It was the same score for the third game in a row for the Wilmington Hammerheads semipro men’s soccer team after it tied the Chicago Fire 2-2 at Legion Stadium on Saturday, June 21.
The first half of the game saw a goal by the Fire about midway through, and the Hammerheads were given a chance to tie the game when a foul was called inside the Fire’s penalty box.
Hammerheads’ forward Samuel Ochoa stepped up to take the penalty kick in a one-on-one matchup with Fire goalkeeper Kyle Raynish. It was Raynish who came out on top, easily blocking Ochoa’s penalty.
Ochoa would make up for his miss five minutes into the second half, when he crossed the ball in from the right side of the field to an open Jordan Hamilton, who redirected the ball past Raynish into the far side of the goal.
The roar from the stands of Hammerheads fans subsided, however, when Chicago responded eight minutes later with another goal.
At the 70-minute mark, Wilmington native Cody Arnoux checked in for the Hammerheads and nearly was awarded the team’s second penalty kick of the night after a questionable tackle in the penalty box. However, the referee did not agree with Arnoux’s plea for a foul.
The mood between the teams became heated when a scuffle nearly broke out in front of the Hammerheads’ bench between a couple of players from each team.
It appeared the Hammerheads would lose the match 2-1 until a hard side volley from substitute Will Heaney found the goal during the last minutes of play.
The Hammerheads had two other chances to score the game-winning goal with a breakaway that resulted in a shot wide of the goal, and another chance when Brian Ackley’s goal was called off by an offside call.
After the game, Hammerheads head coach David Irving said the team’s abundance of ties this season has cost it important points in the standings.
“We have tied four at home so that is eight points that we dropped and we lost on the road so it is a little disappointing. But it is a tough league and that was a tough team we played tonight,” Irving said. “All in all it was a good point tonight.”
With nine away games of the team’s remaining 14, Irving said he hoped his team can break through.
“These next two games we are at home against Richmond and Orlando, but then we have a tough part of our schedule with nine away games,” he said. “We just have to keep plugging away and these players never say die; we have created that spirit here.”
For a full schedule of the Hammerheads’ remaining games, visit www.