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Picking up pace on pitch

Surging WSA squad looks to improve playoff chances vs. Foxes

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WSA Winnipeg might have started slow this season, but head coach Eduardo Badescu believes his team is getting on the right track to get back into the playoff hunt.

After an 0-4 start to the season, WSA Winnipeg has improved their record to 2-5-1 in the United Soccer League's Premier Development League. They'll have a chance to improve even further this weekend with games against the Real Colorado Foxes Saturday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.) at the Winnipeg Outdoor Soccer Complex.

WSA Winnipeg played their first four games against the top two teams in their league -- the Thunder Bay Chill and Des Moines Menace. Three of those games were determined by one goal and two of them were lost in the 94th minute.

"The games were very close and it gave us a good indication of how we can play against the top two teams in the league. Everyone is so close to each other. Anybody can beat anybody in the league," Badescu said.

The series against Colorado is important to get Winnipeg back in the playoff hunt and to notch its first victory at home. The team is 0-3 while playing in Winnipeg this year.

Badescu said it's a very simple formula in a league where you need to be in the top two in order to guarantee a spot in the playoffs. They are tied for last in their league with seven points. But two wins would bring in six points and it would be enough for them to hover around playoff contention.

"We win these two games, we get six points and we get second place," he said. "It's as simple as that. It's a playoff spot. If they win out, they get second place," he said.

To help them win those games, WSA Winnipeg will rely on forward Moses Danto.

The 18-year-old is proving to be a dangerous player. Danto has two goals on six shots this season and is tied for the most points on the team with four. The young striker is being moulded into a future leader of the team.

"It all comes down to hard work, you know? I've put in a lot of hard work over the years and this is just a testament to what I've put in and I guess it's paying off," Danto said.

WSA Winnipeg is made up of local players and while they may be younger and less experienced, Danto wants to make a name for Winnipeg in the soccer world.

"We're the youngest team in the league by far, I'd say, but we believe in each other, we have players capable of winning games for us and we just always work hard," he said.

Just like Badescu, Danto believes this series against Real Colorado can make or break their playoff hopes.

WSA Winnipeg hasn't made the playoffs in its short three-year history.

"We're pushing ourselves really hard this year," said Danto. "The coaches are pushing us hard, even in the heat, and we just really want these six points that will help us make playoffs this year."

kyle.jahns@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 28, 2013 C8

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