Indios Denver FC (red) took an early, but Colorado Rapids Women (white) roared back to win 5-1 in both clubs' inaugural WPSL match. [INDIOS DENVER FC]
The WPSL Central Region opened its season with five opening weekend matchups within its four conferences., and most of the teams competing found themselves facing new opponents and undoubtedly working through their game plans this early in the season.
The Mountain Conference, seeing the most Central Region action, allied two in-state rival matches with the Utah Royals FC Reserves taking on the Utah Red Devils and the Colorado Rapids Women taking on Indios Denver FC.
The Colorado Rapids Women seemingly handled business against Indios Denver FC, though the Colorado coaching staff felt its club had a difficult time early in the game creating chances against a very defensive-minded opponent. The club bounced back after going down a goal early and provided an attacking spark with second half subs Abby Gearhart and Hannah Adler. The pair help lead the Rapids to victory with a score of 5-1.
“It is great to finally get on the field and compete," Rapids coach Andrew Kummer said. "We proved that we have depth and versatility with our group. We feel good about our performance but know that this is a starting point and there is much better soccer to come."
Across the Rockies, Utah Royals FC Reserves found the back of the net just once, which proved to be enough to grab three points against the Utah Red Devils. Ashley Cardozo scored the match's lone goal.
Salvo SC and Maplebrook Fury squared off in the Northern Conference on Sunday and each earned one point in their 1-1 tie at the Maple Grove High School Stadium. Both clubs have a longstanding history in their respective youth programs, but is the first time they’ve competed against each other at this level. Salvo SC joined the WPSL as an expansion team this past season.
Elite Girls Academy celebrated a 2-0 victory over FC Wichita in its first Heartland conference matchup. EGA returned only 5 players from last year’s squad, which played a provisional schedule, but look to be competitive in what the club feels will be a strong conference this season.
“Going into the game, we knew that our performance would not be perfect with limited preparation and dealing with the absence of several players," EGA coach Marcus Kelcher said. "We focused our efforts on trying to get the players acclimated to one another and introduced some ideas of how we want to play moving forward."
"The team fought for one another and showed a great mentality against a good opponent. The staff and I were very impressed with the girls and extremely happy to pick up our first Heartland Conference win of the season and hopefully the first of many."
In the Red River conference, Alamo City SC kicked off its first full season in the WPSL atop the scoreboard with a 2-1 victory over the Texas Titans, another Lone Star state club.
Things are certainly heating up in the Central region with nearly a dozen more games slated for this upcoming weekend. Whether teams are suiting up for their first or second round of matches, players are starting to settle in and find their footing amongst an extremely talented lineup of clubs.