Entering into the final game of this, inaugural season, the VSI Tampa Flames W-League team needed a win and a little fortune to give them any hope of achieving their pre-season goal of finishing third in the conference.
After 10 minutes of play in the first half, it was clear that in order to do so, the typical Flames performance of poor in the first half and great in the second, was going to be needed to ensure the win.
The Flames thought they were safe but with only nine seconds to go before the break, the Flames gave up a corner that somehow found its way into the back of the net, Flames 0- 1 at half. "It was probably our worst half of the season. We were second to everything, and to be honest, going in at the break 0- 1 was a relief, it could have easily been more", said Head Coach Ged O'Connor.
In order to ensure third position, the Flames needed to beat the Cobras and then hope the Cobras lose the following day to the FC Jax Destroyers, who were holding bottom spot in the conference. "We wanted to make the game a tough affair but more importantly, a physical game. The hope was we outwork them and get the win today, and then after the long drive and playing again in less than 24 hours, there would be a decent chance of an upset. But, the key was hard physical play for 90 minutes."
What the Flames got was hard, physical play for 45 minutes. Bringing onto the field, the eventual MVP, Sarah Miller, changed the game. Her pace simply destroyed the Cobras and three goals in quick succession gave the Flames the end of season win they were looking for. All three goals were similar, break down the left flank with a low driven ball into the box for the striker to pass into the side of the net.
As it turns out, the Cobras beat the FC Jax Destroyers 3- 2 on Sunday leaving the Flames only 3 points out of third spot, but given the challenges of the inaugural season, it was, overall, a successful season with a great deal to look back on in a positive light. A win, loss, and tie with the Central SC Cobras, tying the Atlanta Silverbacks, being tied with the Charlotte Eagles (Eventual Division Champions) with minutes left to play, overall gives the Flames a great deal to work with moving forward.
"I am very thankful for the opportunity to get to work with the fine players we were able to get on the roster, the support from the administration and the fans that came out to watch us play."