0-0 Tie versus San Jose Proves Costly for Charge
Tuesday, June 4, 2002
By David W. Unkle
SJSports Staff Writer
Saturday night's 0-0 tie versus the defending WUSA champion San Jose Cyber Rays maintained Philadelphia's first place lead (5-1-1) and their undefeated streak at home but it cost them the services of the WUSA's leading scorer. Forward Kelly Smith tore her anterior cruciate ligament in with less than twenty minutes remaining in the game and had to be carried off the field on a stretcher, effectively ending her WUSA season. Less than 48 hours after her injury, Smith was named WUSA Player of the Month for May 2002 as she led the Charge to a 3-1-0 record while scoring two goals and three assists.
If you look at Kelly Smith as an international player, she has great ball skills...she can look up and has vision while she has the ball under control and that is always dangerous because she can play the ball multiple ways: inside, outside, or short passes. She enjoys dribbling the ball at a defender very much and that puts a player on their heels. But Kelly is the type of player that you want to play against because she is so good said San Jose's Brandi Chastain.
Philadelphia Charge Head Coach Mark Krikorian focused his team's sights on San Jose's Brazilian trio of standouts- Sissi, Pretinha, and Katia, along with U.S. National Team star Brandi Chastain and as a result limited the trio to one shot on goal. With Chastain playing a great deal of time this season at the forward position and the Brazilians in the midfield working their magic, Krikorian had to create a defensive strategy resembling hockey's neutral zone trap. Although the Cyber Rays took seven shots in the game, only two were on goal (Katia's at the sixty-third minute and Kim Clark's three minutes later).
Philadelphia threw four shots on goal on San Jose goalkeeper LaKeysia Beene but it was the missed opportunities that hurt the most. Philadelphia's Kelly Smith missed an open net at the 17 minute mark kicking wide-right and Erin Martin's one-timer on a cross beat Beene but hit the crossbar. A shot by Philadelphia's Jennifer Tullock at the ninety-second minute was wide left leaving both teams with a shutout to their credit. Tullock was making her first start for Philadelphia; I felt really good...I felt really confident...once the game got going, a comfort level set in said Tullock, the Charge's number one draft choice. You don't win a championship in this league by being a bad team...they're a good team and we rate them very high and they don't give up a lot of chances...they have two very good attacking outside players (Chastain and Michelle French) so what we decided to do is make they defend more than they attack said Charge Head Coach Mark Krikorian
The Philadelphia Charge plays nine more games at Villanova Stadium. To order your season tickets, Fan/Family packs, group tickets, and or birthday packages, call the Charge ticket office at 215.467.GOAL. You can also order single game tickets by calling Ticket Master at 215.336.2000 or 856.338.9000 or 302.984.2000.
Be sure to tune in The Topcat & Taggart Sports Show each and every Sunday from 4:30-5:30PM. Each week, your favorite player will appear on Inside the Charge. The studio phone lines are 856.227.1360 and 856.232.7077.
Photos by Boog Williams
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