Tiffany Weimer and Maegen Doyle celebrate a goal. (Clarus Studios Photo)
FARMINGTON, Conn. – A hat-trick from Tiffany Weimer and a two-goal, one-assist effort from Roma McLaughlin lifted the Connecticut Fusion to a 10-0 victory over the Albany Rush in its United Women’s Soccer season opener at the Farmington Sports Arena Saturday evening.
It had been 22 months since the last time the Fusion had played a competitive game, a 2-1 loss to the Lancaster Inferno July 12, 2019 in the UWS East Conference tournament semifinals. To rinse away any lasting effects from that game nearly two years ago, the Fusion came out firing right from the start.
The hosts only needed nine minutes to take the lead, with McLaughlin pouncing on a loose clearance off a Brenna Brown cross. McLaughlin, who recently was named to the NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer All-America third team by United Coaches Soccer for her strong spring season for Central Connecticut State University, collected the clearance at the top of the box and deftly finished it to the left of goalkeeper Megan Hart.
The Fusion doubled its lead in the 21st minute as Chanel Johnson finished off a short corner-kick routine, as the former University of Hartford player waited for Marieke Kramer’s cross to find her at the far post and before hammering home a volley from close range.
Albany had two chances over the next few minutes to try and cut into the deficit, one from a close-range header by Olivia Piraino and a second on Emily Drake’s fizzing effort from 15 yards, but that would be as close as the visitors would come to getting on the score sheet.
Weimer, a former National Women’s Soccer League champion with the Portland Thorns, made it 3-0 on the half hour as after she intercepted a pass on the left wing. Se played a one-two with Maegen Doyle outside the box and curled one past Hart to the far post.
Connecticut came out firing in the second half, scoring twice inside of four minutes, one from Doyle and a second from Weimer, to put the game out of reach. Tori Sousa netted the 17th goal of her Fusion career in the 58th minute, while Fusion debutants Kacey Lawrence and Chloe Landers both came on as second-half substitutes and scored.
Weimer wrapped up her hat-trick in the 82nd minute, the third in Fusion history, by latching onto a Cara Jordan through ball and slotting past substitute goalie Emma Anderson. McLaughlin put the exclamation point on the night in the 88th minute by receiving a square ball about 40 yards out, drove past three defenders and laced her shot past Anderson’s right.
Amanda McQuillan started in goal for Connecticut and made two saves in 81 minutes before being relieved by Seraphina McKiernan, who didn’t face any action but helped preserve the clean sheet.
The Fusion take to the road for the first time this season on Friday at 7 p.m. as the team faces off against Scorpions SC in Medway, Mass.