For eighty-six minutes it looked like the Philadelphia Charge would suffer its first home loss of the season. Despite having the WUSA's top-ranked offense (14 goals in seven games), the Charge couldn't buy a goal, being shutout by San Jose (0-0) last week and most of their match against the Washington Freedom. Playing without mid-fielder and team captain, Kelly Smith (who suffered a season-ending ACL tear), the Charge offense rested solely with Marinette Pichon who has shuttled between Villanova and France to compete for the French National Team.
Pichon's goal came in the eighty-seventh minute following a foul to Charge defender Heather Mitts. Jennifer Tietjen's free kick past two players landed perfectly for Pichon who nailed it past Washington goalkeeper Siri Mullinix. For Pichon, it was her fourth goal of the season and her sixth shot on goal in the game. Pichon nearly equaled her season total of eight shots on goal in six games. I think we created an awful lot of chances...Marinette is special, she is so quick and she is so dynamic. She can score great goals like she did and some games she's going to miss some chances too but that happens to all great players...our concern was are we still going to be able to generate the chances that we've been able to previously and clearly we did...we don't measure [offensive success] on goals, we measure by chances because with good players if you have enough chances you're going to score the goals said Charge Head Coach Mark Krikorian.
Washington (2-4-3) playing without forward Mia Hamm took control of the game early often beating Philadelphia to balls in the air. Following a tripping foul by Charge goalkeeper Melissa Moore in the box, Jennifer Grubb's penalty kick inside the right post gave Washington the 1-0 lead at the fortieth minute. The Freedom were 1-0-1 when leading at the half while the Charge posted a 0-1-0 record.
Pichon and the Charge came out in the second half with a vengeance, firing two shots on goal in the first seven minutes. Mullinix was forced to make several tough saves in the second half while the Charge defense limited Washington to one shot on goal after the intermission. Commenting on the Charge defense after the game, Freedom Head Coach Jim Gabarra said they work hard, they're very organized and the reason they're at the top of the table is their back four...giving away goals in the last five or ten minutes is disturbing.
I didn't feel that they (Washington) were too dangerous except for that one time...I felt that defense played well as a unit...obviously Abby (Washington forward Abby Wambach) is most dangerous in the air and we did a good job. Both Tietj (Jennifer Teitjen) and Erica Iverson did a wonderful job of marking her in the air and just allowing her...not to turn up and be really dangerous said Charge defender Heather Mitts
The Philadelphia Charge plays seven 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.