Image: San Antonio Athenians SC
A new chapter of San Antonio soccer began Thursday night, albeit on the wrong note, as San Antonio Athenians Soccer Club lost 0-2 to Shreveport Lady Rafters FC at the Blossom Athletic Center Soccer Stadium in front of 1,053 fans to open each club’s 2017 Women’s Premier Soccer League season.
Showcasing local talent well, Athenians SC’s roster is built almost entirely out of players with connections to San Antonio and the surrounding area. Eight players in the starting lineup have played for a high school or college team in San Antonio or the surrounding region.
The home side had the upper hand throughout the first half with their quick attacking style, but was unable to finish off any of their attacks. After putting a number of shots just high or wide of goal, their chances began to dry up as Lady Rafters FC adjusted to the Athenians’ pressure and broke up their attacks more and more.
It ended up being a game of two halves though as Shreveport got more aggressive in the second half and twice did what the Athenians were incapable of doing in the first: finish. The opening goal came in the 56th minute after an Athenians giveaway in midfield, upon which Lady Rafters FC played a few quick passes to cut open the Athenians defense and send Sara Funderbunk through on goal to place the ball past Athenians goalkeeper Sydney Huntsinger.
It was a similar story 10 minutes later as the Athenians once again fatally lost the ball in midfield. With the hosts’ defense caught out, it was relatively easy for Madison Hall to round Huntsinger and simply slot the ball home to double Shreveport’s lead.
Trying to at least cut the deficit in half, Athenians SC got forward more in the closing stages of the match. However, the team looked tired and its attacks weren’t quite as potent as they had been at the start of the match, causing their late efforts to be in vain.
They say you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take, but the Athenians could argue you still miss a good portion of the shots you don’t take well after their failure to capitalize on early chances. The club will have another opportunity to earn their first points in history on Saturday when they host Houston South Select, who will be playing their first match of the season.
SAASC Starting XI (3-4-3): Gabriela Lopez; Treena Ferguson, Lisa Tomenendal, Isabella Valdez; Allison Fahey, Nicole Galan, KatieAnn Lochte, Hannah Player; Michelle Hogan, Becca Mays(c), Sam Batley
SAASC Discipline: N/A