Worcester, MA - The Worcester Hydra have been in the middle of a make-or-break stretch in June that has seen the team go from sixth place in the division to one point out of third place as of Thursday. The team will now be tested against the team in first place.
The Hydra host the Ottawa Fury Sunday in a crucial PDL matchup at 7 p.m. at Commerce Bank Field at Foley Stadium.
Entering Thursday, the Fury (5-1-1) lead the Hydra (3-2-2) by five points in the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference, and the Fury also play Saturday before facing the Hydra. The Fury defeated the Vermont Voltage 3-1 on Wednesday night.
Worcester, coming off a 2-1 win against CFC Azul, ranks fourth in the division with 11 points, and, depending on other results, can move up to second place in the division with a win on Sunday.
The Hydra have allowed two or more goals in a game just once this season, thanks to their strong defense. Goalkeepers Oliver Blum and Jose Silva have split time in net, while their defensive unit of Chris Ager, Eric Robertson and Colin Murphy (pictured above right), among others, has been strong.
Their defense will have to put together another strong outing against an Ottawa team that features three players with at least two goals and seven players who have taken at least four shots. Forward Carlo Basso leads the team with 10 points on four goals and two assists. Forward William Beauge is also a scoring threat for Ottawa with four goals on the season.
On the offensive side, Alencar Junior will play his second game since sitting out Worceser’s June 6 game vs. the Western Mass. Pioneers after receiving a red card June 3 vs. the GPS Portland Phoenix. In his return to the lineup last Saturday, Junior took four shots and scored once, while hitting the crossbar once, in a 2-1 win vs. CFC Azul. He leads the team and ranks ninth in the PDL with five goals.
Before Junior’s absence, he had scored all four of Worcester’s goals this year. Since, two other players have scored: Bruno Bonicontro and Derek McCaffrey.
The Hydra are still in the midst of several new roster additions, including Thomas McNamara from Brown and Charlie Rugg from Boston College, but both have only played in one game thus far. Michel Bustamante has taken eight shots since joining the team.
The only Hydra player who has played in all seven games this year has been Michael Soboff, who has registered a team-high 586 minutes on the field.
*written by Matt Eisenberg