Blaze fall in playoff opener 0
The Portage Blaze fell 4-1 to Wolves United in their Winnipeg Women's Soccer League playoff opener in Winnipeg on Monday. (File photo)
The Portage Blaze had some tough slogging to open the playoffs.
The Blaze, tasked with facing the top-seeded Wolves United club to open the Winnipeg Women's Soccer League playoffs, fell 4-1 in Winnipeg on Monday night. The Wolves finished the regular season at 12-1-1, with their only loss coming to the 5-5-4 Blaze.
Portage fell behind 2-0 within the first 15 minutes and were down 3-0 at halftime. The Wolves tacked on another marker in the second half before Sarah Mansell helped Portage escape the whitewash with her tally with about 25 minutes remaining.
Head coach Bryan Mintenko said right from the get-go, the Blaze just didn't seem to have it.
"We were very flat right from the opening whistle and just couldn't win any challenges," said Mintenko. "We couldn't get our energy level up, didn't have much pace, and it was just a lethargic effort, I would say.
"Nobody wanted to work hard tonight, it seemed.
Mintenko noted that the Blaze were forced to play without any substitutions in the second half, as nagging injuries sidelined some of the Blaze players.
The Blaze will play their second game of the three-game group stage Aug. 28 when the Brunswick Sting visit Republic of Manitobah Park at 7 p.m.
Mintenko has a laundry list of improvements he'd like to see the team make against the 8-3-3 Sting.
"We'll definitely try to be more aggressive at midfield, and win more challenges, be first to the ball," said Mintenko. "We need much better pace to the game, to be much more energetic."
For more, please see Tuesday's edition of the Portage Daily Graphic.