GULF COAST TEXANS REACH WPSL FINAL

PENSACOLA, Fla. — Dushawne (Doc) Simpson was musing to his assistant coach about how they’d had teams that had gone through games in which, no matter what they tried, the ball just wouldn’t go in — and here he was watching it happen to mighty Oklahoma FC.

“I said, ‘Maybe we’re going to get one now and steal it.’ ”

Sure enough, a fine defensive effort by OFC deep into overtime went wrong, with the ball falling to Aztec MA striker Greta Samuelsdottir’s favored left foot, and the Icelandic forward finished with aplomb.

Voila!

Samuelsdottir’s 117th-minute strike, just three or four minutes before penalty kicks would have settled the first semifinal in Saturday’s Women’s Premier Soccer League doubleheader, sent Aztec to its second WPSL title game in three years with an unexpected 1-0 victory.

Aztec (10-1-1) advances to a showdown Sunday (at 1 p.m. CT) with host Gulf Coast Texans (10-0-0), who relied on their fantastic Jamaicans to pull away to a 3-0 triumph over Salt Lake United in the nightcap at Ashton Brosnaham Stadium.

Both games were tight and lively, with the better side falling in the opener and triumphing in the second game, but Aztec — a suburban Boston team from the same club that won the title two years ago with Boston Aztec Breakers Reserves — likely will require another special something to put up their best fight in the final.

Gulf Coast, unlike Aztec, has a full roster, is playing before a passionate home crowd and didn’t need 120 minutes to prevail in the semifinals.

“I said to my coaches after the game: Hopefully, this [Texans-Salt Lake United] game plays out the way our game played out, because our girls are exhausted.”

No such luck. The Texans, a second-year WPSL team, picked up second-half goals from Jamaicans Tina Murray and Shakira Dawson and another, deep in stoppage, from Danish striker Ida Gregersen to hand Salt Lake United (8-1-2) its first defeat.

Murray made the big imprint, finishing off a superb 54th-minute sequence to give Gulf Coast the advantage, then feeding the oft-spectacular Duncan to close another fine series of passes to secure the victory in the 84th.

The goal was her ninth of the season, and so was the assist. more