Hammerheads’ loss could spell lineup changes

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Wilmington opens the season at home on April 1. Photo courtesy- Wilmington Hammerheads FC

The forecast in the Port City on Saturday was sunny and blue skies, with a 1-0 loss for the Hammerheads. Legion Stadium welcomed the Charleston Battery, along with 2,958 fans for the Hammerheads’ fifth home match.

Battery, now in third place in the USL 2016 Eastern conference, challenged the Hammerheads, keeping neck and neck throughout the first half. The Hammerheads came out strong, controlling the ball across the field. Center midfielder Mael Corboz has proven to be an all-star addition to the Hammerheads this season. Alongside Corboz is previous Premier League powerhouse Liam Miller.

Both teams were hungry to score, but defensive lineups throughout the first half made that nearly impossible. Overall, there were just three shots on goal during the 90-minute game, all coming from Charleston. It wasn’t until the 33rd minute that Charleston’s hunger paid off. Goalkeeper John Smits intercepted a shot and pushed the ball over the net, giving Charleston a dangerous corner kick. Charleston midfielder Justin Portillo launched a beautiful ball met by teammate Shawn Ferguson, who was able to sneak around Wilmington’s defense and score.

Although the Hammerheads have a strong defense, they continue to struggle with their offensive lineup. Head coach Mark Briggs said, “We’ve got to regroup. We’ve got to refocus and we may have to change things up a little bit.”

The first half ended with a 1-0 lead for Charleston, while the Hammerheads struggled to put the ball in the back of the net.

The second half began with Charleston controlling the movement around the field. Despite struggling with scoring, the Hammerheads were able to maintain a strong defense. With Briggs’ and the team’s frustration growing, the game continued to intensify. Miller received a red card in the 77th minute of the game, causing even more of an uproar from the fans. Overall, the game produced four yellow cards and one red.

The game ended in a 1-0 loss for Wilmington.

“We wanted to pass the ball and look fancy rather than put the ball in dangerous areas. If you don’t put the ball in dangerous areas, you don’t win games. It’s as simple as that,” Briggs said.

Lineup changes could be in the future for the team.

“If people aren’t doing their business, then they don’t deserve to be on the field,” Briggs said. “If people aren’t going to put the effort in and the passion in with putting their blue and white striped Hammerheads jersey on, then we have to look at changing things up.”

The Hammerheads will be on the road for their next game, Sunday, May 29 against Toronto.