In a pivotal trip to South Carolina and Jacksonville, Coach Ged O'Connor was looking for nothing less than 2 wins. Unfortunately, the Flames came up 1 win shy of that goal, losing 2-3 against South Carolina, and winning, only 24 hours later at the FC Jax Destroyers.
The trip got off to a fantastic start with the Flames going 2-0 up in South Carolina after only 15 minutes. Goals from Cassie Barbaresi and Noelle Piniero created the perfect start for the Flames against a tough Cobra team who had tied the Flames at Brandon earlier in the season. A light squad and in game injuries resulted in the Flames finishing the first half with only 10 players and the team were trying to limp through to the half time maintaining the two goal lead, unfortunately a late goal by the Cobras, on a quick counter resulted in a half time score of 2-1 Flames.
Then, early into the second stanza, two quick Cobra goals finished off the Flames. "It was a game full of emotion. We started great, played some great soccer, and scored two wonderful goals. Having only 14 healthy players, and playing in plus 90 degree heat, I knew it was going to be a tough game, especially the second half and we were hoping to hang on for the final 45 minutes. Unfortunately, we lost one of our main defenders, Carleigh Williams, who had played in the Elite Eight last year to food poisoning and that really hurt us. We battled hard through the rest of the game and deserved to get something out of it, but at times, soccer is a cruel game."
Only 24 hours later, the Flames travelled to play the FC Jax Destroyers in the final game of that series. Although the game finished 1- 0 with the game winner coming from Marky Boyce 10 minutes from time, the Flames played their best soccer of the season and given the circumstances, it was a great achievement from the team. Playing on a quality surface, the Flames were able to play some excellent soccer, stringing together pass after pass and creating a number of scoring opportunities throughout the game. "Even though it was a pressure situation, the girls looked to be having fun out there. That was the difference. We played with enjoyment and were free spirited in our performance. The play then spoke for itself. All players performed to a high level and I was very very happy with the performance, especially given the result the night before and the travel involved."
The goal has been to finish 3rd in the Southeast division and with two games left, the great news for the Flames is that both are at home and there is a real opportunity to attain that goal.
The Flames next game is at JC Handly Park, Brandon, on Saturday at 5pm against the Atlanta Silverbacks. For more information and to order tickets click here.