By Steve Hunt, special contributor for USYouthSoccer.org
After falling 1-0 on Friday night in a tough match to the Dallas Texans 93G Red, the SoCal Blues-Dodge rebounded to win their next two matches in impressive fashion. The Blues completed their weekend of play on Sunday morning in the Under-15 Girls division of the U.S. Youth Soccer National League with a solid 2-0 win over Eclipse Select at the Ross Stewart Soccer Complex in suburban Dallas.
After the match was scoreless at halftime, the Blues erupted about 15 minutes into the second frame. In the 54th minute, Kaylie Davidson scored her second goal to put her side up 1-0.
Just two minutes later, Natalie Werner made it 2-0 when he shot one into the back of an empty net. Lauren Bohaboy, who had a goal in the Blues' 2-1 win over Sting Dallas Royal 93 on Saturday, a win that clinched a spot at nationals, spotted her teammate with some room to operate and sent a great ball her way.
Warner then drew the Eclipse goalkeeper off her line and away from the front of the goal. After some impressive footwork that allowed her to shake the opposing keeper, she put one into the back of the net to give the Blues some breathing room.
Following the match, Blues head coach Randy Dodge was all smiles. "This was our third game in three days and I thought we held the ball really well on a wet, slippery day," he said. "I thought we did a great job. The kids worked hard after we woke up at 4:00 a.m. to play a soccer game; that really prepares us for regionals and for nationals. I am pleased with my kids; they showed up and showed some great character.
With today's clean sheet, the Blues finished the weekend having surrendered just two goals in their three matches, another thing for Dodge and his team to take great pride in.
"Without a doubt (I am happy about that)," Dodge said. "We gave up the least amount of goals in the National League. We played great defensively and our keepers were solid all weekend. We wish we would have dictated our play a little more on Friday but hats off to the Texans because they disrupted us and did a great job. Our goal was to go to nationals and to win the National League. We've fulfilled one of our goals this weekend and played great."
In Saturday's match, the Blues were ahead 2-0 at halftime but Dodge was far from comfortable. But today, it was a different story.
"Without a doubt, it's better to have that 2-0 lead with 15 minutes to play compared to having it at halftime," Dodge said. "We knew that there was no time to relax in the second half because we were pushing for the win at the end of the game."
Dodge also gave his girls a lot of credit for netting that second goal, which effectively broke the spirit of the opposition.
"That really took all the pressure off because after that, if we made a mistake, it was still only 2-1," he said. "It really took all the fight and spirit out of the other team and that's what you want to do. You want to take away their hope that they can get back in the game and we did that with the second goal."
Werner likes how much the Blues improved over the course of the weekend. "We started off kind of rough on the first day after traveling," she admitted. "But we got better since then and have played really well. We're really excited (about clinching a spot in nationals). That was our goal. We accomplished it and it's a really good feeling."