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Event Spotlight:
Charge Tie Record Unbeaten Streak
Philadelphia Charge Week-in-Review

Monday, July 22, 2002

By Greg Wiley
Philadelphia Charge Correspondent

After spending a week out of first place, the Philadelphia Charge regained their top spot in the WUSA standings on Saturday with a 2-0 win over the Carolina Courage at Villanova Stadium. The win puts the Charge one point ahead of the Courage for first place, a position the Charge have held all but one week of the season.

On Saturday, Kerry Connors and Marinette Pichon scored first-half goals and Melissa Moore registered her fourth shutout of the season as the Charge improved to 6-0-4 over their last 10 games, which ties the WUSA's record unbeaten streak. Philadelphia also increased its home mark to 6-0-2 this season, improving its league best home-unbeaten streak to 8-0-3 over its last 11 dating back to last season.

Pichon continues to lead the WUSA in goals with 13 and has a league-best 27 points this season. Moore set a new career best with her fourth shutout, having to make only one save against the Courage, who had not been shut out this season prior to Saturday's tilt.

The Charge swept the season series from the Courage, meaning if the two clubs end tied for first, the Charge hold the tiebreak advantage and would be the top-seeded team heading into the playoffs.

Both teams went into the game shorthanded, as several players were serving National Team Duty. For the Charge, Heather Mitts, Jenny Benson and Lorrie Fair were invited to participate in the U.S. camp leading up to Sunday's game versus Norway. The Courage were without Hege Riise and Unni Lehn, who were serving National Team Duty for Norway as well as U.S. National Team invitee Tiffany Roberts. In addition, rookie defender Danielle Slaton was held out of the game with a knee injury.

Upcoming Opponents

The Charge open a two-game week this Wednesday when they host the New York Power starting at 7 pm. It will be the third and final meeting between the Charge and Power this season. Philadelphia won the first two games of the season series, 2-1 and 3-1. Marinette Pichon recorded a hat trick in the last meeting between the two clubs and she hopes to lead her team once again to victory this week. All-time Philadelphia is 3-1-1 versus the Power, posting a 2-0 mark at Villanova Stadium.

On Saturday, the Charge hit the road to take on the Boston Breakers at Nickerson Field. That will also be the series finale for these two clubs. The Charge have beaten the Breakers in the two previous meetings and a victory on Saturday would improve Philly's all-time record against Boston to 4-2-0. Boston lost 4-2 to the Charge on May 4 and then 1-0 on June 15. The two goals scored in the first encounter this season were the most allowed by the Charge in a game this year. The four tallies for Philly is the most it has scored this season as well.


Securing a Playoff Berth and Homefield Advantage

If the Charge earn at least four points this week, the club could secure a playoff berth. In addition, if the Charge win both of their games, the club would secure homefield advantage for the semifinal round on August 17. Entering this week's action, Philly, which has 34 points, is already assured of finishing ahead of New York, San Diego and Boston. San Jose, the fifth place club, has 22 points and five games remaining, meaning it could finish with 37 points if the team wins out. However, if the Charge win on Wednesday and then at least tie on Saturday there is no way San Jose would finish ahead of Philly even with two head-to-head meetings remaining. As far as home field goes, the Charge hold the tiebreaker against both Washington and Atlanta, which are both tied for third place. Both clubs can earn only a maximum of 40 points. Therefore, if the Charge can reach the 40-point plateau by week's end, they would hold homefield advantage.

Mitts Hurt, Fair Benson Earn Cap with National Team

Lorrie and Fair and Jenny Benson each earned a cap with the U.S. National Team this past weekend, as their country beat Norway 4-0 in Blaine, Minn. Fair entered the game at halftime and played the entire second half, while Benson entered in the 61st minute and finished out the contest. For Fair it was her 99th career cap with the U.S. team, while Benson earned just her second cap. Defender Heather Mitts also represented the Charge at the camp, but was unable to play in Sunday's game after sustaining a hip pointer during training on Friday. Mitts is out for Wednesday's game against the Power as a result of the injury and her status for Saturday's game in uncertain.

Charge Tie WUSA Unbeaten Streak

The Charge currently own an impressive 10-game unbeaten streak (6-0-4), which is the best in the WUSA this season and tied for tops in league history. The Charge's last, and only, loss this season came back on May 19 in San Diego. Since then the Charge have outscored their opponents by a total of 15-6 and have posted three shutouts. The Charge tied the longest unbeaten streak ever, which was set last year by the then-Bay Area CyberRays (7-0-3). Also, Philly is 6-0-2 at Villanova Stadium this season, having outscored its opponents 17-6 at home. Dating back to last season, the Charge are 8-0-3 in their last 11 as the host, marking the longest home-unbeaten streak in league history. All-time Philadelphia is 11-3-3 at home.

Zhao Point-Scoring Streak Reaches Four

Chinese national team star Zhao Lihong has registered a point in four consecutive games. Over that span she has a goal and three assists. Her tally last Sunday was her first since the Charge's season opener when they beat Atlanta, 2-0. With her club trailing 1-0 in the 85th minute against Washington, Zhao banged a free kick off the crossbar and just behind the goal line for the equalizer, salvaging her team a point. She then had an assist in Saturday's 2-0 win over the Carolina Courage.

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