OAKLEY,Calif.--- It was two weeks since Freedom played it’s last game. To make things more challenging, some of the Falcons key players were out of action. So, what could go wrong, right?
Despite the adversity coming into the game, Freedom took care of business by shutting out West-Tracy 2-0.
Freedom’s rust showed in the first 15 minutes of the match when West dominated the Falcons defending third. But centerback Sierra Knight rose to the occasion with a pair of steals to bail out Freedom from suffering any damage early on.
The entire Freedom defense needed to adjust with absence of Alexis Lopez, forcing Annette Gutierrez to settle into the left back position. In addition, Samantha Rodgers transitioned to right back after starting off the year up top.
“It’s just trying to get everyone on the same page. And then also on my end it’s playing on the same intensity level as they (West) are so everyone can pick up the same intensity.” said Knight.
“It was already a challenge going back there, considering that they’re two different mentalities, and the two week gap didn’t offer as many challenges to really get my head into the game as a defender.” said Rogers.
Antioch-transfer Brianna Garcia had back-to-back shots, and after getting the first one blocked, she redeemed herself in the second with a curling left shot off an assist by Autumn Oranje, giving Freedom the 1-0 lead at halftime.
“It meant a lot to me, I redeemed myself. I had a few friends and family watching so I didn’t want them to see I was missing a wide open goal.” said Garcia.
Izzy Midgley added to Freedom’s lead on a freekick with a right foot blast, making it 2-0, resulting in the final score.
As of the posting of the article, Freedom ended non-league play with just four games, accumulating a record of 3-1. It's a very low number compared to last season when the Falcons played 10 games before league play, including the Tri-Valley Classic.
Freedom head coach Matt Oliveri is looking at the situation from two perspectives.
“I don’t think it’ll effect us too much. We may get off a to a few slow starts. But if you look at it, everyone is pretty healthy. There’s certainly two sides to it.”
Oliveri is attempting to add one more game before league play commences. If the team is unsuccessful to find an opponent before then, Freedom’s next game will not be until Tuesday, Jan. 8.