Bay FC: The Newest Name in Women's Pro Soccer

San Jose, CA – The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) has welcomed its latest addition to the roster with the inception of Bay FC, and it's already making waves both on and off the pitch. This new club, based in San Jose, brings with it a blend of talent, ambition, and a commitment to promoting women's soccer like never before.

Bay FC has quickly emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the NWSL, boasting a lineup of top-tier players from around the globe. In fact, the club broke the women’s soccer transfer world record by paying a staggering fee for its biggest star. Zambia forward Racheal Kundananji was acquired from Madrid CFF for a record-breaking $789,000 transfer fee, along with an additional $75,000 in performance-based add-ons. Observing her performance on the pitch, she’s worth every penny and then some.

At the helm is Head Coach Albertin Montoya, whose decades of experience and dedication to player development have already begun to yield impressive results. Under her guidance, Bay FC has cultivated a style of play that is both dynamic and relentless. The women never give up.

Being the newest addition to the league, Bay FC has wasted no time in making its mark on the pitch. While a streaky win-loss record has yet to allow the club to establish itself as a formidable contender for the NWSL title, it’s clear they can challenge any opponent to the final whistle. Sure, the current record of 2-0-7, along with having lost the last five straight, paints a concerning picture. However, this team is just getting started, and while they lost their most recent match versus the Orlando Pride on the road in Florida on May 11, they only lost 0-1. Moreover, that was a penalty kick score logged by Orlando’s Adriana. Bay FC never conceded a point during regular match play. Furthermore, goalkeeper Katlyn Rowland had an amazing career day logging nine saves. They had a chance to equalize in the second half (62’), but came up short.

One thing is clear, Bay FC continues to improve. Their resilience and relentless style is a testament to the thriving soccer culture that permeates the Bay Area. Having a passionate fanbase and a wealth of grassroots support, the region has long been a hotbed for soccer talent, and the club is coming together to capitalize. It will take some time, ,but they’re on the brink of breaking out.

Notably, Bay FC's impact also extends beyond the pitch. As a beacon of empowerment, the club serves as an inspiration to young athletes throughout the Bay Area and beyond. By promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion both on and off the pitch, Bay FC is helping to pave the way for the next generation of women's soccer stars.

The future looks bright for the Bay Area's newest pro club. With a talented roster, a winning mentality, and an unwavering commitment to promoting the beautiful game, Bay FC is poised to leave an indelible mark on the NWSL and inspire generations of soccer players to come. The club returns home to PayPal Park in San Jose, California to compete against their in-state rival, San Diego’s Wave FC. Kickoff is at 7:30 PM pacific. Don’t be surprised if Bay FC logs a win.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering professional soccer since 2014. All images taken by Ahsan Awan for American Presswire and ©2024 Ahsan Awan for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi.


Vancouver Whitecaps FC Impressive Early in MLS Season

Vancouver, B.C. – The Vancouver Whitecaps FC are riding high in the Major League Soccer (MLS) Western Conference standings, currently sitting in second place with a commendable 5-1-2 record. Their recent 2-0 victory over arch-rivals Seattle Sounders FC has solidified their position as strong contenders in the league.

The Whitecaps' journey in April has been a rollercoaster of emotions, with notable highs and lows. Prior to an unfortunate 1-3 defeat at the hands of the LA Galaxy on April 13, the team bounced back with an emphatic 4-0 thrashing of Toronto FC on April 6, showcasing their resilience and attacking prowess.

However, it was their commanding performance against the Seattle Sounders on April 20 that truly underscored their potential. The 2-0 victory not only demonstrated their defensive solidity but also highlighted their ability to capitalize on scoring opportunities when it matters most.

Near the end of the 2023 season (November 30), Whitecaps Head Coach Vanni Sartini said, "Following our last match, I have taken the time to reflect, listen, and will always continue to learn." Indeed, it appears he and his squad have done exactly that, and while the season may be less than a quarter of the way through, they already look like championship contenders.

The upcoming clash against the New York Red Bulls on April 27 presents another opportunity for the Whitecaps to showcase their credentials. The Red Bulls, currently occupying second place in the Eastern Conference, boast a similar points tally to the Whitecaps but with a less impressive 4-4-1 record.

With both teams evenly matched on paper, the encounter promises to be a thrilling affair as the Whitecaps seek to take the lead not only in the Western Conference standings, but in the MLS standings overall.

As the season progresses, the Whitecaps' ambitions extend beyond just securing a playoff berth. With their recent form and performances, they have firmly set their sights on the ultimate prize - the MLS Cup.

With a talented squad and a determined spirit, Vancouver Whitecaps FC are primed to make a serious run for glory. As they continue to defy expectations and garner attention with their impressive displays, fans can dare to dream of the cup resting in BC Place.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering professional soccer, including MLS, since 2014. All images taken by Luanna Andrade for American Presswire and ©2024 Luanna Andrade for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Luanna Andrade can be found on X as @luannacta_ and on Instagram as @luannaandradefoto.


Forever Fabulous, Anchorage Opera Dazzles Again

Once again, Anchorage Opera captivates and delights, this time closing its 61st season with "La Traviata," Giuseppe Verdi's immortal masterpiece and timeless opera that continues to captivate audiences worldwide with its poignant tale of love, sacrifice, and societal judgment. Originally set in mid-19th century Paris, and adaptively transported into the glitzy and glamorous Gatsby-era Roaring 20’s, the opera follows the tragic story of Violetta, a courtesan, and Alfredo, a young bourgeois. Their passionate love affair encounters numerous obstacles, including societal expectations, illness, and misunderstandings, ultimately leading to heartbreak and redemption.

Acclaimed Stage Director Laura Alley’s incredible take on Verdi's masterful composition weaves together melodic richness and emotional depth, creating a tapestry of human experience that resonates across generations. From the exuberant champagne-fueled revelry of the first act to the tender intimacy of Violetta's final moments, the music and color transports audiences into the tumultuous world of the characters, stirring empathy and reflection.

At its core, "La Traviata" delivers a timeless lesson on the complexities of love and the consequences of societal judgment. The relationship between Violetta and Alfredo defies convention, challenging the rigid social norms of their time. Their struggle against societal expectations highlights the enduring tension between personal desires and external pressures, a theme as relevant today as it was in the 19th century.

Anchorage Opera General Director Ben Robinson’s incredible eye for talent brings an exquisite combination of new and familiar names to the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. Soprano Andrea Baker is quite likely breaking out right here and right now in what has been called her star-turn role. This is both her Anchorage Opera debut and her specific role debut as Violetta, a courtesan who must make the difficult choice between a sparkling life of luxury and lavish pleasure, or a life with her new love, Alfredo. Without question, Baker nails it. Her voice shimmers and shines as bright as the jewels bedazzling the women and costumes of the era, and it grips the heart of the audience as she brings her character to life and takes them through Violetta’s journey of love, pain, tragedy and redemption.

Violetta's selfless sacrifice for Alfredo's happiness, despite the personal cost, speaks to the power of love to transcend selfishness and inspire nobility of spirit. Her journey from a life of superficial indulgence to one of profound love and sacrifice serves as a poignant reminder of the transformative potential inherent in human relationships.

Tenor Peter Drackley, a returning artist and fan-favorite in Anchorage, delivers a powerful and soul-squeezing performance as Violetta’s lover, Alfredo. His voice carries to the back of the balcony and frames a brilliant command performance on stage as he wins the love and heart of Violetta through a soaring and tender performance that moves even the most stoic to tears.

"La Traviata" prompts reflection on the consequences of judgment and societal hypocrisy. The characters grapple with the harsh judgment of society, which condemns Violetta for her past while hypocritically indulging in the same pleasures she once enjoyed. This hypocrisy serves as a cautionary tale, urging audiences to examine their own prejudices and the impact of societal norms on individual lives.

Baritone Dennis Jesse, who plays Alfredo’s loving yet judgmental father, Germont, makes his Anchorage Opera debut as well. Germont’s interference leads to heartbreak, followed by forgiveness and redemption. Jesse’s incredible poise and stage presence brings balance to the complex role of a father whose love for his son is clouded by his rigid ideals. In the end, however, his strength and wisdom allow him to see his folly and embrace Violetta in a passionate delivery of guilt-ridden acknowledgment.

Bass-Baritone Isaiah Musik-Ayala, who is also making his Anchorage Opera debut, portrays the Barone, intimidating patron of Violetta and rival of Alfredo. Musik-Ayala’s deep and compelling voice rattles the seat backs in the orchestra as he fights to keep Violetta all to himself.

Audiences will see the cast rounded out by familiar local talent in both principal and chorus roles, including Lisa Willis who lights up the stage as charming socialite Flora; Phil Cheasebro as Flora’s devoted Marquese (and a very convincing bull); Luke Honeck as faithful friend Gastone, who instigates the lovers’ meeting; Kimberly Hayes as Annina, Violetta’s maid who remains loyal and devoted to the end; and Kyle Gantz, the concerned doctor who sadly does not have a cure. The marvelous all-local chorus embraces the debauchery of the time as the rhinestones sparkle and champagne flows like there’s no tomorrow.

Alongside General Director Ben Robinson and Stage Director Laura Alley, esteemed Principal Conductor Brian Demaris and his orchestra once again deliver a performance for the ages. Under the stage management of the always excellent Helen Irene Muller, a fabulous cast and crew has once again created a truly splendid and world class operatic showpiece. The beauty of Anchorage Opera, of course, is that while maintaining such excellence, it also provides a welcoming space for both local talent and traveling artists to create a magnificent experience. Our heroine with a heart of gold may indeed succumb to mortal demise resulting from her own consumption, but with “La Traviata” we see that in an era marked by rapid social change and shifting moral landscapes, this story remains as relevant as ever, inviting audiences to contemplate the enduring truths of human experience. The story’s timeless message of love, sacrifice, and the struggle against societal judgment continues to resonate, reminding us of the profound power of compassion, forgiveness, and empathy in navigating the complexities of the human heart.

Toi toi toi!

Don't miss the opportunity to experience the magic of live opera in the heart of Alaska! Tickets are on sale now and can be obtained through CenterTix.com or by calling 907-263-ARTS (907-263-2787).

Ahsan Awan has been covering opera, performance arts and live events for nearly two decades, and has been covering Anchorage Opera, since the 2022-2023 season. Images taken by Ahsan Awan for Anchorage Opera and ©2024 American Presswire. Editorial use by Anchorage Opera with permission and subject to unrestricted use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. American Presswire can be found on X as @ampresswire and on Instagram as @ampresswire.


Spectacular Start - Anchorage Opera's 2023-24 Season Begins with The Elixir of Love

Anchorage Opera, Alaska's premier opera company, kicked off its highly anticipated 2023-2024 season with a stunning production of Gaetano Donizetti's beloved masterpiece, "The Elixir of Love." The performances, held October 27-29 at the Discovery Theatre inside the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, offered a delightful blend of exquisite singing, engaging storytelling, and impressive staging. This production set the bar high for what promises to be a remarkable season for Anchorage Opera.

"The Elixir of Love" is a lighthearted and humorous romantic opera, and Anchorage Opera's rendition truly captured the essence of the work. Under the guidance of Anchorage Opera's accomplished Principal Conductor, Maestro Brian DeMaris, and Anchorage Opera’s extraordinary new General Director, Ben Robinson, the cast and crew flawlessly brought Donizetti's music and Felice Romani's libretto to life.

Ben Robinson’s debut as General Director struck an exceptionally high note with this production, for which he also played the role of Stage Director. Partnering with the incredibly talented Set Designer Lauren Miller, Costume Coordinator Kaeli Braden, and Costume Consultant Elle Janecek, Robinson transported the audience to a classic television studio soundstage during the nostalgic 1980s. Bright colors and bold looks abounded within the costuming, makeup, and inventive set pieces.

Technical innovation was seen in the clever use of projector screens to set the scene solidly in the intended decade and give the audience a visually enhanced experience, integrating videos into the live production. The audience were treated to ads for DeLorean cars and aerobic workouts, along with real-time scene projections from the “sound stage.” The bespoke commercials for the Elixir of Love itself -- “d’amore – by Dulcamara” -- particularly struck a chord, landing like a delightfully corny 1980s perfume advertisement.

Robinson also added to the overall experience by creating charming supertitle translations, with the text adjusted for the setting while maintaining (even enhancing!) the comedy. Little adjustments to the translation – such as a character going off to the SAG lounge or signing a contract to work for the war movie across town instead of enlisting in the actual army – kept the audience engaged and in the moment.

Once again, Anchorage Opera assembled a talented cast, featuring both familiar faces and newcomers who showcased their exceptional vocal prowess. The standout performances of the evenings were led by the charismatic tenor, Luke Honeck, who portrayed Nemorino. Honeck is a local star in his first leading role. His rendition of "Una furtiva lagrima" left the audiences in awe with its emotional depth and lyrical beauty. He brought the house down – and he did some very impressive moonwalking, as well.

Radiant soprano Lindsay Ohse, who returned to Anchorage to grace the stage as sitcom leading lady Adina, was enchanting; both range and acting skills shone brightly. Her vocals seemed effortless, especially in her gorgeous final aria, “Prendi.”

Notable also is baritone Jonathan Hays as Belcore, whose strong stage presence and resonant voice added depth to the production as he portrayed the sitcom’s swaggering sergeant and lady’s man, with the charisma of David Hasselhoff. Furthermore, the audiences were treated to the delightful and mischievous antics of the quack Doctor Dulcamara, the hustling elixir salesman/TV studio Craft Services caterer played by bass-baritone Philip Cokorinos, whose comic timing and vocal finesse was a true delight. Local star and soprano Christabel Sosa added flair, fun, and sass to the stage as Giannetta, “TV’s next it-girl.”

The chorus and supporting cast also deserve praise for their strong and unified performances, making the scenes truly come to life. Everyone looked like they were having the time of their lives, resplendent in blue eyeshadow and hot pink lips. The audience laughed out loud at the antics and physical comedy of cast members such as Becky Stubbs, Cady Lynn O’Brien, and Emily Darby; riotous chorus scenes were a highlight of the production, with every cast member clearly committed and engaged.

Under Maestro Brian DeMaris' capable direction, the Anchorage Opera’s orchestra delivered a remarkable musical accompaniment. Their performance was characterized by precise phrasing, lush orchestration, and a harmonious blend of voices and instruments, ensuring that Donizetti's score was brought to life in all its grandeur.

First-time opera-goer Kim Stevens, who was also the winner of the first performance’s “dress like it’s the 80s” drawing, said, “The show was unbelievably funny. It leaves me wanting to come back and see more. The show is unexpected in the best way, especially to those who have never seen opera before.”

Never to be forgotten, Anchorage Opera’s incredible Stage Manager, Helen Irene Muller – what a rock star! Together with her talented Assistant Stage Manager, Katie Bringold, everything occurring behind the curtain and backstage went perfectly. That kind of leadership is priceless, and both Anchorage Opera and the community are lucky to have such exceptional talent.

With exceptional performances, creative staging, and a captivating rendition of Donizetti's masterwork, Anchorage Opera has set the bar high for the rest of the season. Opera enthusiasts and newcomers alike are in for a treat as they await the forthcoming productions in what promises to be an extraordinary season for Anchorage Opera.

Don't miss the opportunity to experience the magic of live opera in the heart of Alaska! Next up is Derrick Wang’s “Scalia / Ginsburg,” a supremely comical look at the highly improbable friendship of two of our nation’s great Supreme Court justices, the late Antonin Scalia, and the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg. That production will take place February 2-4 at the Sydney Laurence Theatre in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are on sale now and can be obtained through CenterTix.com or by calling 907-263-ARTS (907-263-2787).

Ahsan Awan has been covering opera, performance arts and live events for nearly two decades, and has been covering Anchorage Opera, since the 2022-2023 season. Images taken by Denny Wells for Anchorage Opera and ©2023 Denny Wells. Editorial use by American Presswire with permission and subject to unrestricted use under license unless otherwise noted. Images taken by Brian C. Chen, MD for Anchorage Opera ©2023 Brian C. Chen. Editorial use by American Presswire with permission and subject to unrestricted use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Denny Wells can be found on X as @dennywellsak and on Instagram as @dennywellsforalaska. Brian C. Chen can be found on Instagram as @bccak.


Huskies Win! Failed Fourth-Down Gambles Lead to Loss for Ducks

 

Seattle, WA – In a highly anticipated matchup, the Oregon Ducks faced off against their long-time rivals, the Washington Huskies, in what was the final game for both teams within the Pac-12 Conference. The game was a rollercoaster of emotions for both teams and their passionate fan bases. Despite having several opportunities to put points on the board, the Ducks' decision to go for it on fourth down not once, but twice, ultimately proved costly. These gambles left the team and its supporters in shock as they watched a hard-fought game slip away.

The game started with high expectations for the Ducks, who entered the contest as underdogs by 3.5 points. They displayed flashes of brilliance, with their dynamic offense showcasing their talents, and they demonstrated strong offensive line strength and a powerful running game led by Bucky Irving and Jordan James. However, what looked like a promising day quickly turned into a nail-biting affair. The Ducks found themselves in crucial fourth-down situations, and it's the decisions they made in those moments that will be dissected and analyzed for days, weeks, and months to come.

The Huskies opened strong with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Michael Penix, Jr. to Giles Jackson. The extra point by Grady Gross would make it 7-0 Huskies. Oregon would follow with a rushing TD by Irving from 12 yards out. Rather than tie the game at 7, the Ducks chose to go for 2 and converted, going up 8-7, after tight end Patrick Herbert ran the ball in.

The game would go back and forth from there until Oregon, down 18-22 with under a minute remaining in the first half, put together a brilliant drive all the way down to the Washington 3-yard line. However, rather than kick a field goal, take 3 points, and make the score 21-22 at the half, the Ducks tried to go for it on fourth down and failed.

Washington would extend their lead in the third quarter, making the score 29-18. Oregon would march back strong, but once again face a fourth down in the red zone. This time at the Washington 8-yard line, the Ducks would again choose not to kick a field goal for 3 points and would fail to convert.

On the drives that followed, the Ducks defense would stop the Huskies, and the offense would score. They would again go for 2, and they were successful. Washington’s lead was narrowed to 26-29, but Oregon should have been up 32-29 at this point. They would stop the Huskies again on the next drive, and they would score on their own offensive possession. The lead changed, and it was 33-29 Oregon, but it should have been 39-29.

Now late in the fourth quarter, the Huskies needed only one score to regain the lead and win. Oregon should have had a 10-point lead and breathing room. Penix did his job and led the Huskies to a late score despite wincing in pain and reaching for his ribs and abdomen after multiple hits. The score went to 36-33 Washington as the lead changed back to the home team.

At this point, the Ducks were scrambling. They did manage to get downfield. They had a chance once more, but failed to convert for what would have surely been a game-winning touchdown. Instead, they settled for a last-second field goal attempt, one that would have sent the game into overtime. This time, however, the attempt was missed. The game was over. The Huskies won. Final score: 36-33.

Conventional wisdom in football would typically dictate a field goal attempt in situations where a team faces fourth down in the red zone. Unfortunately, Head Coach Dan Lanning, and his Offensive Coordinator, Will Stein, chose to roll the dice and go for it – twice! The Oregon offense, filled with confidence, lined up to execute the plays each time. The result, on both occasions, was heartbreaking for the Ducks.

The loss left the Oregon Ducks and their fans in a state of shock and disappointment. While fourth-down gambles can sometimes be the right call, the decision to forgo field goal attempts in two critical situations cost them the game. Hindsight is often 20/20, and the debate surrounding these decisions will likely linger for a very long time.

This loss serves as a reminder of the fine line between bold and reckless decisions in football. The Ducks showed immense confidence in their ability to convert on fourth down, but it came at the expense of crucial points. As the season continues, they must learn from this experience and strive to make more calculated decisions in critical moments.

In the world of college football, there's always another game, another opportunity for redemption. For the Oregon Ducks, this loss will sting for a long while, but on the field, they must regroup, learn from their mistakes, and come back even stronger. The rivalry with the Washington Huskies remains as intense as ever, and Ducks fans can rest assured that their team will be back, hungrier than ever, in the battles to come.

Next up for the Ducks is a return home to face the Washington State Cougars. That game will be televised on ABC and will begin at 12:30 PM Pacific on October 21. The Huskies, meanwhile, will face the Arizona State Sundevils. That game will be televised on Fox Sports 1, and it will begin at 7:30 PM Pacific on October 21.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for nearly two decades, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. Images taken by Truong Nguyen are ©2023 Truong Nguyen made available to American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Truong Nguyen can be found on X as @TruongWin and on Instagram as @truongwin_.


Oregon Ducks Soar Past Stanford Cardinal in Dominant Display

Palo Alto, CA – Flashback two weeks - in an always-thrilling clash between teams that have produced many memorable moments over the years, the Oregon Ducks dominated the Stanford Cardinal on September 30, 2023. In what is the final season of Pac-12 Conference play, this victory showcased the unwavering determination and coaching prowess of Ducks Head Coach Dan Lanning, while Stanford Head Coach Troy Taylor found his team facing yet another setback. Last weekend was a bye for both the Ducks and the Cardinal.

Just one week prior to their encounter with the Ducks, the Cardinal had put up an impressive fight against the Arizona Wildcats, narrowly losing by a heartbreaking single point, 21-20. That same Arizona Wildcat team improved enough to take USC all the way to triple overtime at the Los Angeles Coliseum last weekend. Unfortunately, they lost that game 43-41. Still, for the Cardinal, for a team that had suffered an embarrassing loss to the FCS's Big Sky Conference Sacramento State Hornets earlier in the season, this near-victory against a fellow FBS and Pac-12 Conference opponent hinted at a potential turnaround. Unfortunately for Stanford, the momentum gained from that close contest quickly dissipated when they faced the high-flying Ducks.

Under the stewardship of Coach Lanning, the Ducks have been nothing short of outstanding this season. Their performance on the grass in Palo Alto was no exception. Oregon quarterback Bo Nix continued to shine, delivering another outstanding performance that left spectators in awe. Nix's impressive display included precise passes and smart decision-making, highlighting his maturity as a quarterback. He orchestrated the Ducks' offense with precision, keeping the Stanford defense on their toes throughout the game. Nix's ability to read the field and exploit weaknesses in the Cardinal defense was a testament to his growth as a leader on the field. Indeed, he looked every bit the Heisman candidate he surely is at this point in the season.

Oregon's punishing defense was equally impressive. Led by Coach Lanning's tactical brilliance, the Ducks defensive unit executed its game plan flawlessly. Characterized by its relentless pursuit of excellence, and perhaps more reminiscent of the iconic Gang Green defense of the 1990s, the Ducks' defense was stingy and simply refused to offer Stanford any opportunity to advance the ball. They stifled Stanford's offensive plays, shut down rushing lanes and applied relentless pressure on every member of the Cardinal offense. Stanford's offensive line struggled to contain the relentless pass rush, resulting in multiple sacks and hurried throws that often missed their mark. The Cardinal just couldn’t get anything going.

With this resounding victory, the Oregon Ducks improved their season record to a pristine 5-0, remaining undefeated in their pursuit of a championship in this final season of Pac-12 football. Their dominance on both sides of the ball has established them as a formidable force in the college football landscape, and as a viable playoff contender.

On the other side of the field, the Stanford Cardinal find themselves in a challenging position, falling to a disappointing 1-4 record for the season. As they prepare to transition to the Atlantic Coast Conference next year, Stanford can only hope to rectify their course and climb up from the bottom of the standings. Coach Taylor and his staff will need to regroup, make necessary adjustments, recruit exceptionally well, and continue developing talent to be competitive in the future.

In the world of college football, every game is a chapter in a team's journey, and the Ducks are penning an impressive story this season. Their victory over Stanford not only showcases their talent but also serves as a testament to Dan Lanning's exceptional coaching ability. While the Ducks look ahead to more challenges in their quest for greatness, the Cardinal must focus on rebuilding and finding their footing.

Oregon now exits the priceless bye week that gave them additional time to prepare for what very well may be their toughest game, a trip to Seattle to face the equally undefeated Washington Huskies on Saturday, October 14. By now, the team has arrived. Make no mistake, the Huskies will be ready. They had a bye as well. The Cardinal head to Colorado to face Coach Deion Sanders and the Buffaloes in a primetime matchup at Folsom Field in Boulder. That game will be on ESPN on the evening of Friday, October 13. Exciting as that may be, all eyes are surely on the action in Montlake. Fans have the Ducks versus the Huskies on the field at 12 PM PST on Saturday, October 14, and ESPN College Gameday on campus as well.

It's wild in Seattle right now. There's a lot on the line for both teams. The winner likely marches on toward a Pac-12 Conference championship game berth, and has the potential to be selected to play in the College Football Playoff. The loser could still end up in a bowl game in January, but they might end up playing a less marketable opponent, and they certainly wouldn't be expected to compete for a national championship. The score doesn't matter at the end of the day. Winning is all that matters. That's the only path forward right now.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for nearly two decades, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. Images taken by Jason Reed for American Presswire and ©2023 Jason Reed for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Images taken by Ahsan Awan for American Presswire ©2023 Ahsan Awan for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Jason Reed can be found on X as @FieldofDD and on Instagram as @fieldofdaydreams.


Republic FC Clinches Dramatic 1-0 Victory Over El Paso, Remains First in the West

Sacramento, CA - In an otherwise nerve-wracking encounter at Heart Health Park, Sacramento Republic FC emerged victorious with a late, dramatic 1-0 win over the El Paso Locomotive on September 16, 2023. The game had fans on the edge of their seats as it remained locked at nil until Sacramento's Luis Felipe delivered a stunning header into the back of the net, sending the crowd into a frenzy. This thrilling victory not only showcased the tenacity of the Republic FC but also solidified their position at the top of the USL Championship western division.

The match began with both teams displaying their prowess, engaging in a back-and-forth battle that kept supporters on their toes. The first half of the game was marked by excellent defensive efforts and some impressive saves from both goalkeepers. Sacramento's attack relentlessly pressured El Paso's defense, creating numerous scoring opportunities.

Despite their best efforts, Sacramento found themselves continually thwarted by the brilliance of El Paso's Mexican goalkeeper, Benny Diaz. Showcasing his remarkable reflexes and positioning, Diaz kept a clean sheet during regulation time, denying Sacramento's attackers on a half dozen occasions.

As the clock ticked away and the match seemed destined to end in a goalless draw, the fans at Heart Health Park held their collective breath. Sacramento had dominated possession and generated a half-dozen incredible shots on goal throughout the match, but Diaz remained an impenetrable wall. The tension reached its peak in the 90th minute, as the referee signaled six minutes of stoppage time.

In those dying moments of the game, at 90+4’, Sacramento's Luis Felipe emerged as the hero. A well-placed cross found the midfielder perfectly positioned in the box, and with exquisite precision, he rose above the defense and connected with the ball using his head. The power behind the header left Diaz with no chance as the ball sailed into the back of the net, sparking wild celebrations among the players and fans alike.

The 1-0 victory was a testament to Republic FC's resilience and determination. They had dominated the match, constantly pressuring El Paso's defense, and were finally rewarded for their efforts. Luis Felipe's late-game heroics secured all three points for the boys in old glory red and sent Heart Health Park into euphoria.

This crucial win not only added to the Republic FC's points tally but also allowed them to create critically important separation at the top of the table. With this victory, they now sit alone in first place, setting themselves up as strong contenders for a deep playoff run.

As Republic FC continues their quest for USL Championship glory, their fans can look back at this thrilling 1-0 victory over El Paso as a defining moment in their season. The relentless pursuit of victory exemplified by the team on that fateful night in September 2023 serves as a testament to their unwavering commitment to success. Sacramento fans can undoubtedly expect more heart-stopping moments and memorable victories as the team marches forward in pursuit of greatness.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering professional soccer, including MLS and the San Jose Earthquakes, since 2014. All images taken for American Presswire and subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi.


Quakes Secure Crucial Win, Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

San Jose, CA - In a thrilling showdown on September 16, 2023, the San Jose Earthquakes clashed with Real Salt Lake in a high-stakes Major League Soccer MLS match at PayPal Park. With playoff hopes hanging in the balance, the Quakes knew that they needed a victory and the coveted three points that accompany it to maintain their position in the competitive Western Conference. What unfolded on the pitch was a rollercoaster of emotions for fans as the Quakes roared to an early lead, only to see Real Salt Lake mount a determined comeback. In the end, it was the Quakes who emerged victorious, earning a crucial 2-1 win that propelled them to seventh place in the West, with 40 points.

The San Jose faithful at PayPal Park were treated to an electric start as forward Jeremy Ebobisse wasted no time getting the Quakes on the scoreboard. In just the second minute of the match, Ebobisse showcased his scoring prowess with a well-placed goal, sending the crowd into a frenzy. It was the ideal start for San Jose, setting the tone for an exciting evening of soccer.

Building on this early momentum, the Quakes continued to press forward and were rewarded once again, this time in the 15th minute. Brazilian defender Rodrigues showcased his offensive capabilities by finding the back of the net, extending the Quakes' lead to 2-0. At this point, it seemed like San Jose was on a mission to dominate Real Salt Lake.

However, as any soccer fan knows, the beautiful game is filled with twists and turns. Real Salt Lake, determined not to be outdone, began to settle into the match and gradually shifted the momentum in their favor. The Quakes, despite their early dominance, struggled to find the back of the net for the remainder of the night.

Electric Colombian forward Cristian Arango of Real Salt Lake capitalized on this shift in momentum, narrowing the gap with a crucial goal in the 44th minute. As the teams headed into halftime, the score stood at 2-1 in favor of the Quakes, but the match was far from decided.

The second half saw both teams battling fiercely for control of the game, with numerous chances created on both ends of the field. San Jose's defense stepped up to the challenge, led by a solid performance from their phenomenal Brazilian goalkeeper, Daniel. Real Salt Lake pressed relentlessly, seeking an equalizer, but the Quakes' defense held firm, denying them any further goals.

When the final whistle blew, it was the San Jose Earthquakes who emerged victorious with a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake. The three crucial points earned in this match propelled the Quakes right to the line, seventh place in the Western Conference, keeping their playoff hopes alive.

As the Quakes savor this vital win, they must now prepare for another challenging road match. On Wednesday, September 20, they will square off against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. This encounter promises to be a stern test for both teams, as the Timbers' home advantage, including their unique artificial turf surface, often plays to their favor.

With the playoffs still within reach, both the Quakes and the Timbers will be hungry for a victory. Fans can expect an intense battle as these two teams clash in their pursuit of postseason glory. For the San Jose Earthquakes, the journey continues, and their determination to secure a playoff berth remains unwavering because, as they say in San Jose, the Earthquakes never say die.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering professional soccer, including MLS and the San Jose Earthquakes, since 2014. All images taken by Robert Longan for American Presswire and ©2023 Robert Longan for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Robert Longan can be found on X as @RobbieLPhoto and on Instagram as @robbielonganphoto_and_graphics.


Stanford Suffers Shocking Loss to Sac State as Troy Taylor Faces Familiar Foe

Palo Alto, CA - In a stunning turn of events, the Stanford Cardinal football team suffered a 30-23 defeat at the hands of Sacramento State, a lower division FCS Big Sky Conference member, on Saturday, September 16, 2023. The loss marked a disappointing start to the tenure of Head Coach Troy Taylor, who was hired from Sac State late last year.

Coach Taylor's return to the field to face a team he once called his turned out to be a bitter one as the Hornets, led by their quarterback Kaiden Bennett, handed Stanford their first loss to an FCS program since 2005. Bennett's heroics included a game-winning 49-yard touchdown pass with just 1:32 left on the clock, leaving the Cardinal stunned and their fans in disbelief.

The matchup was eagerly anticipated as it pitted Taylor against many of the players he had recruited and developed during his time in Sacramento. However, it was the Hornets who emerged victorious, causing concern for Stanford's prospects going forward in the 2023 season.

Stanford's schedule offers no respite, with all but one of their remaining opponents ranked in the Top 25. Their only hope for a reprieve seems to lie in the traditional "Big Game" against Cal, who currently remains unranked. However, as the old adage goes, "anything can happen in a rivalry game."

One of the glaring issues for Stanford in this loss was their performance on both sides of the ball. On offense, the quarterback position remains unsettled, the offensive line has yet to find its rhythm, and the running back depth chart is a cause for concern. On the defensive side, the secondary looked inexperienced and potentially sluggish, the linebackers struggled in both the flats and zone coverage, and the Cardinal defense appeared helpless against dual-threat quarterbacks like Bennett.

Talent and depth are emerging as critical concerns for the Cardinal as they navigate a challenging schedule. Coach Taylor will need to address these issues swiftly if Stanford hopes to remain competitive in the coming weeks.

Beyond the struggles on the field, Stanford faces a significant shift in its football future as the university prepares to exit the Pac-12 conference and join the ACC next year. Conference realignment and membership changes loom large on the horizon, adding another layer of complexity to the challenges facing the Cardinal.

The loss to the Hornets serves as a wake-up call for Stanford and their faithful fanbase, of which it seemed perhaps only half were on hand on Saturday. Attendance was listed as 23,848, or 47% capacity. Coach Taylor and his team have their work cut out for them as they aim to rebound from this early-season setback and prove they can compete in a formidable football landscape.

As the 2023 season unfolds, all eyes will be on Stanford, watching closely to see how they respond to adversity and what the future holds for this storied program.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. All images taken by Jason Reed for American Presswire and ©2023 Jason Reed for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Jason Reed can be found on X as @FieldofDD and on Instagram as @fieldofdaydreams.


Bears Stage Remarkable Comeback, Beat Vandals 31-17

Berkeley, CA – High on the hill inside California Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 16, 2023, the University of California Golden Bears football team displayed determination and resilience as they overcame a 17-point deficit to secure a 31-17 victory over the University of Idaho Vandals. The game marked the first meeting between the two schools in nearly 90 years, and the Bears continued their undefeated streak, now standing at 5-0 against the Vandals.

The Bears entered this contest seeking redemption following a disappointing 14-10 loss at home to Auburn just one week earlier. The memory of that mistake-filled defeat seemed to linger in the air as they took the field once again. Compounding their challenges, they were without their star running back, Jaydn Ott, who remained sidelined due to an injury sustained in the game against Auburn.

Early on, it appeared that California might be in for another frustrating outing. The Vandals surged to a 17-0 lead in the first 18 minutes of play, and at one point, they held a 200-47 advantage in total yards. However, the Bears refused to back down, showcasing their character and resilience.

One of the standout performances of the game came from running back Isaiah Ifanse. The Montana State transfer carried the ball 22 times for an impressive 137 yards and contributed a crucial touchdown. It marked Ifanse's first career 100-yard game at Cal and the 18th of his college career. Ashton Stredick also played a pivotal role in anchoring the Bears' ground game, accumulating 77 yards on 11 carries and helping the team average an impressive 6.0 yards per carry while outgaining the Vandals on the ground by a margin of 256-108.

Quarterback Sam Jackson V was another key contributor, both through the air and on the ground. Jackson passed for 108 yards and two touchdowns, showcasing his ability to lead the Bears' offense effectively. He also rushed for 41 yards and added another touchdown, despite being forced out of the game following a hard hit. Jackson's performance played a crucial role in the Bears' comeback.

The turning point of the game came in the second half when the Bears staged an incredible comeback, scoring 31 unanswered points, with 17 of those points coming in the second half alone. This remarkable resurgence not only showcased the team's physical prowess but also their mental toughness and ability to adapt to challenging situations.

The Bears' defense continued to be a bright spot, forcing three more turnovers during the game, bringing their season total to 10 turnovers forced. Cal entered the day leading the Pac-12 in turnovers forced, demonstrating their ability to disrupt opposing offenses.

Cal coach Justin Wilcox acknowledged that while he expected a better start from his team, he was proud of their ability to rally and secure the victory. With this hard-fought win, the Golden Bears are looking ahead to their final season in the Pac-12, and they will face a tough test next Saturday night on the road in Seattle against No. 8 Washington. The lessons learned from their comeback victory over Idaho will undoubtedly serve them well as they prepare for the upcoming challenge. Whether the experience versus Idaho was the wakeup call remains to be seen. Cal plays Washington at 7:30 PM on Saturday, September 23. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. All images taken by Jason Reed for American Presswire and ©2023 Jason Reed for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Jason Reed can be found on X as @FieldofDD and on Instagram as @fieldofdaydreams.