June 27, 2012
READY FOR A RUN:
NY Fury look to clinch playoff spot
As the 2012 WPSL Elite league season hits the home stretch, the New York Fury are thinking playoffs, and could solidify their standing in the playoff hunt in the coming weeks.
|Defender Kia McNeil (16) is expected back in the New York Fury lineup Thursday.
Photo by James Smith/Courtesy Chicago Red Stars
After four straight road games, the Fury are back home on Thursday night, when they host ASA Chesapeake Charge at 7:00 pm at Hofstra University. Even better, the team will be at essentially full strength for the first time all season, with the return of defenders Kia McNeil and Allie Long for the first time this season.
"We are starting to get healthier and fitter and we are looking forward to playing four out of our last five games at home," said New York Fury coach Paul Riley. "We have a great opportunity to close the gap on the leaders and get ourselves a concrete playoff spot. We have enjoyed a terrific week of practice and with only Tobin (Heath) and Tina (DiMartino) missing we are getting closer to where we need to be."
Heath made her first appearance for the Fury on Saturday in Boston, but has returned to the U.S. Women's National Team for their game against Canada on Saturday. She is among the 18 players selected for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
The Fury and the Charge are meeting for the second time in two weeks. On June 17, they met in Millersville, Md, with Meghan Lenczyk registering a goal and an assist to give the New York Fury a 2-0 win.
The Charge come into the match with a 1-6-1 record for 4 pts, well behind in the race for the postseason. They fell to the first place Chicago Red Stars 3-1 last Friday night. The Fury are coming off a 2-0 loss to the Boston Breakers last Saturday. The loss dropped the Fury to 5-3-1, but they remain nestled in fourth place in the WPSL Elite, five points behind Boston and the Western New York Flash who are tied for second place, and five points clear of the New England Mutiny. The top four teams will make the playoffs.
Riley is counting on the return of Long, who is the former captain of Sky Blue FC in Women's Professional Soccer.
"Allie will be a massive plus for us. She is a soccer brainiac and fits our system really well," said Riley. "This is a very important homestand for us and our goal is to ensure our playoff spot by July 4th which will require two wins, against Chesapeake tomorrow and [New England] Mutiny next Tuesday."