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Wildfire Bounce Back in Game 2 Against Syosset Impact

August 14, 2021. 1:00 PM (Hershey, PA). – For game two of the Hershey Cup Tournament, the Wildfire played Syosset Impact out of Woodbury, NY. After suffering a loss in the game before to the Ukrainian Nationals, the Wildfire would need to win out to make it to the finals. 

Wagner battles an Impact defender on the way to the goal.
Wagner battles an Impact defender on the way to the goal.

The Wildfire coaches spent the majority of the break between games going over strategy, mechanics and plays to get the girls amped up for this game. When the whistle blew, it didn’t take long to see a difference in play as Wagner drove up and passed to Abarbanel who launched it into the right side of the goal in the first 30 seconds. (1-0)

At the 1′ mark, Abarbanel came again (this time from the left side of the field) and made her way through multiple defenders to drive the ball into the left corner of the net for another score. (2-0). 

At the 3′, Abarbanel’s kick bounced off the side post of the goal but 1 minute later, she passed the ball up to Wagner on the right side. Wagner beat her defender and crossed it right ahead of Stone who was waiting on the far side of the goal  for the tip into the net. (3-0)

Abarbanel sprints the ball inside the Impact goal box.
Abarbanel sprints the ball inside the Impact goal box.

For much of this game, the ball did not spend a lot of time downfield and for the few times it did, the solid play of Murray/Hengbuoy and Baker easily booted it back upfield to keep the opportunities going.

At the 10′, Thomas dribbled to the center top of the goal box, passed to Wagner who beat her defender and chipped it in 10 ft from the goal to make it 4-0. A minute later, Blyden had 2 good chances to shoot again but was blocked and tripped near the goal for no call. On a subsequent play, Frey was passing up the right side to Blyden who went to take a shot but was called for a foul as an Impact defender fell down near her. Coach McGinnis was visibly frustrated by the call making the case that the defender simply fell and was not touched. 

At the 14th minute, both Santoni and Wagner had beautiful shots from the right which were caught by the keeper as well. And during minute 20′, Impact had a real chance at a shot on goal, but Belgrave was able to run back and recover a ball for a save to prevent the shot from happening. McGinnis spend the last part of the half, continually batting down balls to keep the ball upfield and the whistle blew for halftime. 

McGinnis prepares to cross the ball to teammates from the right side of the field.
McGinnis prepares to cross the ball to teammates from the right side of the field.

In the second half not much changed as the Wildfire kept the pressure on. At the 26′, a hand ball in the goal box let Abarbanel take another shot but it went wide left. 30 seconds later, Baker would boot a really nice ball up to Abarbanel who tipped it over to Wagner for a good shot (blocked). At the 31′, the Impact goalie had a really weak kick out to center where Abarbanel was able to intercept it and muscle it in to the upper right of the net to make it 5-0. 

One minute later, on another run, Frey would attempt to cross the ball but get blocked only to have Santoni recover it and center it to Blyden who tipped it to Carey for her first score of the season. (6-0).

At the 33′, Blyden was fouled in the box. Murray took the subsequent PK to make it 7-0. Baker had some great boots up field during the next 5-10 minutes as things seemed to calm down. 

During minute 42′, Frey was fouled on the right side trying to cross it in front of the goal box. McGinnis was instructed to take the PK but unfortunately the shot sailed just outside the goal. A minute later, Frey would again take another shot that was deflected resulting in a corner kick by Abarabanel. In the ensuing kick, the ball was deflected out to the right side of the goal box where McGinnis was able to launch the ball up and over the hands of the goalie to make it 8-0. 

Carey and an Impact defender contend for the ball up the sideline.

With 3 minutes left in regulation, Frey had a cross to Thomas who took a shot which sailed wide-right onto the outside of the net. But one minute later, Wagner would drive up the field and beat her defender on the left for the final goal of the game to make it 9-0. 

With the win, Wildfire would advance to play the 1st place team in the other bracket (essentially a semi-final) the following day and if they won that would have a chance to take on the Ukrainian team that handed them their loss in game 1 for the championship.