Athenians succumb to Pumas’ second-half surge

All images: SA Athenians SC

Returning after a one-year hiatus on Sunday afternoon, San Antonio Athenians SC lost 5-1 to the visiting Pumas UNAM at Warrior Stadium in an international friendly.

The Athenians played one previous season in 2017, competing in the Women’s Premier Soccer League and hosting LIGA MX Femenil teams Pachuca and Tigres UANL in friendlies.

“The itch to compete has been driving me crazy,” said the Athenians’ Kelly Lochte upon being signed earlier this week. “You know I’m still about the family business (and) blessed beyond measure to be back with SAASC and all it encompasses.”

The first half yielded no goals despite attacking efforts from both sides. The Athenians were more aggressive, especially in the beginning, but Pumas did well in the final third to get more dangerous chances.

Perhaps the best opportunity for a goal came in the 33rd minute as Pumas got in on goal and earned a corner. Athenians’ goalkeeper Gaby Lopez came out to claim the ball but spilled it, though her defense was able to get it away.

It took less than a minute for Pumas to open the scoring in the second half though. Getting forward, Daniela Sanchez placed a shot into the top right corner to get the visitors on the board.

Pumas doubled their lead in similar fashion four minutes later as Ricla Rajunov Kun placed an arcing shot into the top right corner to double the lead. While it turned out to be the winning goal, Pumas were nowhere near finished.

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The visitors added a third goal in the 57th minute as they slashed through the Athenians defense, and Dana Paola Asain tapped in a ball across goal from Natalia Macias.

The Athenians got their first and only goal in the 63rd minute off a corner kick. Maggie Miller poked the ball home as it dropped in the box after Kelsey Kruger played it in, giving the hosts and their fans something to cheer about.

Both sides continued creating chances but lacked a finishing touch again until the 79th minute when Pumas re-established their three-goal lead. A shot bounced back off the crossbar and fell in the box for Sanchez, whose shot was tame but too much for the Athenians goalkeeper as she could only grab it after it went over the line.

The final blow came in the 84th minute as a scramble in the box ended with Macias poking the ball in to give the visitors a commanding 5-1 victory.

Nobody likes to lose 5-1, but the Athenians are likely just happy to be back and preparing for their 2019 season in a couple months, this time competing in the United Women’s Soccer league.

“I’m so glad the Athenian family is back together,” Miller said earlier this week. “I can’t wait to step on the field with my girls again!”

 

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