This past Saturday, Santa Ana had a civil war… on the soccer field. Two of the city’s best teams went head to head in what is known as the Santa Ana Derby. Here are some things we learned as Santa Ana Winds FC took on in-city rivals La Máquina FC at SAC Soccer Field:
Offense for the Winds!
The Santa Ana Winds can score goals. There’s no question about that. Though it’s early in the UPSL Summer Season, they currently rank fourth in ‘Goals For’ in the Southeast division. The only other teams leading them in that category have a combined .777 win percentage. Talk about some serious competition. But it’s not just the fact that they can find ways to score goals, it’s partially how they do it. In this 1-5 loss, the Winds took on arguably the best team in the league. Yet, for the third straight game, they came out firing and not only put themselves on the board, but held a lead in the first half. That’s not something many teams can do against the self-proclaimed “machine.” Still, the Winds displayed an unrelenting energy and youthful vigor with possession of the ball. But let’s repeat the latter half of that sentence one more time for clarification–with possession of the ball. With that being the operative phrase here, we are lead to our next point…
Defense, Defense, Defense
Maybe saying it three times aloud can summon the inner defensive demons of this team, but we shouldn’t hold our breath. As demonstrated in the previous game against Newcastle United FC, the Winds can get a bit lackadaisical on the defensive end when facing a talented offense. Combine that with the leading scorers in the league in La Máquina FC, and you’re in for a real challenge. While the Winds emanate a sense of urgency when defending, at times the urgency begins to turn to panic, which then leads to missed clearances, soft passes, and turnovers. La Máquina exploited this by converting on multiple second chance opportunities in the 54th, 58th, and 82nd minutes respectively. Granted The Machine is a proven offensive powerhouse, but with a young, energetic squad, Santa Ana Winds FC has the tools for a solid defense, they just need to learn to sharpen them.
Don’t Feed the Machine
La Máquina FC is a beast. Anywhere you turn there’s a defender ready to steal, tackle, disrupt, block, juke, clear, pressure… you name it. They’re fast. And quick. That may seem redundant but they epitomize why the words have separate meanings. Since they’re fast, they can beat you down the stretch from goal to goal, and because they’re quick, they can purloin possession from you if a pass is even slightly inaccurate. On the other foot, La Máquina (Spanish for “The Machine,” if not obvious by now) hustles, fighting to retain every possession with strong passing and solid off-ball movement. They show they want it more, and they take what they want. It’s no wonder that only two months ago this same team not only played in the 2016 U.S. Open Cup against the LA Galaxy, but exhibited an MLS-level performance in that game. As Santa Ana Winds FC fans, we can rejoice in the fact that we share a division with a team of this caliber, and we’re only a win away from outranking them in the current standings.
Watch your Santa Ana Winds FC get back on track this Saturday, August 6th, 2016 at Lake Forest Sports Complex as they battle it out against the Toros Neza USA from Corona, CA. Kickoff begins at 6:30pm (PT).