ST. ALBANS -- Still chasing after its first win of the USL PDL season, the Vermont Voltage is hoping that the confines of the Collins-Perley Sports Complex in St. Albans will be kinder than Applejack Field in Manchester, where the Voltage fell to CFC Azul 2-0 last week.
This weekend's contest will be played against a longtime foe in the Westchester Flames, a team that the Voltage used to face in the Northeast division up until 2011, when the Flames switched to the Mid Atlantic division.
The Flames, however, are back in the mix in the Northeast division, allowing the two sides to again play their home-and-away series.
Entering Saturday's contest, the Voltage are 0-3-0 while the Flames are 1-2-0. With CFC Azul on top of the division with a 2-0-1 record, the three points up for grabs will be key for both sides to try and stay in the early race for division leader.
While the Voltage lost their week three contest, the Flames picked up their first win of the season in a 2-1 decision over the Real Boston Rams, a team that has already beaten the Voltage this year.
Coach Bo Vuckovic kept his comments short this week, saying in a statement that "the team has been working hard and has been concentrated all week on [Saturday's game]."
If the Voltage took anything away from the loss to CFC Azul last week at Applejack, it is the importance of playing with a full squad.
The Voltage came out of the gate as the stronger of the two sides, enjoying the lionshare of possession throughout the opening 20 minutes.
But when forward Duran Shand was shown a red card on 26 minutes, things slowly started falling apart for the Voltage. While the team weathered the rest of the first half without giving up a goal, two by CFC Azul doomed the Voltage to their third consecutive loss.
While Vuckovic is the only Voltage player to score this season -- Vuckovic is a player-coach -- link-up play between players like Nathan Olukamni and Adrian Saldana showed glimpses of attacking promise against CFC Azul. The key now is to get the ball in the back of the net.
For the Flames, the 2-1 victory over the Real Boston Rams marked the team's first two goals of the campaign. The Voltage will have to keep an eye out on midfielder John Legg, who set up both goals for the Flames in the win.
Something else to keep an eye on is the date for the second match between the sides, which will be on Wednesday at Westchester. That Wednesday match will be the first of five-straight on the road for the Voltage, who return to a home field on June 21 against Real Boston at Applejack Field.