The Philadelphia Charge maintained an unbeaten record at home as well as its first-place standing atop the WUSA, as the team recorded its first tie of the season in a 0-0 draw versus the San Jose CyberRays on Saturday night at Villanova Stadium. The Charge (5-1-1, 16 pts.) once again used steady goalkeeping from Melissa Moore, who tallied her second shutout of the year, in tying the defending champion CyberRays (3-3-2 11 pts.).
Moore needed to make just two saves in the contest, as Philadelphia centered its efforts on blanketing San Jose's potent Brazilian trio in Sissi, Pretinha and Katia. The strategy limited the CyberRays to just seven shots for the contest.
The Charge's WUSA lead fell to two points, as the second-place Carolina Courage defeated the New York Power, 4-1, on Saturday night. Philadelphia will look to increase its league lead next Saturday, when it hosts Mia Hamm and the Washington Freedom at 4 pm at Villanova Stadium for Heather Mitts Bobblehead Day.
Both teams showed immense respect for each other's potent offensive attacks, as most of the 90 minutes of play took place in the midfield. The Charge's bid for a late second-half goal took a real blow in the 74th minute, when the league's leading scorer Kelly Smith went down in a collision with Philadelphia midfielder Zhao Lihong. Smith was forced to leave the game by way of a stretcher and was replaced by Mary-Frances Moore.
The Charge's all-time record against San Jose is now 1-2-1 and 1-0-1 at Villanova Stadium.
Philly forward Erin Martin had two of her club's better opportunities to break the scoreless tie. Early on in the second half she took a crossing pass on one bounce and volleyed a shot past CyberRays goalkeeper Lakeysia Beene but just over the crossbar. About 15 minutes later she took another cross and directed it toward the upper right corner of the goal, but a leaping Beene made the save.
Martin, Smith and Liu Ailing led the Charge in shots with two apiece. Mandy Clemens was actively involved in Philadelphia's attack, but garnered special attention from the San Jose defense-especially after Smith's injury-and suffered four fouls during the game.