Hello and welcome to the blog’s live coverage of Oakland Soul squaring off with San Francisco Glens for the regular season finale at Merritt College. It all comes down to this, where Soul require at least a draw to clinch its way to the USL W League postseason.
Oakland enters the match in second-place of the Nor Cal Division with 27 points, but Cal Storm is narrowly behind with 25 points and face Stockton Cargo today. If Oakland draws and Storm wins, they will go equal points with Soul at 28 but overtakes Oakland by goal differential. A win keeps Oakland in second regardless of Storm’s results.
If Soul draws to finish third in the Nor Cal Division, they will clinch a Wild Card berth above United PDX of the Northwest Division by way of Points Per Match at 2.33 to United’s 2.30. Oakland would likely face Oly Town of Olympia, Washington with a wild card seeding.
It is currently unclear how the postseason will play out for the Western Conference teams in the Nor Cal and Northwest Divisions. Teams must apply to host and the league wants to regionalize matches. This could mean the No. 1 and 2 seeds from the Nor Cal face each other in the first round, while the third seed goes away to Oly Town–or the two agree to a neutral location.
Regardless, all this means for Oakland is a win puts them in.
Player of the Match – Manaka Hayashi
This goes without saying. She saved the season as a second half sub with two amazing goals, while she was there to clean up the third. Her inclusion at halftime changed the game, becoming noticably better in the latter 45 minutes.
The Japanese national has been impressive with her seldom appearances for Soul, showing she’s a controlling presence in the midfield–moving the ball in transition with ease. The club now has two hat trick scorers in its short history witb Hayashi alongside Sam Tran.
She’ll start her collegiate career at Santa Clara in 2024. Yamamoto found an amazing player.
Rematch between Glens and Soul, Friday at 12:30
The Conference Semifinals rematch between SF Glens and Oakland Soul is at a laughable 12:30 p.m. on Friday, a typical workday for Oakland Soul fans, and more importantly, Soul’s players. This means over-23 players with careers to manage, like Miranda Nild, Sam Tran and Kaytlin Brinkman, are unlikely to play unless their jobs can re-arrange things on short notice–which I’m inclined to think isn’t a high likelihood.
All is fair in war, I guess, because one has to think this is strategic planning by the Glens coming off a 3-1 loss. They know Oakland won’t have several players available and will have to rearrange things for their earliest kickoff of the entire season. Being salty after a loss is one thing, but this is downright petty.
It’s smart planning by the Glens’ staff. But from a competitive standpoint, it’s a weak move. It’s clear San Francisco is trying to find the easy route. Shame on you, San Francisco Glens.
Shame on the league as well for permitting a 12:30 p.m. kickoff. Oakland Soul provides one of the W League’s best home/away attendants for its matches. If the W League wanted the best product on the field to promote its brand, they would make sure a kickoff time was suitable for both team’s best players and made sure a playoff match had an actual attendance.
…. And, somehow, the Storm get a home game as the No. 4 seeded team. Reading between the lines, this either means Western Conference No. 1 seed Oly Town declined to apply for a home game or they accepted an offer to be flown out from Olympia..
- What a second-half performance. Oakland was struggling to find consistency in the first half with a lot of long balls and passes through the middle that were being cleaned up by Glens’ back line. San Francisco was showing a possessive style in the first 45 minutes, where it almost looked like the roles flip-flopped in the second. Soul looked visibly better. They moved in transition with ease and quickly began making chances. It was a great performance in the most critical of situations–that’s what you want to see out of a team.
- Soul ends the match with the third seed in the Western Conference. The Nor Cal and the Northwestern Conference now merge for the Western Conference playoffs with seeding worked out by Points Per Match. Oly Town is No. 1 with a 2.60 PPM, Glens have 2.58, Soul is third at 2.50, while Storm gest a Wild Card berth at 2.33. The Conference Semifinals are set with a rematch between Soul and Glens on Friday, July 7 at Skyline College in San Bruno with a mid-day kickoff at 12:30 p.m…. A work day.
- Captain Henar Urteaga was a real difference-maker. She usually lines up at center back but moved up into the midfield more prominently today and it seemed to make a huge impact. Moving Urteaga higher up the field enabled her more as a playmaker, while making her a facilitating presence to thwart Glens in the center of the field. It’s clear to see why she wore the captain’s armband today.
- Sydney Shepherd, a former Michigan Wolverine, was another critical piece of the second-half. Her strong play at center back allowed Urteaga to move into the midfield effectively. She was a huge part of the win.
- Oakland Soul Starting 11
Soul will be playing without Miranda Nild and Sam Tran, instead with Kaytlin Brinkman and Ceci Gee leading the attack. Flocchini starts in the CAM role in place of Nayeli Diaz, who is back with the Tennessee Volunteers. Jaida Nyby on the left with Sarah Mirr on the right. Urteaga back at CB, she’s a big part of the operation.
- SF Glens
GAMETIME! Can Oakland Soul avenge its 3-0 loss to Glens? A win puts Oakland in, let’s see if they can get it done. Refresh for all of the latest updates.
Soul free kick – 2′
Urteaga ball in goes out the back.
Glens near goal – 8′
Save from Armas pushes it onto the post. Clean up rings off of the crossbar and back into play. No goal!
Glens shot wide but stlaved by Armas- 11′
Soul corner – 17′
Leads to Glens counter attack.
Glens goal – 21′
Ball gets by the back line, SF slots it home.
Glens shot on target – 24′
Hydration break- 25′
Need something. A lot of long balls that have been cleaned up.
Brinkman steal in Glens box, she takes a shot that was saved. Think it was more of a pass to Ceci – 32′
Glens free kick a couple of feet above the area – 36′
Ball goes off the wall.
Armas nabs a ball that was going wide – 42′
First half notes:
Soul trying to long ball through Glens’ press, making it difficult to get shooting opportunities. Brinkman has had a couple of looks but nothing clear. Glens moving the ball really well with long balls down the wings.
Hayashi GOLAZO – 50′
HAYASHI GOLAZO!!!! Soul pressing in their area, a blocked shot ricochets back to her and she sends a ROCKET into the net from outside the area. Santa Clara is getting a good one.
Schinaman shot high – 59′
Schinaman shot trails over – 63′
Cross targets Nyby, cant make contact – 64′
HAYASHI OH MY GOD – 65′
Two touches to the right and wraps a right-footed curler into the net. Oh my.
Hydration break – 70′
Soul looking amazing this half. 20 mins left, what’s the approach.
SF corner – 73′
SF free kick – 77′
A foot above the area. Easy savr by Armas.
HAYASHI HAT TRICK – 82′
SF corner – 90+1