RSL Women kick off ‘dedication to each other’ with 1-1 Texas trip

June 5th, 2015 | by Shawn Blymiller

RSLWomenHouston

Real Salt Lake Women started their 2015 campaign by traveling to Houston to play two Texas professional sides in their first road test of the season.

They lost 2-1 to the Houston Aces, with a goal by Kira Sharp off an assist by Annie Hawkins for RSL Women.

RSL Women then took on the Texas Titans on May 31. They were victorious in this outing with a final score of 2-­1. The first goal scored by Sharp, assisted by Hawkins. The second goal was scored by Jessica Lynn Vander Veur, assisted by Colette Smith.

I sat down with RSL Women’s assistant coach Mark Davis to talk about the Texas road trip.

Blymiller: Tell us about your overall thoughts on the weekend.

Davis: “I was pleased. I thought that the girls played really well. We defended with a purpose, attacked with a purpose. The first game we came out flat against the Houston Aces. In the first 20 minutes of the match, we got a goal against the run of play and went up 1-nil, and I thought that we played it really well. We ended up conceding goals in the 70th and 74th minute, back to back. One was a set piece. The other one was just a nice rip from about 25 yards out.

“The second game we dominated the entire time. We gave up a goal when we were lax. But I am really pleased with the girls”

SB: Kira Sharp scored in both games. How was her performance?

MD: “I subbed Kira Sharp in the first half and her first touch was a goal. I was really pleased with her. She came in and played the number 8 spot extremely well, linked the forwards up with the midfield in the 4-­3-­3. Which is super important.

“The second game was a very similar goal. She started the match and scored the goal in the fifth minute of the match. She just played really well. She was on it the entire match.”

SB: Are there any other players that stood out over the first weekend?

MD: “Jenny Chiu from North Carolina, I thought, was phenomenal the first game. Against the Houston Aces, she was taking players on, she was tracking back. She created loads and loads of opportunities in the offensive third. It is nice to have a player like her. She played on the U-17 national team for Mexico, and plays with North Carolina. She was very, very good. She was really the X-factor in getting forward.

“You got to talk about Alisa Lowry Christensen and Roxy Tebbs, who were phenomenal in the back as well. They maintained possession, they never let anyone behind, super smart, super disciplined.”

I then talked with goal-scoring machine Kira Sharp about her strong weekend effort.

SB: Take us through both goals that you scored this weekend.

Kira Sharp: “My goal in the first game was my first touch of the game. It just so happened that right when I subbed in the timing was perfect to have Annie slip me a through ball that put me 1-vs.-1 with the goalie. I just chipped it up over the goalie.

“The second goal in the second game was very similar. I started this game and scored in the fifth minute. Annie sent me another through ball this time on the ground, setting me up 1-v-1 with the keeper again. Finishing the ball on the ground just passed the goalie.

SB: How were you able to find that success?

KS: “I think we played great as a team. Annie said to me in the first game that it feels like 2012 all over again. (We made it to the final four that year). Annie and I were leaders in goals and assists, which most of our goals were from each other. I thought the same thing after that first goal in Houston. We just flow together well. We think alike as players and I think that’s why we have the chemistry we do on the field. I like to call us the 1-2 punch.”

Head coach Jeff Ginn is the assistant coach for the Real Monarchs. He fosters a lot of the same type of style of play with the 4­-3­-3 and a possession-oriented play with the RSL Women.

RSL Women play at home on June 19th against the Dallas United Aces, and June 21st against the Fort Worth Panthers, both games on their home field at the University of Utah.

The next road game is in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 12against the Tulsa Spirit, and June 14th against Oklahoma FC.

Shawn Blymiller

Shawn Blymiller

I was a guest host on a weekly podcast called "The Jockularity Show" in preparation of the World Cup. It was there that Rick Aaron from Channel 4 News coined me a "Soccer Geek". I played 2 seasons in the Premier Developmental League, 1 year with BYU and 1 year with the Ogden Outlaws. I also played soccer in college and was named to the All-conference teams. Soccer is my passion, it is in my makeup and in my DNA. I am staying involved with the beautiful game as much as I possibly can. I have done the play by play and the color commentating for games in the PDL, and the Western Athletic Conference for UVU. Follow my posts about RSL, RSL Women, Real Monarchs, UVU Soccer, BYU Soccer, and just about everything else in the footballing world. #COYG Arsenal!
Shawn Blymiller

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