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Busy Week For the Hammerheads

What an eventful week this has been for Wilmington Hammerheads FC!

The title race in this league is extremely close, and several teams are sitting just a few points away from each other. This means that every game for a team that hasn't yet earned a spot in the playoffs is crucial and could be the difference between making it or not. This week the Hammerheads, who are in serious need of points, had three matches in the span of five days. That kind of schedule is brutal, especially with every game having such high stakes. Considering the circumstances, all the games were sure to be exciting.

There's been lots of action off the field too. The Hammerheads utilized two new loans. Corben Bone is from Philadelphia Union and Mark-Anthony Kaye is from Toronto FC.

That's not all. At the beginning of the week, it was announced that long time head coach David Irving stepped down. For as long as I've known the Hammerheads existed (and actually for about as long as I've been alive), Coach Irving has been with the club. To me, he represents the club, so it's really hard for me to imagine this team without him. But this is soccer. These things happen. He will certainly be missed!

The first Hammerheads match this week was played on Wednesday against Sacramento Republic FC. I watched the game on YouTube after it aired, and having prior knowledge of the score, I went into the game with a lot of preconceived notions. I was pleasantly surprised. Sacramento was definitely the better team and had more possession and shots, but the game wasn't nearly as one sided as I expected. It turned out to be an interesting match. There are two types of soccer games for me: The ones I turn off and the ones I can't stop watching. Even though I knew how it would end, this game was part of the latter category.

The second match was on Saturday against Orange County Blues FC. The game began with what was almost a Hammerhead goal, but that pesky offside rule disallowed it. The rest of the first half was filled with missed opportunities. Things really got interesting after halftime. In the 72nd minute, Sunny Jane scored the first goal of the match, and the OC Blues equalized ten minutes later. During extra time, there was an incident that resulted in Andrae Campbell, Matt Glaeser, Eli Garner, and Alex Martinez getting red cards. As of right now, the four players are on a one game suspension, but there could be further consequences as USL PRO has released a statement. The incident also led to a vast majority of both teams exiting the field. After things settled down and play continued, Ashani Fairclough scored the game winning goal. It wasn't the prettiest of wins, but...at this point, three points is three points.

Tonight, the Hammerheads went up against LA Galaxy II. At half time, the Hammerheads were down a goal. By the end of the game, it was a 3-3 tie. I continue to be impressed with this team. Even when things seem really bad, you just can't count them out. This goal fest included braces from Sunny Jane and Chandler Hoffman. Mark-Anthony Kaye scored his first goal for the Hammers in this game.

All of this leaves the Hammerheads at three way tie for 8th place, the last spot in the playoffs.The next game is at home against Orlando. Who knows what will happen!

--Marissa Blackman

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