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Steel City FC looking to ‘polish’ after 4-2 loss to Cincinnati Sirens

CINCINNATI, OHIO — Tom Ovenden said Steel City FC needs to “polish” after their 4-2 loss to the Cincinnati Sirens on Saturday.

After only a 10-minute warm up, the match began at Lakota West High School. Steel City FC got the first goal of the match in nine minutes.

Melanie Renda, an incoming senior at Seton Hill University, scored her second goal of the season. Jansen Jamison, a former Edinboro University player and graduate, recorded the assist.

Ovenden said that despite the goal, Steel City FC started off “alright.”

“We went 1-0 up, but we weren’t playing particular well,” Ovenden said. “The other team did a good job of putting us under pressure. They loaded up the middle of the field, and it really confused us. We struggled to adapt and it broke our tempo up.”

Jamison also found her way on the score sheet for a goal herself. Jamison had Steel City FC’s final tally and lone second-half goal.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati had four goals, two apiece in each half. Jackie Esterkamp was one of the first half scorers. The former Chicago Red Stars midfielder scored the first goal for Cincinnati.

Second half goals were scored by Macy Hamblin of Northern Kentucky University and Evie Stepaniak, who has committed to Indiana University East.

Ovenden called the match a “rough day at the office.”

“We got down there and there was a few logistical problems,” Ovenden said. “We didn’t get much of a warm up. It got us off on the wrong foot. We did OK. It wasn’t particularly a good day. Sometimes it’s your day and sometimes it isn’t.”

The rough day continued for Steel City FC when Maddie Layman was shown a red card about three-quarters of the way through.

The first-year head coach for Steel City FC said the issues boiled down to not having a set rhythm.

“It was really, really challenging,” he said.

Despite the loss, Ovenden is looking forward to the next two matches. He said that Steel City FC needs to polish their play and concede fewer goals. Ovenden explained that a majority of the goals that other teams have scored against the club were due to individual mistakes.

“Playing the way that we’ve tried to play, that’s going to happen a lot in the beginning,” Ovenden explained. “This year has really been a fact-finding mission, working out the players and what we’ve got. Next year, we’ll really be able to hit the ground running. Get the schedule, know who we need to play at the right time. We need to hammer down logistical things and we’ll have a real good shot at it next year.”

Ovenden did note that confidence hasn’t been an issue for the team. Despite falling 3-2 to the Cleveland Ambassadors on June 15, Ovenden said Steel City FC dominated that second half so much that “I thought we were going to go in and beat this team [Cincinnati] by 10 goals.”

“We weren’t as polished as I thought we could have been,” Ovenden said. “We have to go over this and lock down what we’re trying to do. It just takes time though. It takes a lot of time to build a real good quality of playing style in the team.”

“We have the basis of how we want to play and how we want to defend, now it’s just polishing that stuff and hammering that home.”

What’s Next?

There are two matches left for Steel City FC this WPSL season.

Steel City FC will travel for one more road match against the Empire Revs on Saturday. The match will be held at Empire United Soccer Complex in West Henrietta, New York, with a kick off time of 1 p.m. EDT.

The final match of the season, against the Columbus Eagles FC, will be held the following day, July 8, at the Ellis School in Pittsburgh.

The sport of soccer is Rachael Kriger's area of expertise. Kriger covers high school and women's soccer, with occasional work with Pitt Women's Soccer. For the last five years, she has been the Color Commentator for the Pitt Women's Soccer program. Elsewhere, Kriger contributes for MLS Multiplex, part of the FanSided network. She formerly wrote for Equalizer Soccer and Last Word on Soccer. Kriger is a member of the official NWSL Media Association and the North American Soccer Reporters, serving as the NASR's President after two years in the role of Communications Director and Vice President.

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