WPSL Central: Regional Finals Review

How it works:

At this stage, the Conference winners face each other in a central location of Wauwatosa, WI. For more on how the Conferences were won, see here


Colorado Rapids Women (Mountain) 1-0 KC Courage (Heartland)

Last year’s national runner-up faced a club returning to WPSL after a spell in UWS. Rahael Akaety made the first notable contribution to the game, curling a shot wide from the right for Courage in the second minute. Annest hit a Rapids free kick up and over from the top of the penalty arc a minute later. The Rapids goalkeeper took a big risk in coming out of her area for a ball, but Courage were unable to capitalize on her being out of position. Rapids were hitting hard and fast, whereas Courage were choosing to build up more methodically. Slowly, Rapids moved into a position of strength for ten minutes but could not capitalize, with the best chance coming about when the ball pinballed around the six yard box but ended up with the keeper. In the thirty-third minute, a Rapids player went down in the area after a strong slide tackle, but a corner was given. A minute later, Glover countered but her shot was saved well by the sliding feet of the Courage keeper rushing out. The half ended with a Courage attacker seemingly shouldered off the ball in the area, but the referee gave a goalkick.

There was a frantic start to the second half. Courage with a free kick on the left side, 20 yards out on the left. The ball drifts into the box but no shot on goal. Courage with a spell of pressure for ten minutes. Rapids’ Silverman on the counter, closed down. In the last five minutes, Rapids upped the pressure and had a great chance on goal in the eighty-fourth minute but the Rapids free kick drifts harmlessly past a sliding attacker.

In the ninety-seventh minute, there was a heavy collision between the Rapids goalie and an onrushing Courage attacker. Both are ok, but there was no goal. In the one-hundred and first minute, Silverman is taken down in the box but only a Rapids corner was called. The deciding goal came in the one-hundred and twelfth minute, when a corner was whipped into the near post from the left wing and Marie Annest leapt up and header the ball past the hands of the keeper in the aerial challenge.

FC Milwaukee Torrent (Midwest) 0-0 AET (6-7 on PKs) Salvo Soccer Club (North)

Torrent were knocked out in the Divisional Round last year, whereas Salvo were beaten in the Regional Semis.

Salvo dominated the first half, with Mikki Easter providing several highlight reel saves from Khyah Harper in particular. Sophia Boman hammered a long ball towards goal in first half stoppage time but again Easter was equal to it. The hosts only had a handful of chances in the first half.

Salvo finally got the ball in the net in the fiftieth minute, but it was ruled offside. Torrent finally got some purchase in the game, and had a chance in the center of the box in the fifty-third minute. In the fifty-seventh minute, Maddy Celerek took a ball to the chest but almost immediately was down the other end with a shot on goal. Salvo’s best chance came in the sixty-sixth minute, when Harper twisted and turned her defender but the shot was saved. Two minutes later, Alexa Maletis ran in on a recycled ball from a Torrent corner but skews her shot wide from the edge of the area. In the seventy-seventh minute, Leyla Kelbel of Torrent passed directly to Harper but Torrent escape. Both teams had chances before Torrent finished regulation on top, pressing for a last minute steal of a win. Instead, it went to Extra Time. In the first half of Extra Time, the pattern was the same and Harper remained a threat to the Torrent defense but was unable to break through. In the second half of ET, play understandably got scrappy and Salvo had a chance right across the six yard box but no one was around to finish it.

In the end, it took sudden death penalties in a shootout to separate the two sides. Ayden Gagner with a save for Salvo and a subsequent winner by Bella Meier.


Colorado Rapids Women 0-2 Salvo SC

In a relatively even game, Khyah Harper broke through for Salvo in the 61st minute, something she unaccountably failed to do the previous day, with an assist from Meredith Haakenson, blasting home from twenty yards out, having dribbled into position. The same combination also accounted for the second goal, Harper hammering a ball past the keeper into the far side of the net from the right only five minutes later.

Salvo move on to represent the Central in the WPSL National Semifinals in Stillwater, OK on Saturday.

Stay tuned for our coverage of that event.