Pilots suffer first loss of the French Era, lose to Huskies 1-0
In their second home game this weekend, the Portland Pilots fell to the University of Washington Huskies, 0-1, breaking their winning streak.
In the 82nd minute, the Huskies scored from inside the 18-yard-box, hitting the net between the crossbar and keeper Rachel Lusby’s gloves.
The Pilots opened the match on the defensive. The team moved as a unit keeping, a distant pressure at all times and waiting for the best moments to step in. The forwards kept tight pressure on Husky defenses.
The Pilots struggled to keep possession and to press offensively, and the Huskies were quick to win the ball back.
“We got into our defensive shape well,” said head coach Michelle French of the teams strategy. “But in transition moments it was harder to get numbers forward.”
The first half was dominated by the Huskies. They came out quick and hard, with a shot on goal within the first minute, and adding seven more before the end of the first half.
“When we came in the locker room at half time we knew we had been on our back foot a lot and were holding back,” Pilot sophomore Taryn Ries said. “We knew we just needed to slow down and take care of the ball, and that’s where we found success.”
Sloppy fouls increased with frustrations. Junior Kim Hazlett was warned twice by the referee, and sophomore Kendra Steele was yellow-carded for a slide tackle. The team racked up ten more before the final whistle.
“I was just playing my hardest and it was in the back of my mind,” said Steele of the looming yellow card. “You just have to play clean, play strong, and still don’t back down.”
The Pilots started the second half with a new fire and aggression, without fear of getting physical. After one referee’s call went toward the Huskies after a Pilot goes down, the bench argued against the call and was given a yellow card.
“In the second half our intensity, our one-v-one defending, ability to win 50/50 challenges, and the energy and effort were much better,” French said. “We were too tentative in the first half.”
“We worked hard as a team and I’m still proud of us, no matter the result,” Steele said.
Portland plays their next game on Aug. 30 at 5 p.m. at the Husky Invitational against Michigan State.