by Marissa Blackman
The 2016 campaign for Wilmington Hammerheads FC is off to the best possible start. The team took three points from the season opener against Orlando City B. Here are a few of my takeaways from the match.
- Orlando put up a good fight. The Hammerheads did not maintain constant control of the game, and the club did not win by the proverbial skin of its teeth either. Despite Orlando being an extremely worthy opponent, the Hammerheads were still able to get a 2-1 victory. When Wilmington did have possession, the Hammerheads passed in deliberate, meticulous patterns. When Wilmington lost possession, the club was able to regain it through a combination of quick footwork and solid defense.
- The Hammerheads play consistently. Orlando made feasible attempts at goals, but the Hammerheads made quick clearances. Orlando City B scored the club's only goal of the match as a result of a string of failures to adequately get the ball away from the box. After the equalizing Orlando goal, the Hammerheads maintained poise and continued pushing to victory. Although a goal was needed, there was no urgent change in the pace of play for the Hammerheads because the team had been playing at a level that would produce goals from the beginning of the match.
- The Hammerheads make great clearances. One of the clearest examples of the unrelenting tenacity displayed by the Hammerheads occurred in the 76th minute. Orlando sent a barrage of shots firing into the goal area within a few seconds, but the Hammerheads collectively repelled each one.
This victory makes the statement that Wilmington Hammerheads FC is serious competition, and it must certainly boost the confidence of players and fans alike.
Tonight's victory puts the Hammerheads in second place of the eastern conference table. (Several teams have three points from a season opening victory. When teams are tied in points, they are ranked by number of goals scored.) Wilmington Hammerheads FC will play its home opener against Richmond Kickers next Saturday.