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Steel City FC fall on the road to Motor City FC, 5-0

Before the match even started, the women of Steel City FC knew they would have to do a lot of defending against Motor City FC.

On Sunday, that proved to be the case.

Jordan Daloisio said that Motor City FC is “always a really good team.”

The Detroit, Michigan, based club won the conference last year, punching their ticket to the WPSL playoffs.

At Stoney Creek High School, Motor City FC scored five goals over Steel City FC. It took midfielder Clara Robbins only four minutes to sneak one past Jessica Neill.

Three minutes later, Robbins scored her second goal.

After about 30 minute of back-and-forth action, Bella Jodzis added another goal for Motor City FC. The midfielder put the back in the left of Neill’s net.

Right before the halftime whistle blew, Robbins bagged her third goal of the match. The hat-trick is the first this season for the Florida State Seminoles player, who has spent time with the U-19 U.S. Soccer team.

However, in the second half, Tom Ovenden‘s side took a stern approach to defense. Steel City FC only allowed one goal in the second half — a second from Jodzis — to finish the match, 5-0.

Ovenden said the match was a “good education on the road” for his side.

“We came up against a very good team,” Ovenden said. “It just gave, with it being my first year in the league, good insight on where we need to be, and the level we need to be at if we’re going to win things. Now we know a little bit more about them, so we can prepare for them better.”

In general, Ovenden thought that the two back-to-back games were challenging physically for Steel City FC. The team recorded a 3-2 victory over Ann Arbor on Saturday.

However, he said there were “loads of good things” to come out of Sunday’s loss. One area that Ovenden saw improvement on was the defensive switch in the second half.

“We adjusted quite well and stayed compact in the second half better,” Ovenden explained. “The girls started to really understand the way I’ve been trying to get them to defend. We competed better in the second half. We got off slow, but we grew defensively in the match.”

Ovenden followed the sentiments of assistant coach Tom Campbell and Daloisio by saying the work he’s putting into the team is not just a short term project.

“This is something we need to build on over time,” Ovenden said. “These experiences, while they’re not positive, will help us going forward. It’s hard to get to the destination if you don’t really experience it.”

“It’s good to have that challenge.”

Neill to stay in goal

Despite the loss on Sunday, Ovenden has been impressed with goalkeeper Jessica Neill.

Hailing from Zelienople, Neill has been the regular starter under Ovenden. She attends Seton Hill University for soccer and featured in high school for Seneca Valley.

During the weekend trip, Neill was the only goalkeeper on the road for Steel City FC. Lauren Malcolm, goalkeeper from St. Bonaventure University, is currently recovering from an injury. While she has returned back to practice this week, Ovenden said it didn’t “make a ton of sense” to bring Malcolm for a tedious road trip.

Ovenden said that Neill’s goalkeeping — and ability to stop shots — was another positive from the weekend’s matches.

“Jess has been doing so well, so we didn’t bring another goalie to just cover,” Ovenden said. “Trying to play out of the back for us is key so to have a good goalkeeper that does that is great. She was phenomenal, really.”

“[Motor City FC Head Coach Aaron Byrd] came up to me afterwards and mentioned about the quality of her.”

What’s Next?

Steel City FC (2-2-0) will feature under Friday night lights at Edinboro University on June 15.

The team will host the Cleveland Ambassadors at 8:30 p.m.

Cleveland is currently undefeated with a record of 3-0-1. The Ambassadors recently compiled a 6-2 victory over Cincinnati Sirens FC on Sunday.

The sport of soccer is Rachael Kriger's area of expertise. Kriger covers Steel City FC for Pittsburgh Soccer Now and provides various columns, with occasional work with Pitt Women's Soccer. Elsewhere, Kriger is the co-managing editor of Last Word on Soccer and the social media coordinator and lead Liga MX Femenil writer for Equalizer Soccer. She is a member of the official NWSL Media Association and the North American Soccer Reporters, serving as the NASR's Vice President after two years in the role of Communications Director.

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