METUCHEN, NJ – It has been a long hard road for Unity FC. A road that became even more difficult to navigate with the incredulous reality that the sporting world had come to a complete halt due to a global pandemic. However, the perseverance of a group of young women along with the commitment of the organization to this group and the sport of women’s soccer, paid off as Unity FC showed its resolve in a 4-1 win against the Orlando FC Royals in a UWS-2 league match on Saturday night.
When the schedule makers pitted the two local clubs in an opening season derby, they did not anticipate that this would be the first women’s match in a national league to take place in 2020. The home side did not disappoint the fans in attendance, although most of the supporters were relegated to watching the match in the comforts of their own home.
“To get on the field tonight was a dream that these girls have had since last year. The players put in a lot of hard work and it showed that they are all a part of Unity and I am very proud of the effort. For me to be part of UWS-2 is something I never thought would happen and to be coaching at this level is very exciting. I love giving these girls the opportunity and I hope to see them go far”, stated Unity FC head coach Kristine Ford.
Yasmine Devalle (West Virginia Tech) put the home side in front in the 20’ as she slotted home a pass from Dayne Ford (Webber International). Ford made a dynamic run down the right flank exploding past a Royals defender and sliding the ball across the frame of goal where Devalle clinically finished past Royals keeper Kristal Garcia (Concord University). Unity FC would double its lead in the 40’ with a wonderful free kick from Racquel Standifer. Standifer blasted her free kick from 25 yards out and past the diving Garcia. Both teams headed into halftime with Unity up 2-0.
Feeling a sense of urgency to get back into the game, the Royals came out strong in the second half dominating play in the first 10 minutes of the second frame. The Royals received the break it needed when they were awarded a penalty kick in the 55’. The ensuing spot kick went awry for the visitors and seemed to have taken the wind out of the Royals’ sails. Alexa Torres (Northern Oklahoma) increased Unity’s lead to 3-0 after capitalizing on Standifer’s through ball.
Tia Wynn (Sunrise FC) would pull a goal back for the Royals in the 68’ but it proved to be a little too late for the road team. Kayla Doyle (Southern Wesleyan) capped the scoring for the evening with an assist from Megan Warner (Webber International) for the 4-1 final. Unity outshot the Royals by a 13-10 margin. Kristen Goergen (University of Colorado) made 6 saves for Unity while the tandem of Garcia and Joann Castillo stopped 7 for the Royals.
“Overall good game, played at a great facility,” stated Orlando FC Coach Marcus Phil Don. “Unity was the better team of the night and deserved the victory. They were a great host and we’re proud they joined us in the UWS league.”
In the second matchup of 2020, SportsParadize Soccer Academy will take on Unity FC on Saturday, June 27th at NE Regional Park (Davenport, Florida). More details to follow.