What was Coach O'Connor's main concern entering the game yesterday, that of coming out flat after a long layoff, came true in the Flames first game in the series with the Charlotte Lady Eagles. Giving up 2 goals early in the first half left the VSI Tampa Flames chasing the game for the rest of the match, a game that was 0 - 3 at the half, and finishing 1- 4 when the final whistle blew.
"That was my main concern going into the game. Finally at a full strength squad, we started out flat. The conditions did not help but we did not control what we can control, our energy level. Giving up the goal in the first minute really hurt and it took the rest of the half to try and recover."
The Flames came out in the second period a completely different team. They worked, pressed, hustled and pushed the Eagles to play a more direct and faster brand of soccer than they wanted to, which played into the Flames hands. Great goalkeeping from both goalkeepers kept the score 0- 3 until late in the game when Jordan Johnson scored a wonder goal and suddenly it was game on in the last 10 minutes.
With the Flames pushing forward to try and grab a second, the Eagles countered to score a wonderful fourth goal to effectively finish the tie and the final whistle came moments later, 4- 1 to the Charlotte Lady Eagles.
Now, only 24 hours later, the two teams will do battle again with the Flames eager to try and split the home stand and garner their first win of the W League season.
"For a first year team, it has been a very difficult start to the season with 3 out of 4 games to open against Atlanta and Charlotte. At this level, every game is a battle, but I am very proud of the effort put forth by the girls in the second period. We sowed to ourselves that we are a team capable of competing at the top level and with this experience under our belts, things are looking up for the future. I want to get back out there already and show how good this group of women are, and after only 4 games playing together and the same amount of training sessions, the team is beginning to gel."