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Impact FC trounced by Calgary in season opener

St. Albert Impact FC drop their first match of the season to Calgary Foothills FC by a score of 5-2. The Impact will look to bounce back this week as they're set to play two more games at home.
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Calgary Foothills FC keeper Sarah Dilling snags a St. Albert Impact FC cross into the box during Impact FC's season opener on May 28. JACK FARRELL/St. Albert Gazette

A hectic Rainmaker Saturday afternoon was made even busier as the St. Albert Impact FC played their United Women's Soccer season opener in Riel Park against provincial rivals Calgary Foothills FC.

A strong defensive effort by Calgary stymied the Impact's offence, allowing Foothills FC to leave town with a 5-2 victory over St. Albert.

The match started off slow with most of the action taking place mid-field for the first 15 minutes as each team struggled to set the tone. 

Calgary started picking up momentum at the 17-minute mark with a volley off the boot of Maggie Zacsko that went just off-target. Foothills kept applying pressure with a free kick turned away by Impact keeper Kelti Biggs in the 18th minute before Calgary's Charlotte Potts opened the scoring with a header. 

Playing from behind, the Impact couldn't maintain possession for the next few minutes until Biggs made an excellent save on Calgary's Mya Jones in the 24th minute. The save opened the pitch for an Impact counter-attack, allowing Rachel Barlow to put away St. Albert's first goal of the season, tying the game at one apiece. 

Barlow, who's returning to the Impact for the team's second season of United Women's Soccer action, played her youth soccer in the Calgary Foothills FC system and plays for the University of Calgary Dinos.

Following the Impact goal, the teams fought hard in the mid-field before Calgary's Zacsko had a free kick from 10 yards out miss the net in the 29th minute.

St. Albert's Olivia Chu had a chance to score in the 31st minute, but Calgary's keeper Sarah Dilling made the stop. 

Calgary was dominant for the rest of the half. In the 35th minute a cross into the Impact box finished by a Zacsko header made it 2-1 for Calgary. Just a few minutes later a strike by Calgary's Saorla Miller made it 3-1. 

To start the second half the Impact made some substitutions as Larissa Weber and Megan Duro checked out and Hannah Harper and Nicole Brodeur drew in.

The Impact showed some aggression in the early minutes of the second half, applying pressure on Foothills, but were unable to generate a chance.

St. Albert's Samantha Gouveia was assessed a yellow card in the 56th minute after a physical battle.

After some back and forth action mid-field, Calgary blew the game open as Grace Stordy finished a long run with a left-footed finish in the 70th minute, making the score 4-1. In the 74th minute Calgary made it 5-1 after a goal by Shyanne Hedges. 

The Impact finished the game with pride, however, as Hannah Harper scored in the 84th minute despite some calls from Calgary that the play was offside.

Historically, Calgary now has the advantage over Impact FC since the two clubs split their season series last year with each club winning one game over the other. 

While it wasn't the start to the season the Impact were hoping for, the team still has nine matches to compete for a chance at the UWS national title.

The Impact have two more home games at Riel Park next week as they are set to take on Los Angeles SC on Friday, June 3, at 6:30 p.m., and Kongo SC on Sunday, June 5, at 2 p.m. 

About the Author: Jack Farrell

Jack Farrell joined the St. Albert Gazette in May, 2022.
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