In Battle Of Unbeatens, Orange Army Gives An Edge
HELP THE WINGS DEFEAT THE SAVAGE, PACK THE HOUSE AND WEAR YOUR ORANGE
Wichita Wings coach, Roger Downing, wants to pack the house with the first sell-out crowd of the season this weekend at Hartman Arena. The Chihuahua Savage are coming to town in a two game battle for first place in the league, in a weekend that features an "Orange Out" and autograph night. The two teams clash at 7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 18 and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020.
They are two final unbeaten teams in the MASL2 with the Savage slightly ahead on goal differential of +5 (Savage average 10.8 GPG and Wings average 10.2 GPG). Stats aside, the back-to-back champions of the indoor league in Mexico will deliver the Wings their biggest challenge of the season.
"This will be our toughest match-up yet," Downing said. "They are very aggressive and look to run at you 1-on-1. They excel on set-pieces so keeping those and power plays to a minimum is crucial. Playing the best team in the league will no doubt bring out the best in our men."
The Wings are emphasizing the importance of capturing game one in the back-to-back games.
“You always want to have the approach of taking the points from game one,” said Wings veteran Bryan Perez, who had a goal and three assists in a strandout performance against the New Mexico Runners last weekend. “Then the team goes into game two with much less pressure on ourselves.”
To help the Wings gain that win on Saturday, the team will be wearing their lucky orange kits for the game against the Savage and team owners have asked the fans to wear their orange gear for an arena-wide "Orange Out!"
"Playing in front of our Orange Army could be intimidating for the Savage, it's important we pack the house, especially Saturday," said Coach Downing.
Newly activated to take the field just in time for the huge pair of games is standout Brazilian forward Nico, who is available for his first action of the season. The former São Paulo FC (Brazil) player, Nico said he is determined to bring an exciting, competitive game to fans at Hartman Arena.
Owner Blake Shumaker said, “Nico was a huge part of the team we set out build this season. He will be at full speed in training this week ahead of an important double-header weekend.”
Coach Roger Downing agrees that Nico will make an impact.
"Nico is a fantastic talent, his ball control will really help us slow the game down," said Downing. "When you play a ball into the corner for him you know he is going to keep it. He is still getting accustomed to the indoor game, but no doubt he will be a threat not just against the Savage, but for the future as well."
Nico isn't the only one to watch. Perez has had great success around the goal and "The Eagle" Collin Lawter was the star of the game against the Runners with a hat trick. And Coach Downing thinks another one of his players is prime for some quality minutes this weekend.
"Alex Moseley is prime to have a break-out game," Coach Downing said. "His playing legs are back and his energy has been great through training and the last couple of games. Look for him to really step up for us in a more attacking role this week."
If packing the arena to cheer the Wings onto a win on Saturday is important to the team, then Sunday is all about the fans and giving back to the Orange Army. And it's all about "football."
"Having trouble picking which 'football' game to watch? You don’t have to choose! We will be opening Hartman arena early and we will have the football playoff game on in the arena," said Shumaker.
The arena will open at 1 p.m. (two hours ahead of kickoff) so fans can grab some nachos, a beer, or even lunch and settle down to watch the football game. Fans will be able to keep up with both games during the Wichita action, as well.
After the game, team management wants you to stay for just a while longer. Sunday is autograph night. Team posters will be available and the players will be on-hand to sign autographs after the game. Can't stay late? You can still score an autograph as the Wings will be throwing out autographed hummel branded mini balls on all Wings goals.