Rochester United FC faced off against Dakota Fusion FC on Saturday, falling 2-1.
Rochester now has one draw and one loss in the Northern Division of the Women’s Premier Soccer League.
The Fusion are 1-2.
It seemed either team could have been winners on the day, with both showing bouts of inspiration, but Dakota did well to keep United at bay, making an important save late on and even hitting the crossbar in the dying minutes of the game. United midfielder Madison Tuma launched a speculative long-range shot that narrowly went wide to even the scores.
“I think today our focus was more to attack and try to be in their attacking third a lot,” Fusion forward Lauren Hodny said. “It’s taken us a while to mesh.”
Hodny was pulled down in the box in the first half, and when she scored the game winner, forcing her way through a defender and ‘keeper off of her line, she thought it was justice for not getting a penalty kick call.
“My goal was just to get a touch on it and get a corner at least, and then it went in,” Hodny said.
The home side’s forward line was left disappointed.
“I just think it’s frustrating because we know we can do better,” United forward Brittney Gruszynski said.
She looked like a frustrated figure throughout. Often, United would get into good midfield positions, only to deliver a final ball the forward couldn’t latch on to. They could not find the final ball.
“In practice we communicate, and just on the field, especially because it was hot, there was just lack of communication, and the heat was getting to us,” Gruszynski added.
Gruszynski, a local high school graduate who attended Lourdes High School, hasn’t scored yet this season, but is hopeful to open her account soon as the team grows into the league.
“It’s definitely hard for us being a new team coming in to this; we don’t know how anyone is going to be competition wise,” she added.
Another challenge is getting used to new teammates.
“Everyone’s from different countries, and just learning how everyone plays, different languages, dynamics — it’s hard, but it’s really cool.”
The United coaching staff believes the team can still win the league, but the day’s performance wasn’t enough.
“It’s a competitive league. Today’s game, a little bit disappointing. We can’t use the weather as an excuse because both teams have to play with the heat. We need to work harder, we need to press the ball more, show more energy,” United assistant coach Duncan Ross said.
“We have a great team, we have very talented players, we just need to get working together… to gel together,” Ross said.