The Tucson Soccer Academy FC players are not about to show up for their first playoff game ever wearing power suits and carrying briefcases.
It's an absurd thought, no doubt, but it would acquiesce with what TSAFC coach Amy Garelick calls their "businesslike" approach.
The team rolled through the Women's Premier Soccer League's Big Sky-North Division with six wins, one loss and one draw and wrapped up the title last Friday with an away win against the Utah Starzz. Up next is Saturday's Western Regional semifinal against the San Diego SeaLions in Elk Grove, Calif., at 6 p.m.
"This team is so interesting," Garelick said. "They were excited (after Friday's division-clinching win), but they were also very businesslike in terms of they had a job to do and got the job done. It's very professional. We got our win."
They did more than win during the regular season. The team, made up almost exclusively of college players or players who will be headed to college next month, usually dominated its opponents. In its first season, TSAFC outscored its foes 27-8 over the two-month regular season.
The only blemishes to its record were a draw at home against Phoenix Del Sol earlier this month and a loss to the Real Salt Lake Women in a road match Saturday that had no bearing on the playoffs.
"On Saturday, we went to see the U.S. men's national team game" in a Gold Cup match, Garelick said. "Not making excuses - we were up in the sun all Saturday afternoon and then went and played Real. They are a good team. But some of it was being out in the sun all day and knowing that we had already won. We just did not play well."
This Saturday, there will be no national team distraction, and there will be the impetus of a Western Regional final berth on the line. If TSAFC wins Saturday, it would play in the final Sunday against the winner of the AC Seattle-Storm Elk Grove semifinal at 7:30 p.m. The winner of that match will play in the Final Four next week in Elk Grove.
Garelick and her charges know the heat will be on, literally and figuratively. It's expected to top out at 100 degrees on Saturday in Elk Grove, a Sacramento suburb, when TSAFC takes on one of the founding members of the WSPL.
"They are very well coached," Garelick said of the SeaLions. "They have some really great players. And that's just about all that I know. … I do know we are going to be playing on turf, and it's going to be warm.
"I really believe our team is fit enough, and it will just come down to managing the other team and doing what we do well - getting in behind the backs, finishing our chances and be organized in the back."
The SeaLions won the league title in 2000 and have lost in the regional final in each of the last two years. They went undefeated this season with five wins and a draw.
"We know they are very talented, and all the teams are going to be from here on out," defender Kelly Kearns said. "We know it's going to be a tough battle and a tough game. I think we're up for it.
"Playing the better teams that we're going to be playing, that's going to be exciting for us also. With better talent, it steps up your game. It forces you to play to your ability."
• What: WPSL Western Regional semifinal
• Who: Tucson Soccer Academy FC vs. San Diego SeaLions
• When: 6 p.m. Saturday
• Where: Elk Grove, Calif.