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What a Game! #WILvNY

by Marissa Blackman

Tonight Wilmington Hammerheads FC and New York Red Bulls II put on an amazing show. Both teams were relentless, and the disallowed goals and endless slew of corner kicks and free kicks added to the drama.

In the first half, both clubs clearly expressed their disdain for the referees perceived missed calls. By the end of the half, emotions ran so high that play became rather messy. The two teams were still consistent enough to keep each other at bay despite the circumstances.

The goal machine that is New York Red Bulls II struck again in fifty ninth minute. The Hammerheads made several attempts throughout the half to rectifiy the score. Some of the shots were extremely close and others were completely missed opportunities. The most notable attempt to equalize happened in stoppage time. Bruno Perone successfully maneuvered through the crowded box to score a goal, but it was controversially disallowed by the referee. An earlier Red Bulls goal that would have been the club's second was called offside.

Certainly there were things the Hammerheads could have done better (For example, there were string of wasted opportunities in the second half that could have made a difference), but this was by no means a disgraceful loss. New York Red Bulls II has a tendency to win by huge margins, and the Hammerheads kept them down to one goal. The Hammerheads valiantly contended with their opponent until the end of the match.

Nevertheless, the loss is a painful one. There were several close misses, and, most notably, a potential stoppage time equalizer was disallowed. This was game was a "so close but so far" situation.
The biggest positive I noticed from the Hammerheads tonight was the ability to stick to the plan. Although the pace of play was rapid, the Hammerheads had the patience to follow procedure. In most instances, they methodically set up opportunities for themselves rather than cracking under pressure.

This match was the most entertaining one I've watched in a long time. Two talented teams, controversial calls, and just the right amount of scrapiness kept me on the edge of my seat all night. This loss is certainly a tough pill to swallow, but the level of action I saw on the field tonight is what keeps me coming back to Legion Stadium every week.

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