Oklahoma City just misses berth in WPSL championship game

Edmond – Oklahoma City FC fell just short, suffering a 3-2 reversal to a tough Chicago Red Stars Reserve side, on Saturday afternoon at Thompson Field on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma. The two Women’s Premier Soccer League teams met with a berth in the WPSL Championship on the line, with OKC lacking the last push necessary to secure a spot in the final.

The Red Stars seized the initiative almost immediately from the outset as they drew first blood in just the eighth minute of action. A nifty chipped pass sent Mary Luba down the left wing with plenty of space to send in a curling cross. Although it went over the head of the near post run, it was perfectly met by the head of Ashley Handwork for a lightning-fast 1-0 lead.

Oklahoma City would not be deterred despite the early goal, slowly working their way back into the game, though none of their shots found the target. Following a solid bit of pressure, disaster struck for the home side again as Chicago sprang a counter attack that gave substitute forward Giuleana Lopez space to roam. Lopez made no mistake at the top of the box, hitting a beautiful, curling shot on a postage stamp in the top right corner of OKC’s goal in the 36th minute for a 2-0 lead.

They say a team is most vulnerable after they score, and that almost held true as the Oklahoma-based side almost drew one back immediately after the restart, only to see the effort dragged just right of the goal. Halftime beckoned with Oklahoma City staring down a two-goal deficit.

After the restart, Oklahoma City adopted a high-pressure style of play that began forcing the steady Red Stars into a number of turnovers in their own defensive third. Unfortunately, OKC’s questions were only answered with riddles and there were no goals to show for their hard work. That would soon change, however, as the teams combined for an action-packed finish.

The Scissortails finally found the remedy for their bad luck as Edmond-native Allison Worsham saw her shot ping off the left post and in to reduce the lead to 2-1 with just over 12 minutes left in the contest. Not nine minutes later, in the 87th minute, Luba was back to her marauding ways on the left flank, hitting a right-footed shot that nestled into OKC’s goal to restore the two-goal advantage.

Luba’s goal proved the dagger, though Yolanda Thomas made sure Oklahoma City FC went down swinging, slotting a low shot through the Red Stars keeper’s legs in the 89th minute to make it a 3-2 score line. With the game entertaining five minutes of stoppage time, OKC enjoyed the lion’s share of possession to close out the game.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time, it seemed they had found the long hoped for equaliser when they received a free kick 30 yards out. A perfectly taken free kick was met with an even better save. It would prove to be the last chance of the game as Oklahoma City crashed out as a result of the 3-2 decision.

With the victory, Chicago has earned the right to compete for the WPSL Championship tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. against SoCal FC at Thompson Field. SoCal won in the second contest of the day via a 3-0 decision over the Boston Breakers Reserves with goals from Michelle Enyeart, Kodi Lavrusky and Darian Jenkins.