Federal Way girls soccer starts on a positive note

Eagles take down Auburn 3-1 to start 2023 season

Over the past couple of seasons, Federal Way High School girls soccer hasn’t quite been singing in the right pitch while on the pitch as far as wins and losses go.

Last year, the Eagles went 4-8-1, and the year prior they went 2-9. The last time Federal Way had a .500 win season, you have to go back to 2016, when the Eagles went 8-8-1 overall.

However, this season Federal Way is off to a great start as they took down Auburn 3-1 in their opening match at Federal Way High School on Sept. 7.

“It’s always good to get a win in the first game. I thought they actually played pretty well,” said Head Coach Andrea Harris Anderson.

There are a lot of seniors on this Eagles roster — seven out of 17 players. They’re ready for the challenge.

“They want this to be a good year. This team is just going to get better and better,” Anderson said.

The Eagles got out to a slow-ish start, going 33 minutes without scoring in the first half. But there were plenty of opportunities for Federal Way with Mya Lynn Tran creating a lot of space and Eagle scoring chances.

Her coach has high praise for her junior captain: “She’s an extraordinary player… The sky is the limit for her,” Anderson said on Tran.

In the 34th minute, the Eagles found the back of the net to take a 1-0 lead. Tran made a great pass to Jayda Bynum, who took advantage of miscommunication between the Trojan backline and scored for Federal Way’s first goal of the season.

“It kind of hyped us up and brought up the intensity. Knowing we have the ability to score those goals pushed us to be better,” Tran said.

However, the lead was short-lived as three minutes later, Auburn made a play down the field, resulting in a foul inside the penalty area. The Trojans’ centermid penalty shot went to the top right corner and just passed Ashlynn Lettice to equalize the game at 1-1 just two minutes before halftime.

It seemed like history was going to repeat itself once more at Federal Way as deep into the second half, neither side found the back of the net.

Auburn, for a stretch in the second half early on, was creating numerous chances but not quite finishing, either due to stout defending by Stella Klein or great saves from Lettice.

Against the rhythm of play, Tran found a glimmer of daylight outside the Trojan penalty area. She intercepted a pass from the Auburn backline and scored the game winning goal for Federal Way in the 72nd minute.

“I was hoping I just didn’t kick it at the keeper … But I saw the corner was open and she was biting a little bit. So I kind of just placed it right in the corner. It was a little bit of relief,” Tran said.

The icing on the cake for the Eagles came from defender Piper McMonigle, who sent a ball toward the goal from 40 yards away, which tear-dropped its way into the net in the final three minutes of the game.

Winning the opening game this year could jolt the Eagles to a successful 2023 campaign.

“We tied our first game last year. I think that kind of set the kids off. We have a senior heavy roster this year and I think we’re going to do well against the teams we compete against,” Anderson said.

For the players, it built confidence as well: “Knowing that we can score goals, and have confidence for that. We just need to make sure that we keep getting better every single day,” said Tran.

Federal Way takes on always tough Auburn Riverside on Sept. 14 on the road.