Three match losing streaks are never easy, but imagine that losing streak representing the sum total of your club’s existence; that was the reality facing the Roma women last week when they hit the road to take on Florentia. With successive losses to Sassuolo, Verona and Juventus, the early days of Roma Femminile were pretty bleak. However, thanks to goals from Claudia Ciccotti and Agnese Bonfantini, Roma managed to get off the schnide with a rather convincing 2-1 victory over the weekend. So wild and unrestrained was Roma’s attack, Florentia should consider themselves lucky the scoreline wasn’t more tilted.
Following their opening day loss to Sassuolo, Roma had originally hoped to reverse their fortunes against Tavagnacco, and christen the Stadio Tre Fontane in the process, in late September. However, thanks to a spate of U-19 call ups, Roma were one of four sides to have their matches postponed; this league skews very young is what I’m noticing, so in retrospect, I’m not surprised they had to scupper a few matches.
Roma v. Tavagnacco: October 31st. 15:00 CET/10:00 EDT Stadio Tre Fontane, Roma.
As a result, Roma entered into an unplanned three week vacation, which certainly didn’t do their form any favor, as they were summarily stilted by Verona and humiliated by Juventus. But that was then, and this is now.
If last week’s victory over Florentia was any indication, my cautious optimism was well founded indeed. For weeks, we lamented on Roma’s lack of scoring, all the while knowing that, due to the quality of those chances, it wasn’t a matter of if but when Roma would, in the words of Tommy Smyth, budge the old onion bag. With Giada Greggi blazing the trail and Bonfantini following in her wake, the song was the same, only this time it finished with a magnificent crescendo rather than a whimper. Roma were a constant, whirling, and direct threat to Florentia...you know, kind of like Napoli this past weekend.
However, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows last week as the club lost one of their hard hitters:
Update on @piemontem18: after suffering a head injury yesterday, Martina has passed all the necessary medical tests and has been given the all-clear to go home...— AS Roma Women (@ASRomaWomen) October 28, 2018
#ASRomaWomen #ASRoma https://t.co/1CWXekLsF0
I’m not sure what the concussion protocol is in Serie A, but Martina Piemonte, who went off injured last week, has been given a clean bill of health, though it remains to be seen if she’ll start this match. If Piemonte isn’t available, look for Luisa Pugnali to start in her place. Either way, with Greggi creating in the middle and Bonfantini and Annamaria Serturini wrecking shop on the wings, Roma needs a consistent threat up top to keep defenses honest, be it Piemonte, Pugnali or someone else entirely.
Standing in the way of Roma’s second victory of the season is seventh place Tavagnacco. UPC Tavagnacco, who hail from the land of Udinese, are one of the stalwarts of Serie A, having been in Italy’s top flight since 2001. While they’ve never taken league honors, they have finished second on a few occasions, while capturing the Coppa Italia twice. Hmm, why does that make my heart sad?
The current incarnation of Tavagnacco should consider themselves lucky to be seated in seventh place, though. With only three goals forced and four allowed, they’re clinging desperately to life in the mid-table, as only three points separate them and the relegation zone, which is, coincidentally enough, where Roma find themselves. Well, close anyway.
With three points from four matches, Roma are rooted in tenth place, safe above Orobica and Bari, but lagging three points behind Tavagnacco, Verona and Atalanta. But...and this is huge...thanks to that postponement, Roma have a game in hand over the latter two, making this early season six pointer a prime chance to gain some ground on the table.
If Roma bring that same Florentia spirit to this match and run off winners, they would (depending on tie breakers, differential etc.) leapfrog Tavagnacco for seventh place, putting the top four within shouting distance.
While the initial delay of this match threw Roma into a bit of a tailspin, having this match in hand could very well prove to be a blessing in disguise.