Speculation abounds regarding why the Old Boyz had such poor and memorable performances at Dyker Beach Park, the home field of SC Gjoa. Could it be the scandalous condition of the artificial turf, with carpet so bunched up together that it caused an ACL tear for Mark Dean? Perhaps it was the 8am kickoffs that resulted in some players having to finish their morning ablutions a little too close for comfort. Regardless, two draws and two losses against an eminently beatable team were not statistics to be proud of, and the Legends hoped to step away from the previous legacy and create a positive new one.
|Pehaps the reason the Old Boyz/Legends have done so badly at Dyker Beach is that its built on an old Indian Burial ground.
Those positive plans were dealt a couple of early blows as the sick Teesdale and somnolent Rhem put the Legends at 13, just about the minimum squad required to be able to handle the vagaries of injury and fatigue. Unlike previous years Gjoa had their full squad ready to go at game time and seemed very ready to play the team directly above them in the standings.
The initial skirmishes showed that CPR had a distinct advantage on the wings, with both Vamvouris & Pritchard having their way on each side. Pritchard in particular was floating past his markers with ease, causing them to have to resort to fouls to slow him down. Not surprisingly this was the source of the first goal as a smooth through ball from D’Andrea found Pritchard all alone for that seeming rarity for the Legends, a clinical finish. Chances continued to abound including a mistake in the 6 yard box that a less rusty Teran would have gobbled up. The continuing pressure caused Gjoa to bend inwards as infighting burst out in the middle of the field.
A half time lead and a solid overall performance were highly encouraging for the Legends. A positive team talk and strategic focus had the Legends ready to build on the solid foundation they had set. Unfortunately, it appeared that the Gjoans had had an even more productive half time talk as they came out with all guns blazing. All of a sudden CPR found themselves under siege, and after scrambling away a few chances Gjoa tied up the game on a corner.
Although deflated the Legends still kept plugging away and causing problems, but once again their finishing betrayed them. Two more gilt edged chances were spurned inside the 6 yard box, and although Gjoa’s physical play provided free kicks their height was able to negate any threat. The fiery Gjoans were able to cause some problems of their own, and their finishing was the difference as they were able to take the lead halfway through the game and take advantage of a borderline offsides non-call to score a third. The call was not the issue as much as the languid use of whistle by the referee causing mass confusion for both teams regarding when to play on and when not to. The usual dictate of playing to the whistle caused a few confrontations between some players who were taking it easy versus those who kept playing until there was a definitive action by the referee. The sad state of officiating at this level meant that overall this was actually one of the relatively better referees, but making authoritative decisions was certainly not his strong point.
The Legends kept working, and cracked open a sliver of daylight as Ochoa atoned for an earlier astonishing miss by taking advantage of a penalty box scramble to put the ball in the net. However 5 minutes was not enough time to recover from the damage and the scoreline stood 3-2.
On reflection a draw would have been a fair result, but the Legends once again only had themselves to blame for not taking advantage of the abundance presented to them. A chance to take advantage of the draw from the top two teams was wasted, but there are still enough games to make up the damage.
Luciano man of the match
Competition: SC Gjoa, League opposition
Location: Dyker Beach Park, Brooklyn
Conditions: Chilly November morning
Result: 2-3 (1-0 at H/T)
Goals: 1:0 Pritchard assist D’Andrea
2:3 Ochoa assist O’Connell
Yellow Cards: Faherty, Belizano. Notably the first multiple Yellow/Red of the Legends history indicating a combination of good discipline and lenient refereeing regarding dissent.
Red Card: None.
Mike D’s aka No Shows: Rhem & Teesdale, although Teesdale claimed to be legitimately sick and has about 11 years of previous history to back that up. As for Rhem, well, the alarm was set to vibrate…
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Although two substitutes was the bare minimum there were no injuries apart from the expected fatigue.
Old Man of the Match: An excellent first half can’t wipe away a demoralizing second 40 minutes. Muro was at his steady best in the center of midfield and garnered some votes, but it was Belizano whose marshaling of the defence and forays forward continue to provide an impressive foundation for the team.
|Another good performance by Luciano which the score didn’t reflect.
Old Man of the Bar: Honorary mention goes to Hodges for a decent session but the two old stalwarts Faherty & Venkataraman not only saw the coming and going of several teams but also moved on for a nightcap elsewhere.
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 13 (62%)
Team Bar Night: 4.75 out of 5: Over half the team made it back including some of the new guys for the first time. What had a good start continued onwards with Becker/Ochoa leaving for a game and coming back with no change in seating arrangements. Multiple NFL games and a last foursome for a nightcap elsewhere, it’s a good thing Karaoke was a little too far to head to.
Team (No new profiles this week): Mark Becker (GK), Luciano Belizano (DF), Pete Hahn (DF), Andrew Faherty (DF), Dan Ochoa, Willian D’Andrea, Steve Pritchard, Steve O’Connell, John Hodges, Tony Vamvouris, Chris Muro, Manohar Venkataraman, Ernesto Teran