The Pali Blues returned from their two-game road trip to Colorado the same way they left – undefeated.
Pali edged the Colorado Rapids 2-1 on Friday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and returned on Sunday morning to defeat the Rush 3-0.
Pali head coach Charlie Naimo said the weather conditions made for a challenging game against the Rapids.
“It was so windy,” said Pali head coach Charlie Naimo. “It was really difficult to play – extremely difficult to play. But, we weathered the storm.”
Pali forward Lynn Williams scored both of the goals against the Rapids. Sarah Huffman had the assist on the first goal in the 26th minute, while Liz Bogus assisted Williams in the 53rd minute.
The Rapids made it a game in the 71st minute with a goal from Erin Gunther.
Naimo said his team missed an opportunity to score and instead of going up 3-0, they gave up a goal.
“We didn’t finish and allowed them to play us a little bit,” Naimo said. “With the wind in our face, the game got interesting and to the Colorado Rapids’ credit, they pressed us and they got one. “
The game against the Rush resulted in a score more to Naimo’s liking, but he said the performance was lacking energy and movement.
“We did not play well – we played good enough,” Naimo said. “It just wasn’t there, and maybe it was the altitude and the wind itself, the weather.”
Nikki Washington, Liz Bogus, and Danielle Hubka scored goals for Pali, who out-shot the Rush 14 to 5.
Pali has now won seven-straight games and sits at the top of the Western Conference standings. The Blues are 8 points ahead of the second place Seattle Sounders, who will be Pali’s next opponent when they meet in Seattle on June 20.
Whether or not the Sounders will be fortified with their national team players remains to be seen. Naimo said his team will be ready either way.
“I hope they play, it will be a tremendous challenge for us,” Naimo said. “We want to play against the best team available. Whether they’re there or not, we’re going to show up and we’re ready to play. You’ve got to prepare for the best and we’re preparing for a team that’s going to have Alex (Morgan), (Megan) Rapinoe, Syd (Leroux), and Hope (Solo) – we’re preparing for that.”
And before you start thinking that Pali might just be the W-League team to beat – hold on. Naimo said there’s still work to do.
“You’re always beatable – it’s a game of inches,” Naimo said. “If you don’t finish your chances you can outshoot a team 20 to 4 and lose. I don’t think that any team in this league or any team in North America can outplay us right now. That doesn’t mean that I think we can win all the time. We’ve got to think sharp, we’ve got to do the right things, we have to defend well. And, we have to finish our chances. That’s what it’s all about. You can’t just be better at possession -you have to be good at the back and create chances and finish them. That’s the game.”