San Olympus - Aquarius 15, 2077, m249
In a battle between the league’s top two teams, the Titans defended home field advantage by beating the Comets 2 – 1.
With both teams having secured their playoff spots and rankings weeks before, this match was all about sending a statement to each other should they meet down the road in the playoffs.
“The rumours of our demise have been greatly exaggerated”, said Titans captain Raenia Ware. “I think we sent a strong message to the 2nd place Comets! We own you.”
And one could hardly blame Ware for her bravado as the Titans have beaten the Comets in all three of their regular season matchups.
Early on though, the Titans looked like they would continue their poor play of late as the Comets came out aggressively, inspired by Jayden and Mirna Warren’s pre-game speech delivered from Amrita.
In just the 2nd minute, Stephen Liu teased the Titans defenders on the left wing before sending a perfect cross to the back post, where Luz Obregón finished with a header. Comets 1 Titans 0.
And just as the Comets were building momentum, the Titans’ Pualin Cambeiro crashed into the Comets’ goalkeeper Zaida Agre at the 12th minute. Cambeiro would receive a Yellow Card for her reckless play while Agre was taken off the field with an injury that could jeopardize Agre’s future playoff participation.
And another key injury would take place, this time with the Titans at the 42th minute. The Comets’ Joel Brooks tackled a streaking Readale Nash who crashed to the ground. Nash limped off the field, arm around a trainer, with an apparent leg injury. Nash is the Titans leading scorer with 8 goals.
This awoke the Titans who were able to respond by quickly applying pressure on the Comets’ substitute goalkeeper Alessandro Clemente Ferraz who flubbed a pass to his own defenders which ended up erroneously going into his own net to give the Titans the equalizing gift. 1-1.
At the 52nd minute, the Titans would put in the decided goal as a long pass from Raenia Ware was met by Jube Terrell who drove a left-foot volley past a diving Clemente. Titans 2 Comets 1.
And the Titans were then able to nurse that lead for the remaining 40 minutes to put the match to rest.
After the match, when relayed Ware’s comment around being, “owned by the Titans”, Comets captain chuckled, “That’s the type of arrogance and lack of respect that will kick them right in the butt come playoff time.”
Ware later issued an apology for her comment after blow-back from her own fan-base that regarded her statements as insensitive considering the circumstances with the unprecedented number of injuries. In this regard, the Titans are also not immune as the extent of Nash's injury still unknown.
“They say I may be done for the season but they don’t know me,” said a defiant Nash in a full leg brace during the post-match interview. “I don’t care what the doctors say, I will be there for the playoffs.”