Wildcats striker Andrea Lopez has two goals and five assists on the year.
Team Fights to Reach Playoffs by Playing Three Times in Four Days
For the second time this W-League season, the New Jersey Wildcats (5-2-2, 17 points) will play three games in just four days, beginning on Wednesday night when it travels to De Paul Catholic High School in Wayne to play a critical match against the North Jersey Valkyries (7-2-1, 22 points). The Wildcats must win the 8:00 p.m. match to keep its playoff ambitions alive, and the team will look to ride the momentum of a victory into a Thursday home contest with the New Jersey Rangers before closing out the regular season on the road this Saturday with the New York Magic.
“It is not the easiest of schedules, but you have to deal with the cards you are dealt,” Wildcats head coach Jim Gabarra remarked. “Fortunately for us, the most important game is tonight. If we do not make sure to take care of getting three points in this one, the next two games do not mean much. We need to win tonight and then carry it through the weekend. It is tough to play three games in four days, but we just have to pour everything into this next one and see if we have enough in the tank to close it out properly in the final two.”
The Valkyries are currently in second place in the Northeast Division, but a win tonight would close the gap to just two points for the Wildcats, which would then have a match in hand to overcome those final points. Both the Valkyries and Wildcats are currently chasing the first place Long Island Rough Riders, which have 24 points and just a regular season finale on Saturday against the Valkyries left on the schedule. If the Wildcats close out the season with three wins to earn nine points, the team would win the division crown and reach the playoffs with a Long Island loss or tie against the Valkyries. Before any of those scenarios matter, however, the Wildcats must handle business on Wednesday night when it heads into Wayne.
“We have to put it all on the line tonight,” Gabarra continued. “Obviously, we have to get three points to make the final two games matter. Once we do that, then we can look at how we will attack the next game and see how we can manipulate the roster to give some players a little bit of a break. We will continue to apply that strategy through Saturday and keep our focus on getting the three points in each game.
“The biggest one for us is tonight against a team that is playing really well. We have to put it all on the line and get the result.”
Fans are strongly encouraged to join the Wildcats at De Paul Catholic High School and cheer the team onto victory. Tickets for the final Wildcats home match on Thursday, which will be played at Saint John Vianney High School in Holmdel, are available now and can be attained by calling 732-720-9163 or at the gate on Thursday. The Wildcats will be attempting to break the New Jersey state record for most people juggling a soccer ball at halftime of that game, so all fans should bring a soccer ball to take part in the potentially historical event.
Individual tickets as well as team and family packages are available for the home finale, and more information about the Wildcats can be found online at www.njwildcats.com.