It comes down to this.
If the Rochester Lady Lancers want to reach the United Women’s Soccer playoffs, it has to defeat the Inferno Rush at home Saturday at 2 p.m. at Marina Auto Stadium.
They entered last week’s action atop of the East Conference table, but are now outside of the two playoff positions.
Rochester fell 2-1 to Western New York Flash last Saturday, a venue that has not given the Lancers a whole lot of success as head coach Sal Galvano’s third-place team is 1-2-1 in its four home matches.
The Lady Lancers are 4-2-2 with 14 points, trailing the Western New York Flash and Inferno Rush, who are both 5-2-0 with 15 points. Only the top two teams qualify for the postseason.
Creating chances wasn’t necessarily an issue for Rochester last week as it forced Flash goalkeeper Emily Kelly to make 11 saves. The Lancers just need to be more clinical in front of goal as they face off against one of the best defensive units in the league. Knowing that a loss this week could knock them out of making the East championship game, expect the hosts to come out firing from the start.
Week VIII was a big week for Inferno Rush as it took home six points from a possible six and moved up to the top of the East Conference Standings. Francisco Cleaves’ team had to battle a very tough New Jersey Copa FC team on a very hot and humid Saturday afternoon last week but came away with an important 2-0 victory, sweeping the season series in the process against their Garden State rivals. And then the day after, the goals finally started to fly in as they put seven past Worcester. Which is how it has come to be that Inferno currently control its own destiny as if the team wins its final three games, the Rush will secure the top spot in the East and host the conference championship game.
Inferno’s defensive unit has been tough to break down, allowing six goals in seven games and have had two players named as the UWS defensive player of the Week, including Ashley Chilcoat last week. This will be the first of two matches on the weekend and knowing that its opponents will be hunting a result to keep their postseason hopes alive, Inferno will need its defensive form to stay strong in order to leave Rochester with points.