Real Salt Lake Women played in the WPSL Elite National Championship on Saturday afternoon. They faced off against the San Francisco Nighthawks of the Pacific Conference North Division. Real Salt Lake won pretty handily 70 from goals coming from Colette Smith with 2, Elizabeth “Bizzy” Phillips with 2, Chansi Crompton, Annie Hawkins, and Emily Bruder with one goal each. The opening minutes saw returning central midfielder Tasha Aiono get a lot of significant calming touches. Aiono was away on national team duty with the Federation of Samoa, Papua New Guinea. She was away competing in the Pacific games. She showed her quality by being the axil in the center of the midfield, connecting a number of passes to start building in the attack.
Real Salt Lake Women had the majority of possession throughout the match. The Nighthawks closest opportunity to score came in the 6th minute. The Nighthawks won the ball high up the field after a mistake in the RSLW backline leaving #7 one on one with Rebecca Ritchie. Ritchie stood up to the task making the huge save. RSLW had their first goal scored in the 27th minute when captain Colette Smith was slotted in for a one versus one with the Nighthawks keeper. Smith tucked the ball near post to take the 10 advantage. Just three minutes later Chansi Crompton was able to easily slot her shot to the near post after a comedy of clearances from the Nighthawks. The next 10 minutes showcased a lot of skill and ability on the ball for the RSLW side. Colette Smith was showing all of the young fans how to properly beat defenders with scissors and step overs. While Alexis Peterson even threw in a crafty back heel pass to Chansi Crompton. Emily
Bruder displayed how to dribble at pace to beat a defender. Man, I tell you, she is fast. Just before the stroke of half time. Elizabeth “Bizzy” Phillips scored her first of the game off of a header from the corner taken by Chansi Crompton. This is what she said about the goal: “So for the corner kick I missed a header right before in the middle and I was bummed because I usually don’t miss headers. I was like ok here we go, this is my chance. Chansi sent in a perfect ball, the defender was going for it but I beat her to it. At first I thought it was going over but it dove down and I was super excited.”
Colette Smith added her second goal of the game in the 53rd minute after the Nighthawks held a high line at the midfield stripe and Tasha Aiono slipped a 30 yard ball in front of Colette for her to run onto and walk in one versus one against Nighthawks keeper.
In the 71st minute, co-captain Annie Hawkins shot the ball from about 25 yards out. Her shot hitting the top shelf of the upper 90 degree angle. The Nighthawks keeper was extremely stretched out for it and Hawkins shot was just under the bar. The shot couldn’t have had better placement.
Emily Bruder showed her pace that I mentioned earlier. She was flying down the right flank passing people like they were cones. She made it 60 in the 79th minute with her breakaway. The final goal of the game came in the 88th minute with a shot from the top of the 18 yard box from Elizabeth Phillips. She said this about that goal: “The second goal also came from Chansi, it started out wide and I was like Chansi, Go, go to the corner and she did. I was screaming at her to drop it off and she played a perfect ball. I just one timed it and hoped for the best and it went in.”
Every player on the game day roster was able to see minutes in this match in front of 500+ fans at Rio Tinto Stadium. This was part of a double header and the first of the Super Soccer Saturday. There was also a watch party at America First Pavilion to see Real Salt Lake face off against D.C. United at 5 p.m. This watch party full of food and beverages on the new part of the RSL complex. Then following the Real Monarchs faced off against the O.C. Blues in USL action.
Center Back Alyssa Lowry Christiansen said the following about the match: Today we had a game plan that I thought we executed well. We knew a little bit about the other team, but we just wanted to come out and play our game. Today, we were able to have success by playing for each other and having every player do their part.
Elizabeth “Bizzy” Phillips: How do you feel winning the WPSL Elite National Championship?:
“It was so much fun and I am so proud of the team. Annie and Colette really took the reigns this year and let it. It was awesome.” What was your favorite part of the season? “Probably this game for sure. Getting to play with players that I have watched my whole life and now even though I am still in college and that I have seen them play, I get to play with them and that is really fun. Because they have been my inspiration in the past and now I am with them on the field.