Fusion women host Whitecaps tonight - Ventura County Star
The Ventura County Fusion women's soccer team enjoyed its trip to play the Vancouver Whitecaps last month.
"Playing up there was really pretty cool," said coach Michelle Myers. "They have a really nice setup up there. They had a band playing before we got there, a good crowd and a little beer garden behind one goal."
But perhaps the most memorable part of the trip for the Fusion was being able to line up against veteran U.S. international Tiffeny Milbrett, a 1996 Olympic gold medalist and leading scorer, alongside Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain, of the 1999 World Cup-winning team.
"Playing against Tiffeny Milbrett was very special for some of the girls," said Myers.
Local soccer fans will be able to watch Milbrett, and several of the Whitecaps exciting young Canadian players, face the Fusion tonight at Buena High. The Fusion (-1) is coming off its first W-League victory last Saturday, a 3-2 decision against the Los Angeles Legends.
Yet the Fusion got its first point in its history against the Whitecaps, a 2-2 tie on May 17 behind two goals from Oxnard's Tenley Garcia.
"We were lucky in the game against them in that (Milbrett) was not on target in many of her opportunities," said Myers. "She's so dangerous.
"She did create one of their goals when she took corner, saw a player make a run and got the ball right to her. She's fun to watch."
The first-choice center back pairing of Kasey Moore and Kasey Johnson is expected to return to the lineup tonight after a one-game absence, but the Fusion will be searching for a solution up front.
Striker Emily Wynne will attempt to play through an injury while forwards Jamie Bell, Shari Nishikawa, winger Maddy Klovstad and midfielder Katie Suits will be missing.
"We may be missing some offensive punch," said Myers.
Defender Danielle Russell, who scored the game-winning goal against the Legends, is expected to play one day after graduating from Long Beach Wilson High.
The fourth-place Fusion men (3-2-2) visit the sixth-place Bakersfield Brigade (2-1-5) on Saturday night.