorrow is probably the deciding factor in who goes out of our group,” RSL coach Jim Cote said. “Overall, it was a good performance by Connor (Zwetsch), Amy Werdine was good, and our goalkeeper played well at the end when we needed a couple of saves.”

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