While the men’s side of the Roma equation has endured their fair share of ups and downs this year, the same cannot be side for the women. It’s been down. All down. Through three matches, Betty Bavagnoli’s crew remains winless, falling to Sassuolo, Verona and most recently, Juventus. Roma has shown signs of life throughout those matches, displaying an attacking intent, but have yet to make a dent in the table, to the point where they’re mired firmly in the drop zone. Suffice it to say, things have not gone according to plan.
However, as we’ve been cautioning all along, despite the horrid results, there are ample reasons to remain optimistic. This isn’t a shy, timid team delicately looking to create opportunities; Bavanogli’s team is a direct attacking threat, one that has not suffered for scoring chances. It’s just that...uh...they haven’t converted them.
Florentia v. Roma: October 27th. 15:00 CET/9:00 EDT. Stadio “Del Buffa”, Firenze
Whether it’s Martina Piemonte firing just wide of the post, a Giada Greggi through ball narrowly missing it’s intended target or Agnese Bonfantini unfurling a jaw dropping chip only to see it carom off the crossbar, Roma has come exceedingly close to making life uncomfortable for their opponents, except for Juventus, that was just a good old fashioned beatdown.
So, what gives? Has it simply been bad luck holding Roma down, or are there systemic, tactical issues at play here? New team or not, a three match losing streak is a cause for concern, doubly so when it represents nearly 15% of your schedule.
Making matters worse, Roma face yet another tough opponent. After earning promotion to Serie A this season, Florentia haven’t shied from the competition. Through four matches, Florentia sit in fifth place, sporting an even goal differential (six scored, six conceded), giving the appearance of being a mediocre albeit balanced side. However, if you remove their 3-0 clunker against Juventus (nothing changes), Florentia have held a +3 goal differential, averaging two goals per match. Not too shabby for any club, let alone a newly promoted side.
Without the benefit of extensive source material in English (I’m getting tired of harping on that, but it is a tremendous impediment to writing about these teams thus far), we can think of Florentia as sort of the baseline for this league; they’re not going to compete with Juve or AC Milan for league honors, but, based on their performance thus far, they figure to finish no worse than mid-table. In that sense, this match will be a litmus test for a reeling Roma side; the Scudetto is probably lost, but are they a legitimate threat for the future or just an also-ran?
Lest you think it’s all doom and gloom, Roma are receiving reinforcements this week in the form of Martina Piemonte, who is returning from her red card suspension, and if the look on her face throughout this three-match skid is any indication, she’s aching for a goal.
At the risk of beating a dead horse here, the real Roma, a fast paced, dynamic attacking team, is just beneath the surface here; you can sense it in their intuitive passing and blinding runs and you can see it on their faces, it’s only a matter of time before it reveals itself.
But that’s the funny thing about time, it has a tendency to slip from your grasp. Roma have dug themselves a deep hole, but they’re not dead yet.