NJ Wildcats Claim Road Point in Opener

1-1 Draw is Result with New York Magic

The New Jersey Wildcats (0-0-1, 1 point) kicked off a 17th consecutive season in the USL W-League on Saturday, playing the host New York Magic (0-0-1, 1 point) to a level 1-1 result. Scoring a second half goal for the Wildcats was midfielder Andrea Lopez, who was able to put away a free kick rebound that was placed into the box by Kristen Edmonds.

“I thought we put a good foot forward today. We got better as the game went on,” Wildcats head coach Jim Gabarra stated. “All of our starters contributed and made a difference, while each of our subs also had an impact. We will continue to work on our fitness level and attacking, but it was a good overall starting point for us. We were able to get a point on the road against an improved team, and we will only become stronger as the season progresses. We will take the positives out of today and continue to build on them.”

The goal by Lopez put the match on level terms after the Magic was able to notch the first tally of the afternoon earlier in the second half. Edmonds put a solid strike on a ball that hit the crossbar and then bounced into the box, where an immediate scramble ensued for possession. Lopez then raced onto the loose ball and placed a foot on it. After a brief deflection off the New York defense, the ball redirected itself into the back netting, making the count one goal each in the second half. That score would stay for the remainder of the 90 minutes left to play, and the visiting club earned itself a critical road point.

The Wildcats will now open its 2012 home slate on Wednesday evening at The College of New Jersey when it hosts the North Jersey Valkyries at 8:15 p.m. While it is a quick turnaround, Gabarra says that can actually work to the benefit of the team.

“It’s probably better than having too much time because everything will be fresh on our minds. We will remember what we did and where we need to improve,” he remarked. “We will have a day of practice on Monday, one day off and then the game. I do not see any repercussions or negatives in that.”

Tickets for the home opening match are now available and can be attained by calling 732-720-9163. Individual game tickets as well as team and family packages are available, and more information about the Wildcats can be found online at www.njwildcats.com.

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