New Jersey Takes to Road in Must-Win Affair
Lucio currently leads the XSL in points
Newark, N.J. (Saturday, March 14, 2009) – Facing a two-game deficit in the XSL standings, the New Jersey Ironmen (6-8) head to Chicago this weekend for a 4:00 p.m. pairing on Sunday with the third-place Storm (7-9). With only six games remaining in the 2008-09 Ironmen season, New Jersey must leave the Windy City with a victory to keep themselves in the hunt for an XSL title.
“It's important we take each game as they come and have our focus on that game and that game alone,” Ironmen Head Coach Omid Namazi stated. “With some good play on our part, we can still put some pressure on the teams that are above us and get ourselves back in the hunt.”
Knotted up at the top spot in the league standings are the Detroit Ignition (8-6) and the Milwaukee Wave (8-6), who will also be facing off Sunday afternoon. If New Jersey is able to defeat Chicago tomorrow, they will remain two games back in the standings regardless of who wins that contest. Detroit has already taken the season series over the Ironmen, so New Jersey would need one more victory than them on the season.
Finding the back of the net has not been a problem for the Ironmen this year, as the team boasts the top two point scorers in the XSL. Brazilian striker Lucio Gonzaga owns a commanding lead over the rest of the league with 42 points while teammate Adauto Neto is second with 35 points. New Jersey also has three of the top five assist getters in the XSL with veteran midfielder Goran Vasic in second (12), Neto in third (11) and midfielder Chile Farias in fifth (10). Lucio is also the top goal scorer in the league with 16 knocks in 13 contests. On the other end, the Ironmen are allowing 13.29 points a game, which is the bottom figure in the XSL.
New Jersey returns to Prudential Center this Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. for a school day exhibition game in front of students from the Newark School System. All fans are welcome to attend the game, and tickets remain on sale now. The Ironmen play their next league action at the Rock on Sunday, March 22nd, when they host the Milwaukee Wave at 1:00 p.m. New Jersey will be wearing special green jerseys in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, and all jerseys will be branded with the Grassroot Soccer (GRS) logo. All jerseys will be sold through a silent auction during the game, with GRS receiving the proceeds. GRS founder and Survivor-Africa winner Ethan Zohn will be at the game while former Cosmos captain Werner Roth will be the Ironmen honorary captain during the opening kick ceremonies.
When 13,249 fans welcomed the legendary Pelé to Prudential Center at their first home contest in team history on December 1, 2007, the New Jersey Ironmen established their honorary captain program. The Ironmen have since built on their honorary captain program by having such stars as Zohn, former U.S. National Team midfielder Tab Ramos, former MLS offensive juggernaut Giovanni Savarese, former IBF Junior Welterweight Champion Paulie “The Magic Man” Malignaggi, former Cosmo midfielder Vladislav Bogicevic and former NASL/MISL goalkeeper Shep Messing being among their previously honorees. Roth will be honored on Sunday, March 22nd, five-time MLS Cup Champion Jeff Agoos will serve as honorary captain on Friday, March 27th, and Super Bowl Champion George Martin will be honorary captain on Saturday, April 4th. Tickets for all those matches are available now by calling 1-800-IRONMEN.