Friday, February 22, 2008

Thursday Night Soccer Report

Tonight we played the Greek team Doxa. We had the late game – supposed to start at 11:19 and didn’t start until 11:24. We had everyone there so we were playing with 4 subs and we decided to be a magnanimous bunch. Doxa only had 7 players so we let them use a youngster as their goalie instead of playing a man down.

This was without a doubt our roughest game of the season. Doxa came out hard and there was a lot of fouling. I got taken out once as did many others on the team and the ref was constantly blowing his whistle. They had one yellow card for a 2 minute suspension and the ref cautioned them many more times. I asked him after the game why he didn’t give any reds and his reply…they had no subs and I wanted to keep it fun. Although he made the right calls as far as fouls not sure it was the right way to go.

We started off on a letdown when 5 minutes in they had their first goal on an excellent shot from the left side. We were not successfully passing and kept trying to go straight up the middle. They played a very well spaced game and had some great passes. It only took another 5 minutes for them to score their second goal. We let one get behind us and although he whiffed on his shot it took a slow bounce over Frank’s leg. He was pretty annoyed at the end of the game. He felt that he should have at least had that one.

We finally started to pick it up after the second goal woke us up. We started to use the sides and with our resident Irish man Frank in with Rolfie and Wes, we got the ball in front of the net. Either Wes or Frank took a shot that clanged off the past and bounced right back to Rolfie on the 6 who pounded it into the net to get one back.

The game stayed pretty close for the next 25 minutes. We were definitely the better team but we refused to run them enough. We did a good job subbing but we had a tendency to lay back and let them attack and then look for a counter. We should have spent more time running them ragged since they had no subs. They had one terrific player, who really pushed us but between a few of us we managed to contain him.

I felt very comfortable – going to the gym the last 2 weeks has definitely made a difference. I was diving around at one point making 2 stops before the ball could get to Frank on some hard shots. We were doing a good job of containing.

We had our second goal on a miscue from their keeper. We put a ball up which he caught and then stepped out of the box. It gave us a direct kick right in front of their net. They put their whole team on the wall directly in front and Rolfie, instead of shooting, layed it off to Wes on the edge of the wall where he put it in the top right corner. We were back to 2 – 2.

This is where Rolfie decided to embarrass himself. He stepped up to forward as we were playing 4 back. 3 defense and a floater and Rolfie hung out at midfield. With about 9 minutes left we put the ball to Rolfie who was all alone in front of their net. Now, as a reminder, – let’s go back three weeks when Wes passed me the ball in the same situation. What did I do, I tried to one time it in the net instead of settling it down and completely missed. So what does Rolfie do, he brings the ball down to his feet turns, I yell “nobody” so he should no he is alone and he takes a shot from maybe 12 yards out. Calling it a shot is pretty generous though, it hit the bubble 8 yards to the left of the post. He knew he blew it but that wasn’t the end. We sent another ball to him two minutes later, he is down on the right end line and starts dribbling towards the goalie. Remember, Rolfie has great foot skills and claims he can beat everyone. Instead of trying to beat the keeper he shoots from 2 yards away right into the keeper. Nick and I decided that Rolfie just can’t shoot from the right side, only from the left.

By the way, he actually had a third chance. During the yellow card 2 minute man up, I moved forward and Wes had a great pass to me on the right side which I turned and put it to Rolfie’s feet (all alone on the left side) and all he could do was lose control. I think he had a case of the yips tonight.

We ended the game tied 2 – 2 and a little beat up on a game we should have won. Tony managed not to get kicked out tonight and even Buyar behaved after his first talking to by the ref. All in all it was a good game but not a great game. We dropped from 4th to 5th with a tie and Doxa moved from 3rd to 4th due to the tie. Next week we play the Wildcats whom we have tied and beaten in the past but who are in 2nd in the standings due to their 2nd win and goal differential. It should be interesting since Paul won’t make it and it is the early game at 9:00.

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