May 13, 2011
BULKING UP IN THE BACK
Magic tries to improve its defense
The New York Magic has big things on its mind fr this W-League season. The Magic finished the 2010 strong and are looking to carry over that run of form.
Much of New York’s success last season boiled down to their fast forward Rashidah Sherman.
“I don’t know anyone that can keep up with her in this league,” Magic coach Nino DePasquali said.
Sherman averaged a goal a game and captured the W-League’s rookie of the year honors in her debut season. But while the Magic finished near the top of the league's scoring chart, the club finished near the bottom of the defensive numbers something the club is addressing head-on.
The Magic has added a goalkeeper and three new defenders to help shore up its backline.
“We are going to rely as much on the returning players as much as the new ones,” Magic president Lyndelle Phillips said.
The Magic opens the season against the New Jersey Rangers at Morris Catholic High School at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The Magic is wary of its opponents as every Northeast Division team has been busy assembly talented squads to challenge the Magic.
“I believe we can give a good run at [the division] this season,” DePasquali said. “Anything less than a division title will be disappointing.”
This is the first season for the new D.C.-based W-League franchise. Given its MLS namesake and the pedigree of past Washington W-League sides, United will have lofty expectations.
The United women’s roster is still being finalized, but with all the talent in the surrounding area the side should be competitive. Like the last Washington team, D.C. United women will also make its home at the Maryland Soccerplex.
Long Island Rough Riders
After a couple a mixed seasons, the Rough Riders will look to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Coach Steve Cadet’s side is laden with plenty of talent and will need his defense to put in a similar effort after only conceding 14 goals in 2010.
Last season the Rough Riders came within one point of a playoff spot.
New Jersey Rangers
Last season marked the W-League debut of the Rangers, who have an excellent player pool to draw from in the talent-rich Garden State.
The Rangers earned four wins last season, the best among any first-year W-League franchise. After gaining a year of experience the Rangers will look to improve that mark.
New Jersey Wildcats
The Wildcats collected 22 points and made a run at the division leaders. The Wildcats fell in the playoffs to Atlanta. The Wildcats will be gunning for another playoff birth and a higher finish in the division.
New Jersey needs to replicate their fast start to ast season that saw the team win five of its first seven matches. The Wildcats could not hold their run of form late, dropping four of their final six matches.
North Jersey Valkyries
Another first-year team in 2010, the Valkyries and the learning curve proved to be steep. North Jersey played a number of close matches in its first season, but could not register a win.
The Valkyries must ramp up their offensive production in if they hope to make an impact in the division.