The Blossoms had a consistent start to the season with a winning record tied for second place in the Red River Conference in the WPSL. Sunday night they faced a stalwart foe in the Texas Titans who persevered to hand the Blossoms only their third loss, despite the Blossoms maintaining the majority of possession.
The first half the Blossoms showed their strength in possession. Titans were barely able to make it out of their defensive end into their offensive third. Blossoms were taking shots but went wide or at the keeper. Finally, with seconds left in regulation, Becca Mays found the back of the net, putting them up 1-0. In stoppage time, the Titans came back to even the score on a corner kick, a loose ball in the area. The first half finished 1-1.
Second half kicked off with the Blossoms in attack mode. Shots continued to miss the target. Titans took advantage of the Blossoms having pushed numbers up on offense and caught them in a few one on one situations bearing down on goal. Several close calls happened. The defense should have been ready and made the adjustments. In one of these close defensive situations for the Blossoms, the Titans attacker was in the penalty area when the defender grabbed a handful of shirt causing her to fall down and earn a penalty kick. Attacks continued to come up empty for the Blossoms. In the 75th minute a wayward kick attempting to clear the ball went behind the defender. Because it was a deliberate kick, it kept the Titan forward onside alone with no defender in sight. She then drove at goalkeeper Mary Cardone to score. The Titans finished winning 3-1.
Having played a season together already, the players are meshing well: Naomi Powell, Becca Mays and Cristina Nunez. This trio has smart passing, finding the channels and players runs. The team had wonderfully composed passing out of the back field to the midfield and finding the wingers who crossed it in. This was their strength and also their weakness. They lacked some variety to the passing in the final third. The team needed to play simple passes on the ground where a player could tap it in versus trying to win a 50/50 ball then control it for a shot.
One of the shining stars on the Blossoms is number 14 Carissa Boeckmann. Boeckmann is not afraid to dribble at defenders, has good movement off the ball and a strong shot, will take a shot with only one or two touches and plays with a confidence that belies her age. Naomi Powell continues with her high work rate. She challenges everything in the center midfield. You can’t teach hustle.
The Blossoms next game is on June 23rd, 7 p.m. at Blossom Athletic Center.