The countdown toward a medal at the World Masters Games for Revolution FC kicked off in Sunday's season opener in the St. Albert Women's Soccer League.
Krista Gordon scored twice in the opening six minutes as the Red Menace rolled over the 2008 tier I champion Pink Panthers 5-1 at Salisbury field.
"We have a lot of good individual players and over the last two years we've come together as a team and that's going to take us far in Sydney," Gordon said after the team's 25th win in 33 games.
Since their inception two years ago for the masters games, Revolution went undefeated in 16 games as the 2007 division one pennant winners and tier I playoff champions. Last year they were semifinalists as the third-ranked team in the playoffs. A 2-2 draw with the Morinville Ladies in early July snapped a 22-game winning streak. Revolution was undefeated in 27 games when they dropped a 5-2 decision to the Alleycats during the August long weekend.
"No disrespect to anybody else by all means because we've had our losses as well but we use this as practice." Gordon said. "We have a good team and we're looking at practicing and gearing towards the games."
The team's origins date back to the 2005 masters games in Edmonton with the Scona Blues, the fourth-place finishers in the 30-37 B division. Several of those players make up the Revolution roster of mostly 30-something mothers with strong backgrounds in the sport at the competitive level. Some new players have also jumped on board for the Oct. 10 to 18 competition in Australia.
"This is the year for us," said Gordon, 34.
The mother of two buried shots two minutes apart en route to a 5-0 lead at halftime. In the fourth minute the explosive striker hooked a wind-aided ball into the top far corner. Her second marker was a low boot on a breakaway.
Gordon also assisted on Kim Joy's tap-in goal in the 17th minute. A great ball by Allyson Fung to Gordon in open territory set up a two-on-one for Joy to finish off.
Hannah Kaliel and Kristina Solikowski also tallied in the first half.
"To score some quick goals right away got our momentum going," said Gordon, who shared the 2008 division one Golden Boot award with Suzanne Gaetz of Morinville with 14 goals apiece in league play.
Prior to their season debut Revolution squeezed in a couple of practices to get the competitive juices flowing.
"It was good to get our legs going and still play at a half decent level," said Gordon, the 2007 division two scoring leader with 26 goals in 12 wins. "We feel good, not only for winning but getting some goals."
Last year injuries and pregnancies took their toll on Revolution in league play with a third-place 7-2-5 record in division one. In the playoffs the fourth-place 6-6-2 Panthers upset Revolution 4-0 in a rain-soaked semifinal.
"To have your first game against this team is great," Gordon said. "In the latter part of the year we had some rough games and we fell apart a little bit. [In the playoffs] they came out strong against us and they ended up winning it all."
Slow starts are nothing new for the veteran-laden Panthers.
"Usually the first few games are pretty bad but then we pick it up halfway through the season," said Jenni Kreller.
Her goal 12 minutes into the second half spoiled Deanne Karner's shutout bid. Revolution's back line left a gaping hole for the opportunistic Panther to barge through and go top shelf on Karner.
"I kicked it high because I knew the sun would be in her eyes," said Kreller, 27, who played just about every position on the field except in net.
With their starting keeper out with an injury the Panthers used two different replacements in the loss. A handful of new players also made their team debut. The main core has been together for five years, including a sprinkling of ex-St. Albert Flyers.
"Just to get used to the way everybody else played together again was really hard," Kreller said.
Last year's Cinderella playoff run by the Panthers culminated with their first league title in team history. Late in the tier I final Leah Muntain fired the championship-winning goal against Morinville, the 2007 semifinalists and four-time division one pennant winners. The 2-1 setback was only the second loss of the year for Morinville.
"We're willing to do it again," Kreller said of the Panthers' bid to repeat. "It's a good feeling to be the champions but we're not going in expecting to win it again. We know we have to work for it."
The rematch of last year's final is on tap this Sunday at 5 p.m. at Eldorado field. Morinville is coming off a 6-1 drubbing of the Alleycats. Gaetz led all scorers with three goals.
The next game for Revolution is 5 p.m. Sunday against the Kickers at Alpine field.