By Terry Monahan

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (June 30, 2018) - Haley Harnisch sat on the Real Colorado bench in the first half with the rest of the substitutes watching as FC Dallas made offensive charge after charge. But the Frontier Division champs weren't able to find the back of the net.

When Harnisch finally entered the game in the second half, things looked even bleaker until the forward took a pass, turned and rocketed a shot into the goal for what proved to be the game-winning tally in a 2-1 victory. With the victory, Real Colorado advances to the semifinals at the Academy Championships, from July 9-11 in Kansas City.

"That's the biggest goal of my life,'' Harnisch said. "There's nothing that even comes close to this one.''

It was almost a surprise that Real Colorado was able to still be in the game in the second half. In the opening frame, FC Dallas had all but one of the scoring chances and earned seven corner kicks. By halftime, Real Colorado had no corner kicks and just a breakaway chance by Taeya Scheuppert, but her shot just missed the far corner of the FC Dallas net in the 28th minute. Dallas had eight good scoring chances in its first half offensive outburst, but most were thwarted by the Colorado defense.

"They pressured us really hard,'' Harnisch said. "I was in panic mode on the bench. We were all freaking out. Despite the way the first half went, we are all in shock at the moment.''

That freakout factor got even higher when FCD's Sydney Richards scored in the fourth minute of the second half. Her deflection off a shot by Haley Sorrell finally broke the ice.

The push of momentum lasted just eight minutes before Scheuppert scored to draw the game even in the 57th minute. She tallied on a long throw-in while standing in a crowd in front of the net.

Tying the game seemed to energize Real Colorado, serving as a lead-up to Harnisch's heroics. Taking a pass just past midfield, she turned to the right took a few dribbles before beating the goalie with a hard shot with just 10 minutes to play.

"I noticed their defense all dropped back and a lane opened up,'' Harnisch said. "I needed to get a good shot on net at that point. I kept thinking the whole time not to shoot it over the top of the net. My job when I come in is to keep the ball on net. Fortunately, I still had fresh legs.''