Oakland Soul rout Olympic Club 6-1

It was another blowout win for Oakland Soul, this time beating Olympic Club 6-1 at USF’s Negoesco Stadium on Wednesday. It marked Soul’s second-consecutive five-goal win after beat Pleasanton RAGE 5-nil last Sunday.

Oakland exploded a 2-1 lead to 5-1 by halftime against Olympic Club with three goals in as many minutes by Lizzie Vranesh in the 27th, Miranda Nild the next minute, and Sam Tran in the 29th.

The match waged on 5-1 until the close seconds, where Isabella Flocchini added the sixth goal. With just one second-half goal, Clinton admits they wanted to score over eight versus OC, but reminds its not a reason for disappointment.

“I thought the offensive production in the first half was really great. The last goal we scored in the last 30 seconds of the game is what we’ve been trying to get them to do the entire game. We want them to switch the point and read it. There were moments where it reminded me of the last game [against Pleasanton] where we were silly. We’re asking some players to play in a style they aren’t used to given its not what they do at their clubs or colleges. So we’re asking them to be confident on the ball, especially our backs, and inviting pressure. Because that’s something typically not a part of the women’s game. From an offensive standpoint, six goals is great. We wanted to get past eight,” said coach Jessica Clinton regarding the result.

Oakland now has two matches left in its season at 8-0-2, traveling to Marin Siren in San Rafael on June 25 and hosting SF Glens on July 2. With the playoffs quickly approaching on July 6, Clinton wants the team to continue to work on its decisiveness and problem-solving in certain situations.

“I want to see the players think more. Like when an opponent does something, how do we manage it and how do we solve it. That will be the same mentality we go in with against Marin and Glens. At this point, we’re not going to overly change or overhaul anything. It’s just going to be a rotation of who is available. But when we’re in playoff contention, we’ll know what we need going into the Sunday against the Glens,” said Clinton.

Soul wasted no time, scoring the opening goal in the second minute of action After Kaytlin Brinkman dribbled the ball down by the end line on the left side of goal, sending a cross to the far post. Olympic Club’s keeper dove for the ball and get her hands on it, but she lost possession when falling to the ground. Miranda Nild was there for the opportune tap-in.

Oakland struck again when Nayeli Diaz broke through in the 13th minute on some terrific interplay in transition. In the buildup, Sam Tran nutmegged a defender on a slick pass to Nild on the right side of the penalty area. Miranda sent a cross back toward the center of the box to Diaz for the first-touch shot into the net.

Olympic Club scored in the 24th on some miscommunication between goal keeper Layla Armas and her teammate, resulting in the ball holding up a few feet in front of Armas. The OC forward was able to poke the ball past Soul’s goal keeper for the goal.

It required Soul barely any time to not only answer, but put an exclamation point on the first half. Lizzie Vranesh, who just graduated from Carondelet, scored one of the more impressive goals from the entire season on a long-arching shot from a few yards outside the upper right side of the penalty area in the 27th minute.

The very next minute, Nild scored on a rocket from atop the penalty area. She aimed her shot above the keeper but it was too hard to stop, hitting off of her hands and into the net.

Then in the 29th, Tran also took a shot from atop the penalty area, but used finesse to curl the ball into net–giving the keeper no chance.

From there, nothing was overtly challenging for either side. Oakland wouldn’t score again until the first minute of second-half stoppage time when Isabella Flocchini scored on a rebound off of the post.

Clinton thinks Olympic Club showed some good adjustments in the second half.

“Olympic Club did a great job of managing the second half. They also changed their goal keeper, so the three or four shots we hammered at her maybe go in during the first half. She made some really good saves. I don’t think our firepower as any different, but Olympic Club came out differently in the second half and did well. We had to problem-solve differently. But at the end of the day, the offensive power is an important piece of what we’re trying to do with goal differential. We’re trying to put ourselves in a good position, and we’re doing that; six goals is still a lot,” said Clinton.

In the second half, Zoe Franks nearly fed Nild for a score in the 56th, but the two couldn’t connect. Diaz then had a nice pass to Tran for a shot on target in the 59th, but it was easily handled. Tran also had good opportunities for goals in transition in the 63rd and 84th. Nild had a hard shot attempt nearly go through the keepers’ legs in the 80th.

Armas wasn’t called on much throughout the evening, but made a critical 1-on-1 stop to prevent a breakaway goal in the 72nd.

Oakland now travels to San Rafael HS to face Marin Siren this Sunday before the season-finale at Merritt against SF Glens. The Glens will notably face Cal Storm for the second time this Sunday as well.

Game Notes

Credit: Oakland Soul SC
  • Jessica’s thoughts on the W League structure.

In the previous game’s writeup, I mentioned that the USL W League needs to consider revising its rules to make it so there isn’t an incentive for teams to run up the score similar to Cal Storm’s 8-0 win over Pleasanton and 10-0 win Olympic Club. I wrote that if the W League truly considers itself “pre-professional” and “developmental,” they need to find a way to thwart teams like SF Glens and Storm from destroying weaker club programs.

Unless Oakland can totally obliterate Marin, Soul will finish third in the Nor Cal Division. And that is something coach Clinton is fine with given Glens are +33 in goal differential and Storm is +29. She offered her thoughts on the matter:

“My moral dilemma is I don’t want blowouts in our Nor Cal Division because I think its bad for the league. I know what Olympic Club is trying to do from a club organization is very different than what Roots and Soul are trying to do, which is also different than what Cal Storm is trying to do. We’re all trying to manage what our organizations want to be in the next few years, but I don’t think a 10-0 blowout is good for a team when it comes to recruiting. I don’t think its good when it comes to the press you receive.

“For Year 1 of the Nor Cal Division, it’s not a great look. As you move forward, the professional realm is totally different when you have contracts and bonuses for players based on goals or other incentives. But in Year 1 of the Womens League trying to kick off, we’re trying to get the best group of youth, college, and pre-professional players. With what Soul wants right now and the W League, I don’t know if its helpful when there are 10-0 games. How does that help teams like Olympic Club? Academica have youth players, how is that good for the teenagers they have on the field? What does it do for them?

“We were talking about it in the office, what is the moral and ethical dilemma? If we lose out on goal differential–and we don’t want to–but if one team is beating teams 10-0 and that’s what you lose out on, then fine. You have to take it for what it is, its the way the league separates us right now. And I get it, there has to be something that separates teams in the standings,” she said.

  • A win over Marin pretty much clinches a playoff berth.

Looking at the Northwest Division for the final Wild Card spot for the Nor Cal Division, United PDX holds a 4-2-1 record with three matches left against teams they’ve beat handily–so they will likely finish 7-2-1 with a Points Per Match of 2.20.

Without any letdowns against Marin, Oakland will walk out 9-0-2 and into a difficult match against SF Glens. Finishing at 9-0-3 will give Oakland a 2.25 PPM average and a final playoff spot.

  • It’s ridiculous players like Sam and Miranda aren’t getting paid at the pro level.

We named Sam Tran and Miranda Nild our join Player of the Match recipients for scoring goals and frequently being a nuisance to Olympic Club. You can see how their wit, agility, and footwork stand apart from the majority of the Nor Cal Division. If it shows anything, it’s just how far the women’s game has to go.

“I would love for Sam to be a professional, but does she wants to? Miranda is coming down from being a professional and I’d for her to still be one. And then there’s a group of players who still want to go pro. I think its great all around to have this system right now for what we need. We know this will still exist moving forward [when Soul gets to Super League], it will just be a tiered system, including having Bay FC in the area. So, where does USL Super League fit in?… I think its fantastic, if we can keep the best here, then we get stronger as a football country.”

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