Pacific Palisades, Calif. – The Pali Blues closed out the regular W-League season with a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders at on Sunday afternoon at Palisades High School. Playing for the first time since June 20th, Liz Bogus entered the match in the 64th minute and scored just six minutes after later. The Blues and Seattle will meet again in exactly one week to play for the Western Conference Championship and semifinal berth in Ottawa, Ontario.
The match started out with both teams trying to find their rhythm. Pali had to shots in the first ten minutes, but neither too dangerous. By the 20th minute, the Blues seemed to find their rhythm and they began to bombard the goal, outshooting Seattle 19-8.
In the 18th minute, Lynn Williams had the first dangerous look of the game when she made a run down the right side of the field and took a shot that was headed for the back of the net. However, Seattle goalkeeper Megan Kufeld got a hand on the ball to deflect it away.
The Blues almost took the lead again in the 30th minute when Sarah Huffman took a cross that found Sasha Andrews. Her header was on target, but Kufeld tipped the ball with her fingertips and forced it to bounce of the crossbar.
Just three minutes later, the Blues were at it again. Servet Uzunlar was fouled and the referee award Pali a free kick. Michelle Pao found Mariah Nogueira who headed it towards the goal, but was stopped. Huffman went sliding into the ball to try and knock it in, but a defender came up big to send the ball the other way at the goal line.
In the second half, the Sounders tested Blues goalkeeper Ana Picarelli with a tricky shot that bounced off the goalkeeper’s arms. She was able to pounce it before Seattle capitalized on the rebound.
The Blues created arguably their best chance of the game in the 62nd minute when Ann Tangorra fed Uzunlar through with a heel pass into the penalty area. Once again, Kufeld made a big save to keep the game scoreless.
Eight minutes after that, the Blues finally scored the game-winner when Elizabeth Eddy played a low cross into the penalty area where Bogus simply knocked it in with the inside of her right foot.
“It felt great to play in a game again today,” Bogus said. “I’m very happy we got the win and I’m just glad I could come on the field and help the team. Now it’s time to re-focus and look forward to our playoff game next weekend.”
The Blues had a few chances to score a second goal in the final minutes of the match, but none of them were converted and the final score was 1-0 in their favor.
Pali will host the Sounders next in the Western Conference Championship at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m. PT. The winner will move on to the semifinals in Ottawa, Ontario. For tickets, visit ticketfly.com or call 714-738-8011.