Friday, February 29, 2008

Thursday Night Soccer Report

It’s that time of the week again. Being Thursday and all we played the fourth game of the second season. We are currently in fifth place with a 1-1-1 record and were playing the second place team which had a 2 – 1 record. We were blessed with the early slot tonight – 9:00 PM which actually played against us in the beginning. Nick had a previous engagement and Jeff was nursing a strained hamstring. We were supposed to playing with two subs but at game time we had exactly 8 players. Thankfully Tony and Aharon showed up just after we started to gives us a bench to go to. The nice part of having the early game was that my daughter, Kimmy, came to watch. The games are always too late for her but she had her homework done and I promised Mom she would be home by 10:15.

This was the third time we played the Wildcats this year. We tied the first game 1 - 1 and won the second 5 – 1. They had a much deeper bench this go around and had recruited a few new players. We knew we could beat them but expected a hard fought game. They did not want to lose again.

We came out pretty strong and applied a lot of pressure to them. 5 minutes in Rolfie had a beautiful pass handed to him and sprung free on the left side. He had no one in front of him and a clear shot from 12 – 13 yards out and wouldn’t you know it – just plain missed. Sometimes you wish he could hit the broadside of a barn – but no – he has to try and make it interesting. At one point – he was standing at mid-field when the ball popped out to him. No one in front of him and what does he do – pass it or take it in – no, he shoots from the half line and other than the fact that it was a perfect field goal it looked silly. I think he sometimes confuses his English football with American Football. Wes had a bunch of great shots tonight but truth be told – their keeper was fantastic. He was determined to keep the Wildcats in the game.

They applied some pressure forward on us, mainly with their two strikers pushed all the way up but we were up to the task. They had only 3 somewhat quality shots on the night – Frank had two terrific saves and everything else was wide. Mark who played with us last year likes to slip by upfront but we held the line and played defense well the entire game.

There was very little interruption from the ref except for one of their guys complaining that we were fouling all night. He tried to prove his point by running over Buyar’s leg and earned an Oscar for his beautiful dive. The ref just laughed at him and waved it off – he did a great job.

We had lots of chances but did not manage to score until the 35th minute. We had a corner from the left side and Irish Frank slid up from defense and called the ball. Rolfie slickly played it right to his head and Frankie put it in the upper corner out of reach of the keeper. Frank had a great game – helped keep the game sane on right defense and a goal to boot while Charlie handled the left side equally up to the task.

One of our issues is that we are too quiet and do not talk enough. The Wildcats pushed everyone up the last 7 minutes and at one point we had three of our guys and one of theirs in front of the goal with the ball bouncing around but not going anywhere. As Charlie said, I growled like a bear – called the ball and cleared it down the pitch. No one was camping out on my doorstep tonight! What we really needed was a second goal and it just wasn’t going to come tonight. We kept counter-attacking but between their keeper and all we weren’t able to get a shot in the net – had a few off the post but just weren’t able to get that second one in.

The great news was that it was enough. We won the game 1 – 0 and as they say – keep the other team from scoring and you can’t lose. We are guaranteed at least 4th place and quite possibly higher. Kimmy had a great time at the game. She wants to go again but will only manage that if we can get to 2nd place by playoff time.

No comments: