United Women’s Soccer will finish up their fourth season this weekend and for the first time in the league’s short existence; the final four will be hosted in the Great White North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. West Conference champions Calgary Foothills WFC were selected to host the tournament at the Stadium Field on the campus of Mount Royal University.
The final four will kick off with the semifinals on Saturday, July 20th. Featured in the first semifinal will be the hosts Calgary against East Conference champion Lancaster Inferno at 2:00 pm MDT. Following this matchup will be the Midwest Conference champion Indian Union against LA Galaxy Orange County. Kickoff for the second semifinal will be at approximately 5:00 pm MDT. The final will be played on Sunday, July 21st at 2:00 pm MDT. All games will be streamed live on MyCujoo.com.
How did these clubs reach the final four? We’ll start with the hosts, Calgary Foothills WFC. At 6-1-1 Calgary qualified as the regular season champion of the West Conference and were the first team to qualify for the final four. They used a stout defense to reach the final four, only giving up five goals all season. Calgary finished the season with a goal differential of +15, with five shutouts. Offensively, Calgary was led by Forward and Canadian U-20 international Tanya Boychuk, who scored eight goals in the regular season.
Calgary will face Lancaster Inferno, who finished as champion of the always tough East Conference for the second time in as many years. After finishing third in the regular season, Inferno was able to repeat as East Conference champions with a 9-3-0 record, avenging two previous losses by defeating the New England Mutiny 2-1 in the conference finals. The Inferno is led offensively by Forward Haley Crawford (five goals and two assists) and Midfielder Teresa Rook (three goals and three assists).
After a rebrand from the 2018 season, Indiana Union shocked the Midwest Conference, dethroning two-time defending champion GRFC Women in a double overtime thriller, 3-2. With a final record of 10-2-1, Union comfortably made the conference playoffs and hosted both rounds to advance to the final four. With their only losses to Lansing United (1-0 and 3-2) and a road tie to GRFC, 3-3, opponents should watch out for the high-powered attack that the Union can spring upon an opponent. The Union is led by Midfielder Samantha Dewey, who was first on the team in both goals with eleven and assists with five.
LA Galaxy Orange County will be the first, and look to be the last, team that will try to defeat the upstart Union side. At 6-1-2, LAGOC defeated Southwest regular season champions, Houston Aces 4-1 in a play-in game to reach the final four. Like Calgary, LAGOC used a lockdown defense throughout the season, finishing the season with a goal differential of +12. LAGOC has been led offensively by Midfielders Millene Cabral Vieira (five goals) and Lindsey Huie (two assists).
Should LAGOC and Calgary reach the final, it would be their third time meeting this season. Calgary took the first match by the slim score of 1-0. Both teams salvaged a point in their second meeting, drawing 1-1. With their strong defenses, a final between these division rivals could be a low scoring, extra time affair.
Will lockdown defenses the likes of LAGOC and Calgary, a high-powered attacking from Indiana, or a balanced team the likes of Lancaster turn out to be victorious in the finals? The joy of the playoffs is that what is on paper may not be what leads the club to victory in the end. No matter the champion, we are sure to have an entertaining final four once again!