ROCHESTER, N.Y. – In a 10-game season, every contest is important.
Just some become more vital than others as the campaign wears on.
That’s why the Rochester Lady Lancers’ two matches this season can define their United Women’s Soccer season.
If the third-place Lancers (3-1-1, 10 points) defeat the host FC Buffalo (4-1-1, 13) on Friday night and FC Berlin at home at Aquinas Institute on Sunday at 2 p.m., they will move into first place in the Penn-NY Division with only games remaining in the season. Rochester has a game in hand on Buffalo, which visits the Pittsburgh Hotspurs on Sunday.
“It’s a significant weekend for us,” Rochester head coach Adam Schwartz said on Wednesday night. “We’re going train this evening, and then just get ourselves prepared.
“The match against FC Buffalo in essence is for first place. Where we to beat them, we would be I believe tied with them in points. However, we would have beaten them twice. And lost to them once which would put us ahead.”
The Lady Lancers opened the season with a 4-0 defeat in Buffalo on May 28, but they rebounded with a 2-0 win against their rivals in their home opener on June 5.
Since Rochester will play two games within 43 hours, Schwartz will need to rotate his Starting XI and use his substitutions wisely.
It certainly doesn’t hurt the Lady Lancers, given how deep their squad is this season.
“For this weekend, we’ll certainly be depending on our full complement of players,” Schwartz said. “We articulate to the players that even if you’re coming on the pitch as a substitute, you can have a significant impact on the game. We expect the standard to stay extremely high.”
Case in point:
Taylor Ashe came on as a substitute early in the second half and tallied the game-winning goal in Rochester’s 1-0 win at Pittsburgh last Saturday, June 18.
Since their season-opener in Buffalo, the Lady Lancers are unbeaten in four matches (3-0-1). The lone draw was a 2-2 tie on the road at the Erie Commodores on June 12. The team has grown by leaps and bounds since the beginning of the season.
“I think the first game and it’s no disrespect to our players, or our coaching staff, we were a little disorganized in a sense where we had a lot of players and we hadn’t necessarily seen them play a lot,” Schwartz said. “We hadn’t trained them a lot. So, it was a real learning experience. But since then, we’ve been able to get our full roster together and to get them playing together and just get to know one another’s tendencies. That’s the big thing getting to your teammates’ tendencies. What are their strengths? What are their areas of concern? And working together as a team to highlight everyone’s strengths.”
The Lady Lancers’ final four games of the regular season are at home.
Admission is free for the 2022 season.
In place of purchasing a ticket, fans are encouraged to donate to the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester. You can donation to the coalition at https://bccr.salsalabs.org/ladylancers
There will be bounce house and in-game promotions for the family to enjoy.
Aquinas Institute is located at 1127 Dewey Ave., Rochester, N.Y.
For complete Lady Lancers information, visit RLancers.com.
The Rochester Lancers are the oldest professional soccer brand in the United States, having their inaugural season in the American Soccer League in 1967.
FOR YOUR SUMMER READING: A book about the highs and lows of the Rochester Lancers