EMFC Azul, Eugene’s premier women’s soccer team, had a weekend of ties at home: The first, against Issaquah Soccer Club came down to stoppage time. “It was a real barn-burner,” says Evon Smith, Azul’s coordinator and perhaps the team’s most loyal fan. In a last-ditch effort, Eugene Metro Fútbol Club (EMFC) put an equalizing header between the goalposts from a corner kick that rang in the final whistle, much to the chagrin of the opposing coach.
Saturday’s game against Emerald City, uncharacteristically taking place at 2 pm, was rain-swept and rotten. As my grandfather would have put it: “Aye lad, it’s a lovely day for a footy match.”
The pitch was slippery, as was the ball, and innumerable, sliced goal kicks and long balls sailed out over the sidelines. The first goal came in the eleventh minute, scored with poise by Azul striker Caitlin Jobanek, and Lindsay Parlee’s magnificent goalkeeping kept the score at 1-0 throughout the slippery first half.
The second half began with Emerald City instantly affecting a barrage of attacks on goal, each of which Azul managed to fend off until the 65th minute, when a chance one-on-one break allowed the Seattle opponents a simple tap-in to equalize.
Unfortunately it had been lofty balls that allowed Emerald City their dominating possession streak in the second half, with their players simply being too tall and well versed at controlling floated passes for the home team. And if this didn’t set a tone of determination when it came to the ball being in the air, then the late second-half collision between two Emerald City players certainly did, when a nasty clash of heads resulted in a broken nose and concussion that ended in medics carrying the two still conscious, though badly beaten, teammates off in stretchers.
At the final whistle, the score remained 1-1, but it was an exciting game nonetheless.
On another note, Spain just made history with their Euro 2012 win. But it was not for lack of injury on the Italian side. Remember, soccer fans; this is a contact sport, and the fact that full-body tackles aren’t involved should never be taken for granted.
The final EMFC Azul home game will take place against Oregon Rush on Wednesday, July 11 at 6 pm.