Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
It took 315 minutes across four games from Friday to Sunday, but Albuquerque-area soccer fans finally saw a home goal.
USL League Two Albuquerque Sol (0-2-1) lost 2-0 on Friday and 1-0 on Sunday, and USL Championship team New Mexico United was shut out Saturday.
But the expansion Women’s Premier League Soccer team Albuquerque FC (2-1-0) did what the men couldn’t: Score goals.
“We have some big-time players who can contribute,” Albuquerque FC head coach Pancho Macias said. “We have the firepower to really do some deadly things.”
UNM redshirt junior Gwen Maly’s dart in the 45th minute gave the home side a lead over visiting FC Tucson (1-1-1). Albuquerque native Calista Cordero added a second in the 82nd minute, tapping in off a spilled shot.
Rio Rancho native Brittney Harris rifled in a 40-yard free kick to close the scoring in stoppage time to cap the 3-0 triumph.
“We were definitely getting a lot of chances,” Maly said. “We have to work on our final ball. The final ball was lacking on a lot of them.”
Albuquerque goalie Katherine Robinson frustrated FC Tucson all match.
“Quality player, she kept us in the game,” Macias said. “Some of it was us giving the ball up in bad situations.”
The former La Cueva star was at full stretch in the 47th minute to tip a shot off the post and made a strong punch in the 59th minute. She snatched point-blank shots following FC Tucson corners in the 61st and 69th. A calamitous Albuquerque back pass sent Brianna Barreiro in on goal for the visitors but Robinson cut the angle and smothered the chance.
“I would like to be bored,” Robinson said. “We all communicate well in the back. We have a lot of Lobos at the back. That helps the chemistry.”
In the undercard, the Sol men struggled to pose much of an attacking threat.
Sol technical director Justin Sells said the Sol changed formations looking for ways to get numbers forward in the attack and extend pressure higher up the pitch.
“In this league, especially with this team, we aren’t going to create four to five chances; we have to stick them away,” Sells said. “We just have to be smart enough when they can get more forward going in to the attack. Some of the guys struggle with that.”
Sells is looking for more width in the final attack and maintain width to stretch defenses.
“Lot of times we don’t finish our attacks; we stagnate,” Sells said. “The best teams in the final third there’s a lot of interchange. Our tendency is to get narrow, everybody running centrally.”
Santa Fe native Logan Sullivan, a Yale sophomore, is in his first season with the Sol.
“We’ve lacked movement off the ball and that lets them keep their shape,” Sullivan said. “We could move the ball quicker and keep possession in the final third to open them up.”
On Sunday, the visiting Pride Switchbacks (2-1-0) eventually started controlling the flow after an even aggressive early tempo. Colorado pressed for the opening goal with halftime approaching. But poor deliveries and stingy defending from Sol defensive wall Alex Touche kept things on the same level. The Albuquerque Academy product was confident in every tackle and aerial battle for the Sol.
Colorado claimed the game’s only goal on the hour mark from a Linus Fallberg shot clipping the grass into the bottom corner. Touche’s stoppage time header glanced inches wide for the Sol’s last gasp.