If bookies took bets on WPSL matches, the over/under on the total number of goals scored in tonight’s match between the ASA Chesapeake Charge and the Lions Swarm would probably have been close to double-digits. And when the Charge scored three goals in the first nine minutes, you’d have figured the over was a cinch. But that ended up being all the scoring, the home team coming away with a 3-0 victory that should have been a lot more.
Not surprisingly, Charge speedster Cheyenne Skidmore played a key role in the first two goals. In the fifth minute, she took the ball to the end line on the right, then centered it back out where Nia Walcott had an easy putaway. Three minutes later, she received a ball over the top from Riley Barger, brought it forward, dodged around goalkeeper Sarah Dvorak, and rolled it in. A minute after that, Julianne Boyle slid the ball over to her left and found Walcott with some space, and she just had to tap it in.
You’d have thought the rout was on at that point, but the Charge came up dry the remaining 81 minutes. Some of it was on them, as despite a Swarm back four that seldom seemed coordinated enough even to form a consistent offside line they once again had problems in the final third and finishing. In particular, the attacking players seemed prone to one-touching when they should have taken their time, and vice-versa. Wide-open players would take quick, wild shots, while players in traffic would try to settle the ball before shooting and instead get dispossessed. Meanwhile, Lions Swarm goalkeeper Dvorak played her part, making some solid saves to keep the net clear for the remainder of the match.
It may not have helped that midfielder Laura Kane, their key playmaker, took the night off with a sore back. In other roster news, Brittany Hadaway’s knee injury from the previous match proved to be an ACL tear, so she’s lost to the team for the rest of the season. On the other hand, Heather “MTV” Cooke’s paperwork came through earlier today. Though she wasn’t available for this match, she’ll be on the roster for the upcoming games.
The Charge have to hope that their performance improves soon, as their next match is against division rivals ACF Torino USA, again at Arundel High on Tuesday the 18th at 7 pm.
Torino, meanwhile, faced a schedule of three games in five days starting with the previous Wednesday. On that evening, they faced their nemesis the Tidewater Sharks, who have tagged them for their only two regular season losses ever, one last year and one this. After a scoreless first half, they notched three second-half goals, one each from Michelle Procaccini, Shyanne Kimbrough, and Elise Bender, to pull out the victory and gain some revenge for the only blemish on their record so far. (I was regrettably unable to attend this match as I was on a business trip.)
Saturday’s planned match against the Lancaster Inferno had to be postponed after torrential rains flooded the field at Fairland Regional Park. That game has yet to be rescheduled.
On Sunday the team went on the road to face the Philadelphia Fever, who despite the name actually play across the river in New Jersey. In a match that reportedly was extremely physical, Shyanne Kimbrough scored the lone goal, heading in an Amanda Gerlitz free kick for her team-leading fourth goal of the season.
Torino heads south on Saturday to play the Lions Swarm on their pockmarked, postage stamp field before visiting Arundel High to begin the home-and-home series with the undefeated Charge that will likely decide the champion of the WPSL’s South Atlantic Division. The second half of the series is the very next game for both teams, on Saturday, June 22, at 3 pm, at Heurich Park in Hyattsville, MD. If you’re only going to catch one WPSL match in Maryland this year, pick one of these.