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Rapids Take Women’s S20 Title
Colorado’s Price named tournament MVP

Super-20 League Game Recap

Sunday, July 22, 2012

BRADENTON, Fla. – The Colorado Rapids advanced from Group A this week by scoring three goals per game, but managed to win the 2012 Super-20 League North American Finals championship with a 1-0 win against D.C. United Women on Sunday morning at IMG Academy.

The Rocky Mountain Division club kept its second clean sheet of the tournament in defeating D.C. United, thanks in part to strong performances by tournament Most Valuable Player Karisa Price and Safe Hands Award-winner Hannah Clark, the top goalkeeper.

The early morning start did not seem to faze either side. The Rapids were on the front foot early on and D.C. United held well. In only the first minute, Price earned a corner. She then attempted a bicycle kick when the service came her way, but misfired and D.C. cleared.

United did not have many chances in the opening 20 minutes. Price drew a foul not far from the area in the 13th minute and was one of three players to be denied on a rebound by the D.C. United goalkeeper after she fumbled the attempted free kick.

Price was willing to shoot from just about anywhere, it seemed, and for good reason. Her four goals going into Sunday’s game were tied for the tournament lead along with D.C. United’s Stephanie Hamilton. Price’s shot from distance in the 17th minute went just wide of the post, giving the ‘keeper something to think about.

Price’s next effort came in the 25th minute. She received a pass out wide on the right side of the field and cut inside to unleash a fierce shot that missed the top of the crossbar by less than a foot.

In the 26th minute, Price and Anna Evans combined in the DC box with a neat passing play and Evans found the time to put a shot on net. Despite the United goalkeeper getting a hand to it, the effort reached the back of the net and the Rapids had the desired lead.

It did not take long for the Mid Atlantic Division club to get their next opportunity. Jenna Shaddock sent a cross into the box after the restart that was bungled into the Colorado goalkeeper by her own defender. It was eventually cleared.

Evans had a chance much like the one that led to her goal to extend her team’s lead, but her shot from the top of the box missed the net.

The Rapids could not sit on their lead against a team that advanced out of Group B with all nine points from three games. Price pounced on a loose, bouncing ball 35 yards from goal and struck a menacing volley that dipped and was earmarked for the back of the net before the United goalkeeper jumped to push it over the crossbar.

DC United had the last opportunity of the half from a corner, but Colorado dealt with it and took the 1-0 lead into the locker room.

Lindsey Lane, wearing the number 10 shirt for DC United, attempted to get her side back into the contest in the 53rd minute with a shot from outside the box that narrowly missed the net. In the 58th minute, United defender Mónica Mendes stood over a free kick and assessed her options. Instead of playing a ball into the box for one of her teammates, she took the opportunity to shoot. Unfortunately, her shot was not on goal, but it did graze the top of the net.

The Finals MVP was everywhere on Sunday, much like her performances in group play. Price ran down every loose ball in the attacking third and used her skill to keep possession when closed down by multiple opponents. In one instance, she flicked the ball over her head and ran around her defender at midfield. The play did not lead to a scoring opportunity, but it showed the little things that she could do on the field.

“I’ve been watching her all week,” USL National Technical Director Peter Mellor said. “I expected her to fall over when the whistle blew at the end of the game, but here she is dancing around.”

DC United failed to create any concrete openings in the final quarter of an hour, and the Rapids held on for the win and the championship.

“We’ve got a lot of character and spirit and never quit,” Colorado Rapids Coach Daniel Clitnovici said of his team after the game. “We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game. They’re a tough team with a big club and you’re always going to expect quality.

“[Karisa Price is] a fantastic player. She’s got a lot of heart and she’s exactly the type of player that’s going to be successful.”

After the game, both teams were awarded their medals and the Rapids were given their championship trophy. Price and Clark were given their respective awards, as well, and D.C.’s Hamilton was awarded the Golden Boot Award as top scorer in the Finals. Her hat trick and one assist against TSF Academy on Saturday brought her total to four goals and two assists.

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