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Showing posts from May, 2015

#GameDayEve Charleston Battery Edition

Longtime rivals Wilmington Hammerheads and Charleston Battery will compete against each other for the second time this season. In the most recent meeting between the two clubs, Charleston won 2-1.
The last Battery game was this Wednesday, and the last Hammerheads game was last Wednesday.  Depending on how you look at it, this could be viewed as an advantage for either club. The Wilmington side hasn’t played a match in over a week, but that allows for getting rusty. The Charleston side has played a match this week (and many regular starter were included in the starting lineup), but that could leave key players fatigued.
The Open Cup match between Charleston and NASL side Ft. Lauderdale Strikers (i.e. the aforementioned match Charleston played Wednesday) resulted in a total of five goals. The Strikers took the lead in the 6th minute. Although Charleston equalized, Ft. Lauderdale responded with another goal. The USL club entered the second half of the game trailing 1-2, and, despite se…

Level

Wilmington vs. Rochester
Tonight the Hammerheads battled for ninety plus minutes against the Rochester Rhinos.
Rochester has never lost a game and Wilmington has only won one. Prior to the match, the Rhinos were on top of the table and the Hammerheads were second to the bottom. These two teams have had very different seasons, and it would have been almost expected for the Hammerheads to loose. From the very first minute, the Hammerheads really held their own.
This was a heart palpitating match. Both teams fought extremely hard. By halftime, neither team made it onto the scoreboard. After halftime, both teams continued going back and forth with each other. When one got possession, the other would regain it. Each time either club took a shot, it inspired the other to work even harder. As regular time dwindled down, the history of 0-0 draws between these two clubs seemed sure to repeat itself…until the Rhinos scored in the 89th minute. The fans sitting around me seemed absolutely devas…

A Reply

After my post, about MLS 2 teams, I was asked a question.
@jas_bai on Twitter said:
“Good job covering why the MLS 2 teams aren’t a major problem, but you didn’t touch on a side like Wilmington taking on 7 NYCFC players for a one off game vs NYRB. 2 parts to this: they won and those 3 pts will be valuable IF they’re able to make a run at the playoffs. 2) what do supporters of Wilm…or any other non-MLS 2 teams feel when they have players dropped in? I don’t want Clt or Colorado to do it because I want to support my guys, not some players that will only be there once and never see again.”
The question is so multifaceted (and I’m so long winded) that my answer was too long to fit into 140 character incraments, so I’ve decided to write it here.
As far as points are concerned, USL rules allow for any number of loans to come at any time in the season for any length of time. Playoffs are the only time when stipulations apply. Any team with an MLS affiliate has the opportunity to use this rule t…

Why MLS 2 Teams Are Not Bad For USL

The 2015 season is a historic one for the USL for many reasons. Aside from having a new name and twelve new teams, this season is the first year in which more than one MLS team has a team in USL. In fact, there are eight MLS owned USL teams, or MLS 2 teams. This development has been years in the making. In past seasons, MLS Reserve League teams competed against USL clubs in addition to playing against teams within their league. MLS-USL club affiliations have been on the rise for the past several seasons, and this year all 20 teams in MLS are either affiliated with a USL side or have a USL club of their own.
This seems like a sign of progress for USL, but everyone does not seem to be excited. I’ve read rumblings all over social media about the, allegedly negative, impact MLS teams are having on USL, so I decided to do some investigating.
First, I identified exactly what the complaints where about. Although I read a wide range of opinions, here are a few often repeated ones. Several peopl…

First Goal Wins

STLvILM


Tonight the Hammerheads made a valiant effort to take a few points away from St. Louis FC in front of a crowd of over 4,000 people.
Let me just say that this match was a fine display of beautiful soccer. Great defending, smart moves, effective tackles, plausible shots, and tremendous saves abounded. Most notably, I saw some really fancy footwork from a few Hammerheads that allowed them to keep the ball, and both goalies were in top form. Both sides played wonderfully, and I can’t stress that enough. Although there were a few yellow cards, the game overall was exceptionally clean.
The match was also a fine display of this diamond formation that so many writers and commentators have been talking about. The Hammerheads have been dedicated to this formation all season, and tonight it really worked. Perhaps the formation has been working before this game, but it was the first time I’ve really noticed the benefits of the diamond.
Two teams gave their all, but only one of them gained p…

#GameDayEve St. Louis FC Edition

Tomorrow evening, Wilmington Hammerheads FC and St. Louis FC will compete for the first time in the history of either club.

Especially for a new team, St. Louis has not been too shabby. With a 2-2-1 record in seven games, the club sits eighth in the eastern conference table. With a 1-3-2 record, the Hammerheads sit in tenth place. Both clubs are in the bottom half of the table, but it should be noted that both clubs are tied in points with the teams above them.

St. Louis is coming into this game off of a win, and Wilmington is coming into this game off of a loss. In theory, St. Louis will play with confidence, and Wilmington will play with hunger. Of course all teams always want to win, but the fact that this match is between two teams who, for lack of a better term, "really, really want it," will make this game more interesting.

St. Louis will be missing Jeremie Lynch, a forward who has appeared in every game this season, due to suspension. Within the past week, STLFC has s…

ILMvHAR

My life is officially too busy when I can’t make it to a Hammerheads game. Between SATs and moving, I was only able to catch the first half of yesterday’s game against Harrisburg on YouTube. At this rate, it seems like it will be probably be next weekend before I can watch the second half, so I’ve decided to (prematurely) write about the half I did see. Maybe this post will be completely obsolete to anyone who saw the whole game, but I’m going to write it anyway
Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve tried to look at games differently. Although I’m writing about the Hammerheads, the club that I grew up loving and thought were the pinnacle of professional soccer until I discovered the Internet, I try to keep my writing neutral, even if my heart is not. I also apply considerable effort to fight my gut reaction. If they win, my initial reaction is to be happy. If they lose, my initial reaction is to be upset. In my writing, I try to be a little more reasonable because I want my posts to go beyon…

#GameDayEve Harrisburg City Islanders Edition

The next opponent for WHFC is the Harrisburg City Islanders. Before I take a look at the Islanders, there’s a bit of Hammerhead news. The club announced two Cameroonian signings. Brian Anunga Tah and Christian Mougang Bassogog are both midfielders. Hammerheads defender Ashani Fairclough spent this week training with NYCFC, the club's MLS affiliate. 
As far as the Islanders, the club has acquired four points in four games, and is ninth place in the eastern conference table. After beginning the season with back to losses, Harrisburg defeated FC Montreal. In its most recent match, the club tied Charlotte Independence 1-1. The match against the Hammerheads will be the second of three away games for the Islanders.
Here’s a side by side comparison of statistics for both teams: 

Team Harrisburg City Islanders  Wilmington Hammerheads Fouls 25 39 Saves 33 43 Standing 9 7 Shots 16 22 Player Most Likely To Score Anyone (all 5 goals came from different players) Nick Zimmerman (scored 3 of the club’s 7 …