Maegen Doyle scored the Fusion’s lone goal. (Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios)
FARMINGTON, Conn – For the first time in the United Women’s Soccer season, the Connecticut Fusion found itself on the losing side of a result by dropping a 2-1 decision to their local rival Connecticut Rush at the Farmington Sports Arena Friday night.
The loss saw the Fusion (3-1-3, 12 points) remain in second place in the East Conference but with a full slate of matches set for the rest of the weekend, it is unlikely the team will remain there by the time the weekend comes to an end. The Rush (3-1-0, 9) are winners of three straight matches and find itsef in a three-way tie for fourth place.
It was a cagey opening 20 minutes between these newly established rivals, with the only clear cut chance coming in the 13th minute when the Fusion’s Cara Jordan was denied on a one-on-one chance by Rush’s goalkeeper Jenna Hall.
The best route of attack for the Rush came from the flanks, as all match long the visitors utilized their wingers to great effect. It paid off in the 31st minute as Andrea Basilicato got loose down the right side and whipped in a perfect cross to Kaylee Armenia, who one-timed her effort past goalkeeper Allie Augur for a 1-0 lead.
That lead held up through halftime. The Rush started the second half as it did in the first, which was on the ascendency by generating a handful of corner kicks early on.
But with the Rush committing numbers forward because of those set pieces, the Fusion countered from a Rush corner in the 52nd minute. After clearing a set piece, Kacey Lawrence made a 50-yard darting run forward before playing a diagonal ball to the feet of Kylee McIntosh. The usual Fusion center back showed great composure in this rare foray forward by driving to the end line and cutting a pass back to the trailing Maegen Doyle, who slotted home the equalizer.
The scoreline remained level for seven minutes as the Rush again got loose down the flanks. Kyla Gallagher drove in from the left before lifting a ball into the path of second-half substitute Rory Parri, whose sublime finish restored the Rush’s one-goal advantage.
The Fusion had two chances in the final minutes to level the proceedings, once in the 85th minute as Taylor Smith’s header from a corner was cleared away from the goalmouth by a defender, and a second in stoppage time as Marieke Kramer whistled a 28-yard free kick wide of the mark.
The Fusion wrap up the home portion of its season next Saturday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m., welcoming Scorpions SC to the Farmington Sports Arena.