Katie Watson sends a ball in while Sarah Bonney looks on. (photo by Ken L. Harriford)
What was hotter, the ASA Chesapeake Charge or the weather? It was well into the nineties and humid, but the Charge demolished the middle-of-the-pack LVU Lady Sonic, 8-0.
I think it was the second-hottest I’ve ever been at a soccer match. (At the hottest – on sun-facing bleachers at a mid-August WUSA playoff match – I was literally coming close to passing out.) In the pressbox there was shade but no breeze. In the stands, there was a breeze but no shade. I found I could get the best of both worlds by standing just outside the pressbox but still in its shadow. I can’t imagine what it was like running around on the field.
Not that that fazed the Charge, who were definitely smarting after losing in the final of the USASA Women’s Open Cup this past weekend and seemed to take it out on this team.
As usual, it took them a while to get going, but once they did the goals came in droves. In the 20th minute Sofia Read and Marisa Kresge teamed up to pressure the back line and steal the ball away. Read took it in, pulled the goalkeeper out, then passed to her right to Kresge, who had an easy tap-in. Three minutes later, Kresge got a through ball off another steal, beat the goalkeeper, and sent it into the netting. Four minutes after that (with a water break in the middle), Amira Walcott collected a cross, beat a defender, and tucked the ball into the lower left corner.
In the 40th minute, Katie Watson crossed to Sarah Bonney, who slid the ball just inside the right post. Then in second-half stoppage time, Watson sent a shot in after several post-corner kick passes. The ball bounced around a bit before falling to Ali Andrzejewski, who fired it in to make the score 5-0 at halftime.
There was another lull to start the second half – and in fact the Lady Sonic seemed to have the better of play for a bit – but come the 61st minute and Read sent in a cross that goalkeeper Brittain Wagner fumbled. Kresge was right there to toe-poke the ball away from her and send it into the open net to earn a hat trick on the evening.
Seven minutes later, central defender Jennifer Gillette – usually known more for her defensive skills than her attacking prowess – sent a well-placed long ball over the top that only forward Cheyenne Skidmore read correctly. She came in unopposed, easily dodged Wagner, and sent the ball into the right side netting. That led into the second-half water break.
Cheyenne Skidmore closes in on goalkeeper Brittain Wagner. (photo by Ken L. Harriford)
Finally, in the 88th minute, Andrzejewski stole the ball about 30 yards out from the goal, ran over to the right, found some space, and then seemingly casually lofted a ball that sailed over Wagner and into the upper left corner.
With this match ending just before 6 and the Washington Spirit game starting at 7, I didn’t have time to do any post-game interviews.
This game was the last regular-season home game for Chesapeake, though local fans can still see them next Wednesday at 7 pm, when they go down the road to Upper Marlboro to take on ACF Torino USA. The Charge’s final regular season match is Saturday, June 12, on the road against Buxmont Torch FC.
They’ve clinched a playoff spot, and, barring a major upset, the Charge will be the top seed in the East Conference, so any playoff games will be back at Arundel High. That goes for the WPSL Final Four, as well, since the Charge are hosting it this year.
ACF Torino USA still in the playoff hunt
Meanwhile, later that same evening, Torino downed the Torch, 1-0, in their first match in their regular home stadium at the Riverdale Baptist Sportsplex. Elise Bender fed Lauren Badalemente who sent what was described to me as “a beautiful chip over the keeper into the upper right hand corner.” Ashley Weisenberg also had a “beautiful low driven goal” that was denied due to a dubious offside call.
It was Torino’s first, official on-the-field win of the season, what with their victory over the Lion Soccer Club being erased by the expulsion of that team. Still, with two other forfeits in their favor, they’re 4-4 and still have a chance at the postseason. Their next match is the away half of their home-and-home series against Buxmont, on Sunday, July 6, at 3 pm. It’s a key matchup – a win would just about ensure them a playoff spot, while a loss would eliminate them and put the Torch in the playoffs. (Both teams will have one game remaining after this match, but in both cases they face the undefeated ASA Charge.)
Braddock Road Stars Elite match postponed due to thunderstorms
Again that same evening, the Braddock Road Stars Elite hit the road to face the North Jersey Valkyries, but that game – like apparently all the soccer matches in New Jersey Wednesday night, including the NWSL one – was postponed due to thunderstorms. They next return home to Robinson High School on Saturday, July 5, to face the New Jersey Wildcats at 4 pm. (Note that this is a time change from the originally scheduled 7 pm.)