The Legends were still smarting from avoidable dropped points from the opening stanza of the campaign. A 5pm start gave them all day to brood and get themselves ready on the same pitch that the Old Boyz had just vacated. Fortuitously enough, as Becker was to be the stand in keeper for the Legends. While concentrating on getting themselves ready and correcting the lessons of the previous week, they failed to notice a distinctly sparse squad of Banatul players readying themselves. In fact, on kickoff there were only about 8 players ready to go for Banatul with the other 3 taking their time, a plight that the Legends looked to take advantage of.
Some of the issues of the previous week still reared their heads as the Legends eagerness to attack resulted in snatching at balls and lobbing the ball into the penalty area instead of methodically probing for weaknesses & taking advantage of all the available space. Banatul’s defence employed an interesting but disciplined strategy of playing a concertedly high defensive line, begging for a midfield runner to pierce it on a continuous run. Instead the breakthroughs came from the wings, with both Conboy & Pritchard able to beat their men at will and get the ball inside. Pritchard’s shot & Conboy’s pass were both calmly dispatched by Venkataraman, but long & painful lessons had shown that a two goal lead was never safe no matter how weak the opposition looked. Once Ochoa was able to force his shot to trickle just over the line the contest was for all intents & purposes over. D’Andrea still had a chance to bury one past the keeper from deep before the shortish first half was over.
Banatul were gasping for breath just to get to half time, but the Legends could only focus on what they were doing. With 7 substitutes it was a matter of getting everyone on the field and used to playing with each other, and the goal was to use the real league situation as practice to get the team in synch for more potent opposition in the future.
With the second half came a renewed onslaught, and although CPR still managed to score they also needed to fine tune their ability to adapt to changing game situations. Casanova looked like he was trying to break the league’s offsides record by himself despite the referee making it very clear that he was going to call anything that looked borderline. With Banatul players looking more and more disinterested the goals were there for the taking with simple passing & spacing, D’Andrea adding a goal with Brazilian flair & Ochoa adding perhaps the best of the lot with a one touch flick past the keeper from a high lob.
After the large keeper mercilessly took Pritchard out in the box the game turned farcical. Venkataraman to no surprise dispatched the penalty only to bemusedly face vitriolic epithets by one of the defenders, who apparently had left his self respect in Queens along with any substitutes. The thrust of his argument was that since Banatul were so old and had no substitutes the penalty should have been missed in some fashion. Perhaps rather than languish in self-pity and blame the opposition, the defender should have done what the Legends did during the summer and spent many hours recruiting & signing over a dozen players to add to the 12 members of the squad already over 40 (including the scorers of 5 of the goals).
|”Waddya doing still scoring goals? I know there’s still half the game left but you should take mercy on us like we’re 5 year olds not 50+ year olds!”
To their credit some of the Banatul players realized it was nobody’s fault but their own and that it was only a Sunday afternoon Old Man’s League, but it didn’t stop bitter old man kicking out at Casanova right in front of the referee to garner himself an early shower (one can only hope). Some of the other defenders repeatedly asked how much time there was left, and not liking the answer started shamefully discussing the forfeit rules. With the Legends still scoring goals the referee decided to invoke his own mercy rule and end the game in the 33rd minute of the second half.
Regardless of the scenario, a 9 goal shutout is still a 9 goal shutout. The squad looks like it is coming together and with a game against RTG next week should fancy themselves to keep the momentum going.
Competition: Banatul, League opposition
Location: Randalls Island #74, Randalls Island
Conditions: Bright afternoon with the blinding evening sun behind the bridge adding some adventure to the proceedings
Fans: Assorted showing including some of the Old Boyz & familes, & the Casanova family.
Result: 9-0 (4-0 at H/T)
Goals: 1:0 Venkataraman assist Pritchard
2:0 Venkataraman assist Conboy
3:0 Ochoa assist Dean
4:0 D’Andrea assist Sherwin
5:0 D’Andrea assist Resnik
6:0 Ochoa assist D’Andrea
7:0 Venkataraman (pen) assist Pritchard
8:0 Sherwin assist Casanova
9:0 Muro assist Venkataraman
|The Legends made it rain…goals
Yellow Cards: Rhem received a pedantic booking after shooting at goal 10 feet away on being given a borderline offsides call. Dean was more properly given a card for a completely unnecessary full throated challenge when up 7-0, just the type of tackle that could have lit the tinderbox that was already smoking.
Red Card: None, although with the frustration level of some of the opponents rising it could easily have provoked some of the Legends into retaliation. Fortunately the excellent referee had a full grasp on the proceedings.
Mike D’s aka No Shows: None.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: None again, with the 7 substitutes giving everyone plenty of rest. The new guys will soon learn that 18 every week is an anomaly that won’t continue for long.
Old Man of the Match: Unlike last week there were a number of contenders given the sheer dominance top to bottom. Although the defence pitched a shutout they suffered by Banatul’s feeble shorthanded attacking abilities. In the end the man who scored the most goals for a first official hat-trick in a CPR uniform garnered the honors, Venkataraman waiting 12 years for his shooting boots to work 3 times in the same match.
Old Man of the Bar: None, as the 7pm finish didn’t help.
El Presidente (new award for Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None.
Team Bar Showing: 8 out of 18 (44%)
Team Bar Night: 2.5 out of 5: A 7pm finish makes it difficult to gather the troops.
Team (No new profiles this week): Mark Becker (GK), Mark Resnik (DF), Luciano Belizano (DF), Steve Teesdale (DF), Dan Bernoske (DF), Lars Murray (DF), Kyle Sherwin (DF), Andrew Faherty (DF), Mark Dean, Michael Conboy, Dan Ochoa, Willian D’Andrea, Steve Pritchard, Tony Vamvouris, Chris Muro, Manohar Venkataraman, Manuel Casanova, Will Rhem