Nina Fernandez is part of a goalkeeping duo for FC Surge that has yet to concede a goal in 2019. [Victory Rising Photography]
FC Surge continued its stranglehold on the Sunshine Conference, with a dominant 4-0 win over the Florida Gulf Coast Dutch Lions on Saturday.
The win keeps FC Surge atop the Sunshine Conference with two regular season matches to play. With a 4-0-1 record, FC Surge have proven to be among the elite in the WPSL.
With 13 goals in five games, it is fair to say that FC Surge may not have the offensive firepower that some of the other WPSL juggernauts have at their disposal (for example, California Storm have scored 30 goals in six games, while the Utah Royals FC Reserves have notched 25).
But FC Surge does one thing better than any other club in the nation: Defend.
In five conference games, the Surge have yet to concede a goal — the only remaining WPSL club not to concede in 2019.
The impressive string of shutouts is a testament to the defensive work the club focuses on in training sessions, as well as the mental fortitude that every defensive player displays on game day.
Most WPSL contenders need a quality goalkeeper in order to see their championship aspirations come to fruition. FC Surge has two. Goalkeepers Christina Velazquez and Nina Fernandez have each played phenomenally this season, sharing three shutouts while each earning a clean sheet of their own during the past two games.
Velazquez is one of the most impressive young goalkeepers in the nation, starting all 18 games of her freshman year at Florida International University. Velazquez lead Conference USA with an average of more than six saves per game.
Meanwhile, Fernandez plays for the Catholic University Cardinals and preparing to enter her junior season. Fernandez has an impressive legacy in her own right, leading her club team to the Florida State Cup Elite Eight in each of her final two seasons with the club.
On the offensive side, a number of explosive athletes led FC Surge and have the technical skill to match. Thus far the most dominant member of their attack has been Krissy Fisher, who is a senior at the University of Miami. In five games, Fisher has tallied three goals while adding five assists.
Much like the Surge goalkeepers, Fisher’s career outside of the WPSL has been impressive to say the least. She left high school as a top 50 national recruit and elected to sign with the Hurricanes. In three seasons at Miami, Fisher has started every single match of her career and lead the team in shots on goal this past season.
While 13 goals in five games is nothing to scoff at, it is fair to say that FC Surge has gained national notoriety for their defensive prowess, a staple of coach Ramiro Vengoechea’s soccer philosophy. Vengeoechea is currently in his fourth season leading the club.
With the playoffs fast approaching, it is safe to say that anything can happen in postseason play. It is also safe to say that FC Surge will certainly be a force to be reckoned with. If the old school mantra of “Defense wins championships” holds true, don’t be surprised to see the Surge winning games in July.