Worcester, MA - Entering play Friday, the Worcester Hydra need one win to shoot all the way up to second place in the Northeast Division of the PDL’s Eastern Conference. To do so, they will need to stop the highest-scoring offense in the division.
The Hydra will face CFC Azul in a battle of first-year teams Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Willowbrook Park in New Britain, CT.
Both teams are tied for fourth place in the division, but CFC (2-2-2) travels to face the Western Mass. Pioneers on Friday night.
The Hydra (2-2-2) are winless in their last two games and have been held to five goals in six games this season, but have only allowed five goals in those games, thanks to their defense.
Worcester maintains a strong defensive unit led by Chris Ager, Colin Murphy and Russell Guidici. Playing without Ager, Murphy and Taylor Washington, the Hydra were able to hold the Pioneers to one goal on 10 shots on Wednesday night in a 1-1 tie at home.
Worcester’s defense goes up against the high-powered Azul offense, which leads the division with 13 goals, but the Azul will be without leading scorer Ryan Kinne, who will be playing on the New England Revolution’s reserve squad.
Kinne has scored six goals this season and has recorded 13 points.
The Hydra offense has scored just one goal from the field in the past three games (the other was a penalty kick), but will have leading scorer Alencar Junior back in the lineup on Saturday.
Junior missed the second half of Sunday’s game vs. the GPS Portland Phoenix and Wednesday’s game because of a red card he received last Sunday. The 26-year-old forward has scored four of Worcester’s five goals this year.
Without Junior, Michael Bustamante took five shots in Wednesday’s game, but midfielder Bruno Bonicontro scored the lone goal off a rebound.
The Hydra played without several key players in Wednesday’s game, including Junior, Murphy, Ager, Washington, Laurence Braude and Matheus Candido. Only Michael Soboff (pictured above right) has played in all six Hydra games.
*written by Matt Eisenberg