Tiangong, Capricornus, 21, 2077, m249
That’s what Titans fans were asking at the start of Week 15.
Would the Titans win again, for the 12th week in a row, against the Tiangong Wuji?
And could they without Captain Raenia Ware, who was out again, for the 3rd week in a row?
She remains in the sidelines as she recovers from a sprain. Her absence, along with forward Jube Terrell, were evident as the Titans’ offence struggled throughout their match against the lowly Wuji.
Despite the return of scoring star, Readale Nash (scratched from Week 14 play), Wuji relied on a heavily defensive 4-5-1 formation to neutralize Nash for the whole match.
With a scoreless tie, the match was decided in Penalty Kicks where an uninhibited Nash was unleashed.
“They were mugging me all match but in Penalty Kicks, it’s just me and the Goal Keeper, and I like my chances”, said Nash, “I knew I had to score first to set the tone and take some pressure off my teammates”.
And that he did as Nash scored on the 1st penalty shot in overtime with a brilliant dagger into the top far corner away from Wuji’s Trenton Seaton.
And that one penalty goal ended up being the difference maker as the Titans nervously squeaked out a 1-0 PKOT victory over the Tiangong Wuji.
The Titans moved to 14 and 1 for the season while Wuji dropped to 5 and 10.
After the match, Ware was asked when she would return.
“Hopefully soon, but the medical staff is just being cautious,” said Ware. “Ankle sprains are very common and normally take 2 to 4 weeks to recover from. What we want to avoid is re-aggravating it, and then missing extended time in the playoffs.”
Titans manager, Paulo Salgado wasn’t too worried about Ware missing so much time.
“I like how our team has collectively stepped up in her absence as we’ve beaten Al’amal, the Comets, and Wuji during that span,” said Salgado. “Another bright side to all of this, is it’ll give Raenia a breather so she returns re-energized just in time for the playoffs.”
When asked if he was ready to lead the team in Ware’s absence, Nash quickly shot that down with the same ferocity as his kicks.
“Whoa, I’m 17.”, said Nash. “Where’s Ware? She’s everywhere. She’s like a second coach out there. Even if she’s not playing, she makes her presence felt throughout the game.”