The LA Strikers featured in their second preseason game on Sunday, a friendly 2-0 loss against the San Diego Sea Lions.
The Strikers got off to a shaky start, with the Sea Lions dominating possession and having a couple of strong chances on goal in the first 6 minutes. However, as the first half went on, the Strikers brought it together, due in large part to the play of midfielders Ann-Marie Tangorra and Laura Stockdale. Tangorra had a strong chance that hit the post in the tenth minute, and forward Kristy Moore had a few shots on goal as well. The Sea Lions scored their first in the 32nd minute, and had two more chances in the couple of minutes after that. They also had a goal called offside in the 42nd.
The second half featured much stronger play from the Strikers. From the beginning of the half, the team played with urgency and more fluidity than the first half. Midfielder Victoria Boardman came off at the half with what seemed to be a knock to the left foot or ankle. Laura Stockdale had two strong chances from free kicks in the 50th minute – the first was bent in almost perfectly, before it hit the bar. The second was given due to a deflection, and again, unfortunately, hit the bar. The strikers continued to press in the second half, and had a few more chances until the Sea Lions got their second off an unlucky chip over the players in the 83rd.
Despite the loss, Head Coach Tracey Kevins was all smiles after the match. "It’s odd that I am smiling, but I’m so proud. You can see how they’re coming along, and I can see where we are going with the team," she said after the match. Kevins was happy with the development of the squad so far, and is looking forward to the tweaks and changes that lay ahead of the team’s season opener on May 18th. "I remember a season I coached where we lost every preseason match, yet once the season started, we went on a great run. We got all the kinks out in those preseason games, so I am not worried." Kevins also reiterated the fact that of the 14 players who took the field for the Strikers yesterday, only three played for the team last season.
GM Vanessa Valentine shared the same sentiments post-match. When asked about squad roster and numbers, both Kevins and Valentine mentioned that about 14 college players would be joining the team this week. With that group of players coming in to battle for spots, they look to have about 25-30 players on the roster. When asked about the current players, and how many of them have secured a spot on the team, Kevins said "The current players have to fight to keep their spots at this point." The squad is far from completed, and we should see many additions and changes in the following weeks.
I was quite impressed with the Strikers’ play, especially in the second half. Their lack of time playing together showed in the first half. The team seemed a little disjointed, especially in terms of the midfield connecting with the forwards. There was very little fluid play through the midfield. However, they really connected well in the second half to create some strong chances. Additionally, I was very impressed with the defensive play. Despite giving up two goals, the defense was really strong and very eager to go after every ball. They were a cohesive unit, and provided strong coverage for each other. They were unlucky to concede the two goals they did. As preseason goes on, I would like to see them play the ball more through the midfield. Ann-Marie Tangorra was the obvious link in the midfield, as she was very active in getting involved in all play. She impressed me with her eagerness to get forward, but also her commitment to get back and help defend.
The team has two more preseason friendlies before their league opener on May 18th against Pali Blues. They play a match this Sunday, May 5th against and another match the following weekend against Ajax.
Keep reading The Goat Parade for more updates on the LA Strikers!
Strikers Lineup: Rachel Foreman; Shanna Hudson (c), Jamie Bell, Sydney Vermillion, Snez Jeljanovska; Laura Stockdale, Victoria Boardman, Ann-Marie Tangorra; Kimberly Allard, Tanya Samarzich, Kristy Moore
Subs: Kristy Krohn (30’ – Tangorra), Tangorra (HT – Boardman), Nicole Joregensen (HT – Foreman)