Reeling from their longest losing streak of the season, the USC women’s soccer team will look to get back on track when they head north to the state of Oregon and battle both Oregon and Oregon State this upcoming weekend.
The Women of Troy (8-5-2, 2-4-0 Pac-12) have lost three games in a row, but during their visit to the Beaver State, they will have a chance to turn things around against an Oregon team (6-6-2, 2-3-1) that has lost their last two games, as well as an Oregon State squad (0-12-3, 0-6) still without its first win.
Pac-12 play has not gone the way this team hoped it would so far, and given USC’s superb pre-conference play performance, it is safe to say the team did not expect to lose four games through their first six.
Yet that is the reality of the ruthless gauntlet that is women’s soccer in the Pac-12. Beating conference foes remains a tall task for any team, and the Women of Troy have been yet another testament to that.
“This is the Pac-12,” USC head coach Keidane McAlpine said. “You can’t overlook anyone.”
Having already dropped four toughly contested games without playing three of the top five teams in the conference, they have fallen prey to the high level of competition this conference brings every single match.
But all is not lost for this squad, especially given the fight they showed throughout their slate of nonconference games and their resilient mindset going into this four-game road trip.
“I like the fact that we’ve given ourselves a chance in every game,” McAlpine said. “I think the biggest thing for us is we have to remember that we are a quality team.”
Their willingness to return to their winning ways may be present, but with only three matches left after this weekend’s duo, time is quickly expiring.
These two matches will be crucial, as the Women of Troy will be paired up with some of their weaker opponents in the conference. If USC comes out of the weekend unscathed and undefeated, the team’s confidence will take a much-needed boost, as will its record in conference play.
On Friday, their offense will be tested when they face an Oregon team that has been particularly stingy on defense. The Ducks have allowed only one goal or fewer in 12 of their 14 games this season. With the Trojan offense having scored only a single goal in its past three games, the battle to put the ball in the net will be key.
“We just haven’t put enough quality chances on frame,” McAlpine pointed out. “The biggest thing is to remain aggressive, with the understanding that one of them is going to go in.”
Sunday’s match against the Beavers will also test the team’s ability to take care of winnable games. Though winless, Oregon State will be looking to get that first victory on the board, and seeing the Women of Troy with three straight losses will only boost their confidence even more.
With every match from here on out being crucial, the Women of Troy will need to jumpstart their turnaround this very weekend when they try to get back to their winning ways. Two wins to start this set of matches away from McAlister Field, and the subsequent six points could vault them back into the mix in the ever-competitive Pac-12.
“The road is going to be good for us,” McAlpine said. “[It is] a chance to refocus, to really get back together and regroup.”