OTTAWA FURY & W LEAGUE:
FURY TIE WILDCATS :
10th June 2006
Two penalties against even out Wilkinson double.
It was a clash of two W-League heavyweights on Saturday evening at Keith Harris Stadium in exhibition play, as the Fury took on their arch rivals the 2005 W-League champion New Jersey Wildcats. The teams did not disappoint and countered the very chilly and blustery conditions with a great display of top-class womenís soccer. Honors came out even 2 - 2 as two penalty kicks cancelled out two goals from the Furyís Rhian Wilkinson.
In the first half, the Fury had the benefit of the windy conditions and took the game to the champions with their trade-mark brand of possession soccer. As early as the 19th minute Rhian Wilkinson had a shot saved by Sarah Knight after good approach play from Kelly Parker and Robyn Gayle. Then, in the 21st minute, Amy Vermuelen shot over the bar, and one minute later another good chance went begging when Wilkinson decided to pass to Vermuelen when probably better placed herself.
The Fury began to take control of the game with the right side grouping of Robyn Gayle, Diana Matheson and Rhian Wilkinson giving the Wildcats plenty of headaches. Successive corners from Wilkinson and Matheson brought out the best in Wildcats' keeper Knight. Finally, the Fury broke through in the 37th minute when Wilkinson headed home a Matheson corner. Even against the wind, the Wildcats were dangerous on breakaways with the Brazilian Formiga, Swiss international Lara Dickenmann and Esmerelda Negron all prominent in attack.
The second half did not start as planned for the Fury. One minute into the half, a hand ball was called near the touch line when Zoe Avner intercepted a Wildcats' cross. Formiga put the penalty past Fury keeper Leisha Alcia to tie the score at 1 - 1. But, at the 63rd minute the Fury regained the lead when a patient Fury build-up of seven consecutive passes freed up Annie Hamel on the right. Hamelís cross was met by Parker, who passed for Wilkinson to net her second goal of the game.
Wilkinson would later have a chance to earn her hat-trick when she rounded the goalkeeper, but shot narrowly wide of the open net from an acute angle. The miss would prove costly, as the Fury gave up a second penalty when Formiga was adjudged to have been fouled by Carmelina Moscato in the 75th minute. Negron scored from the penalty spot. The Fury gave a debut to Alex Valerio, a member of the Fury U17 Girls squad, in the closing minutes of the game and Valerio finished the final Fury attack with a shot on goal.
The Fury are the only team to have beaten the Wildcats in regular season play in over two seasons and they will consider themselves unfortunate not to have registered another win against the 2005 champions. These two teams are again the favorites to contest the Eastern Conference finals and the Fury will be hoping to host the Wildcats again at the end of the season with the Conference title on the line.
The Furyís Diana Matheson, Rhian Wilkinson and Taryn Swiatek will leave tomorrow to join the Canadian World Cup squad at their one week training camp in British Columbia. The Furyís next game is a 7:00 PM kick off against the Vermont Lady Voltage at Keith Harris Stadium on Wednesday June 21st.