Pichon, Moore Lead Charge To Victory
Defense plays key in Charge's 7th win of the season
Thursday, June 20, 2002
By Greg Wiley
Philadelphia Charge Correspondent
Marinette Pichon scored two goals and Melissa Moore made season-high 10 saves to lead the Philadelphia Charge to a 3-1 win over the Carolina Courage Wednesday night at SAS Stadium in a battle of the top two clubs in the WUSA. Pichon extended her goal-scoring streak to four games for the Charge (7-1-2, 23 pts), who increased their season-long first-place lead to five points over the Courage (5-2-3, 18 pts).
Moore showed no ill effects from a sprained right knee, making a number of huge saves to keep the Charge in the lead. Her biggest and nicest saves arguably came in the 74th and 75th minutes, when she first had to jump to the high to the right to stop a Hege Riise shot that was headed for the upper corner and then had to go parallel to the ground to stop a Danielle Fotopoulos header off a corner kick.
Kerry Connors added a goal and an assist for the Charge, who improved to 4-1 all-time against the Courage and 2-0 versus Carolina this season. Zhao Lihong and Heather Mitts also recorded assists for Philadelphia, which was outshot 19-16 by the Courage but still managed to improve to 3-0-2 in its last five and 4-1 on the road this season.
The Charge, who are yet to relinquish first-place this season in the WUSA, next travel to San Diego to face the Spirit on Sunday, June 23 at 8 pm (ET). Philadelphia will be looking to avenge its lone loss of the season against the Spirit, who beat the Charge 1-0 back on May 19.
Pichon started the game's scoring in the 26th minute, taking a cross from Mitts and from six yards out beat Carolina goalkeeper Kristin Luckenbill. Mitts' cross, which came from the right flank, lofted between two Courage defenders and landed right on the foot of Pichon, who moved into team lead in points with the tally.
The Frenchwoman also set a team record for most consecutive goals by a player with four in a row. Liu Ailing had the previous best of three straight last season when she recorded a hat-trick against Carolina on Aug. 6.
Carolina answered just a minute later when Danielle Fotopoulos beat Moore to even the score at 1-1. Birgit Prinz managed to deflect the ball to Fotopoulos, who recorded her seventh goal of the year.
The Courage did a good job of keeping the pressure on the Charge after the goal, forcing Moore to come up with a big save in the 35th minute. Unni Lehn gathered a pass just six yards from the net and appeared to have an easy goal when Moore was caught off balance. However, Moore recovered quickly and stopped Lehn's shot.
Philadelphia took advantage of Carolina's miscues and in the 39th minute took the lead for good. After Carolina failed to successfully clear a Charge corner kick out of danger, Lorrie Fair blasted the ball back into the box , where Pichon managed to continue the ball moving forward with a side volley that was deflected down by a Courage defender. However, the ball went directly to Connors and from seven yards out, the midfielder registered her first goal of the season, beating Luckenbill to the left.
Carolina had one more scoring chance in the half, but Moore was again up to the challenge. After the Courage sent the ball into the penalty area, Moore was forced to come out of her crease and had to literally take the ball off the back of Tiffany Roberts to preserve the lead.
In the second half, the Courage continued to pressure the Charge and nearly tied the game at 2-2 in the 58th minute when Hege Riise's shot from 22 yards out hit the crossbar and bounced out of danger. Two minutes later Carolina generated two more scoring chances. First, Moore was forced to save a point blank shot off the foot of Roberts after a Mitts giveaway in the box. Then, Moore had to make a diving save to her right when Venus James unleashed a dangerous shot from 18 yards out.
Philadelphia later took advantage of the Courage's misfortunes and extended their lead to 3-1 when Pichon finished a cross from Zhao with a sliding volley to put the game out of reach. Connors was also credited with an assist on the goal, which was Pichon's fourth of the year against the Courage.
Pichon leads the Charge with seven goals this season and 15 points. She has also scored six of the last eight goals for Philadelphia. Carolina's only two losses this season have come to the Charge.
NOTES: Mitts has recorded an assist in two straight games ... Connors' goal was also her first in a Charge uniform ... Pichon moved into sole possession of fourth place on the Charge's all-time scoring list with 15 points ... Injured Philadelphia midfielder Kelly Smith is expected to undergo reconstructive ACL surgery to her right knee on Thursday ... Last year's leading scorer for the Charge, Liu Ailing, missed the game with a foot injury. The Chinese international remained in Philadelphia ... The Charge improved to 5-0 when they score first and 4-0 when leading at the half this season.
The Philadelphia Charge plays home 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.
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