World Football

View from the Pali, Volume 24: This Is Not the Year

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IJuly 30, 2012

Charlie Naimo's Pali Blues concluded their 2012 W-League Regular Season with a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders at Titan Stadium on the campus of California State University in Fullerton. Lynn Williams, who had been a scoring machine all season for Pali, delivered the game-winner in the 63rd minute.

The victory gave Pali a shot in the Western Conference Championship, where a date with Quebec City Amiral awaited. A number of players finished on the W-League All-Western Conference team, including goalkeeper Anna Maria Picarelli, defenders Sasha Andrews and Michelle Pao, midfielder Sarah Huffman and Williams. All except Pao made the 2012 W-League All-League Team.

All-Conference Teams

Western Conference
GK – Anna Maria Picarelli, Pali Blues
D – Sasha Andrews, Pali Blues
D – Stephanie Cox, Seattle Sounders Women
D – Michelle Pao, Pali Blues
D – Brooke Spence, Colorado Rapids Women
MF – Brittany Bock, Colorado Rush
MF – Sarah Huffman, Pali Blues
MF – Veronica Perez, Seattle Sounders Women
F – Edite Fernandes, Santa Clarita Blue Heat
F – Jenna Richardson, Vancouver Whitecaps
F – Lynn Williams, Pali Blues

2012 W-League All-League Team

GK – Anna Maria Picarelli, Pali Blues
D – Sasha Andrews, Pali Blues
D – Vaila Barsley, Long Island Rough Riders
D – Stephanie Cox, Seattle Sounders Women
D – Cindy Walsh, Laval Comets
MF – Yael Averbuch, New Jersey Wildcats
MF – Sarah Huffman, Pali Blues
MF – Veronica Perez, Seattle Sounders Women
F – Grace Hawkins, Long Island Rough Riders
F – Imen Trodi, Quebec City Amiral
F – Lynn Williams, Pali Blues 

Liz Bogus, who was not named to either of the two teams, scored a brace in the 31st and 77th minutes and led Pali to a 2-0 shutout victory over Quebec City.

“I do not love the way we have come out, but I am confident that once again the girls will do what they need to find a way to get the last one done," Naimo "We need better possession so we do not kill ourselves high pressing too often. We also need to work harder mentally and make less silly mistakes."

Naimo's words would be prophetic as Pali faced the hosts, the Ottawa Fury, in the W-League Final. In spite of how Nikki Washington opened the game by scoring two minutes in, the Blues were unable to hold on to the lead and let super sub Melissa Busque equalize in the 90th minute. The match went to penalties, and Ottawa prevailed, 4-3.

Simply put, this Pali Blues team has another thing coming before it can truly consider itself back with a vengeance under manager Charlie Naimo. It seemed as if all the pieces were in play for Pali to win its third W-League title. But the great teams are able to win penalty shootouts, and Pali failed to join this echelon of footballing company.

And so, the Blues have about nine to 10 months to think about what went wrong for this team. And they will use that time wisely and use it as motivation to perhaps deliver when it matters most.

After all, for Charlie Naimo's Pali Blues...2012 was not the year.

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