Canada opens World Women’s Rugby Sevens Series with three wins

LANGFORD, B.C. — Canada posted three wins Saturday on home turf to remain undefeated at the HSBC World Women’s Rugby Sevens Series.

Julia Greenshields, Bianca Farella, Ghislaine Landry and Natasha Watcham-Roy each scored tries as Canada beat Russia 24-10 in their final match of the day.

Canada defeated Brazil 33-5 and shut out France 33-0 earlier Saturday.

Canada, which won Olympic bronze last summer in Rio, faces England on Sunday in quarter-final action. The Canadians are looking to become the first host nation to win an event on the women’s circuit.

Canadian coach John Tait said his squad opened the day with a somewhat tense effort against No. 11 Brazil. He said he wanted to see a smoother performance, but the squad improved throughout the day.

Tait said the team’s achievement in Rio was an excellent learning experience for the players.

“They’ve just matured as a group,” Tait said. “They’ve gotten better and they’ve been in pressure cookers before, so they are used to it.”

He said the team is building depth and getting stronger as it prepares for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Farella said playing in front of a home crowd is special and invigorating but she agreed the team put too much pressure on itself earlier Saturday against Brazil.

She said the players are feeding off the energy of the home crowd where it feels like the 3,500 people in the stands are making the noise of thousands more.

“There’s unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves to perform,” Farella said. “But we did pull it together and really realized it’s us on the field and we have …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

Real Salt Lake strikes first, holds on to beat Union 1-0

SANDY — Real Salt Lake got back to winning form Saturday, with a 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium.

RSL took a lead in the first half, when a give-and-go between Joao Plata and Jefferson Savarino led to an easy tap-in by Plata in the 36th minute. It was the first time RSL had struck first in over a month.

However, the play of the game might have been on the defensive end. RSL’s defense gave up a scary chance early, as keeper Nick Rimando was beaten off of a chipped header, only for Aaron Maund to run back and clear the ball off the goal line at the last second.

Tony Beltran looked sharp in his return, leading the back line. Solid defense through the second half, and a few key saves late by Rimando, helped RSL to their first shutout since April 8.

…read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

Real Salt Lake shows character in grinding out 1-0 win over Philadelphia

SANDY — A 1-0 victory is a feather in the cap for any soccer team.

“It’s the nicest win in football,” said RSL midfielder Albert Rusnak.

That’s why there was a greater level of satisfaction in the Real Salt Lake locker room after Saturday’s hard-earned 1-0 victory over red-hot Philadelphia — winner of four straight.

“It is more satisfying,” said coach Mike Petke in comparison to a multi-goal win. He added it shows extra character in holding on to a 1-0 win and grinding out a result.

For defender Tony Beltran, who was making his first start in 10 games and first since Petke took over as head coach, no result is more satisfying than 1-0.

“(Chris) Schuler and I talked about that the other day. I’d rather win 1-0 than 5-0. In soccer, and Kyle (Beckerman) talks about this all the time, you have to suffer, and a 1-0 win you have to suffer in the game, you have to fight. That’s what it’s all about. That’s why I love playing defense, and the commitment from the boys exemplifies that. Great feeling to win 1-0,” said Beltran.

Whether it was defensively or going forward, Saturday’s performance might’ve been the most complete of the season for RSL, which is 4-0-6 all-time against Philadelphia.

Petke said he’s never satisfied and he always expects more, “but we managed the game well, and that was a big thing that we talked about coming into this,” he said.

It took a spectacular goal line clearance from Aaron Maund to keep the clean sheet early, but after that Sunday Stephen commanded the defensive midfield starting in place of suspended captain Kyle Beckerman to preserve the clean sheet.

Real Salt Lake’s attack was bright early, creating multiple chances, and Joao Plata put the punctuation mark on that strong first half in the 36th minute, scoring …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News