For the first time this year the Legends got to play on their favoured field #74 at Randalls Island, although the 6pm time slot was unfortunate. Although missing a couple of key players the great squad depth allowed CPR to have 15 available. The setting sun was ready to be a factor but the delay in procuring the referee from the neighbouring field meant that by the time the game kicked off the winning toss only allowed about 5 minutes of glare before not being relevant anymore. The Legends had already talked about using the small field to their advantage defensively, and very soon it looked like the key difference between both teams was going to be energy. Banatul preferred to hold on to the ball, try to dribble and make simple passes while the Legends were looking to steal the ball and then make aggressive runs and attack when they had it. Despite amassing several chances the Legends went behind against the run of play. A long free kick found a Banatul player far offsides, but rather than start screaming as one and raising their hands the Legends fitfully chased the striker who took his chance well.
This setback appeared to have no effect whatsoever on CPR because they were immediately back on the attack. A lobbed ball saw Pritchard and the defender both physically go after the ball, with CPR this time benefitting from a somewhat charitable penalty decision. Resnik strode forward purposefully and buried the ball with aplomb. The Banatul frustration level started to increase, as in addition to feeling aggrieved with the decision they had no time on the ball. At all parts of the field the moment a Banatul player had it multiple Legends swarmed him, playing the aggressive defensive style preached by management for that particular field to perfection. The opposition didn’t help themselves by constantly trying to dribble out of trouble instead of making quick passes, and from such a turnover the Legends launched a lethal counterattack that resulted in Jee crossing the ball over for Pritchard to finally take advantage of one of his chances in front of goal to take the lead.
At half time the Legends were reminded that although they needed to keep up the frenetic energy defensively there was no reason to keep scampering after balls into touch, since the clock was their friend. The second half put the Siege of Troy to shame as wave after wave of Legends wore out the defensive Banatul players. Having hit the woodwork once in the first half they were to do it a couple more times, and the Banatul keeper valiantly did all he could, making some tremendous saves. The siege was breached once (the equivalent of the death of Patroclus) by another offsides goal, but the Legends imperiously brushed aside this insult by breaching the defenses from distance, another tactic long requested. Having said that, the 3 goals launched from distance by D’Andrea and Bernoske (2) were more than worthy to pierce the Banatul armor. Although the majority of the opposition treated the game with equanimity as always there were a couple of dirty characters who started taking their frustration out with late tackles. The referee apparently had a dozen final double secret probation talks with players without actually dipping into his pocket for a card. This time the Legends did have someone on their side more than happy to equal the hard tackle score (well played El Presidente, #WIDTEO).
|The Legends surrounded the Banatul goal and didn’t stop the siege until it was sacked 5-2|
Despite Banatul’s lack of mobility it was still one of best aggressively defensive performances ever made by the Legends. If the back four can just become more aggressive physically and vocally regarding borderline offsides decisions they can make sure that CPR isn’t always on the short end of offsides decisions on both sides of the pitch. Also, congrats to Steve O’Connell who missed the game due to becoming a Father on Friday.
Competition: Banatul, League Opposition
Location: Randalls Island #74, Randalls Island
Conditions: Pleasant fall evening
Result: 5-2 (2-1 at H/T)
Goals: 1:1 Resnik (Pen), Assist Pritchard
2:1 Pritchard Assist Jee
5:2 D’andrea Assist Jee
Yellow Cards: None, the referee electing to go the entire opposite direction of last week’s inconsistent disgrace and even ending the game early because of some members of the other team’s increasing bad temper
Red Card: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: None
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: None.
Old Man of the Match: A very tight contest between Bernoske with two goals struck from distance as well as D’andrea who frustrated the opponents in the middle with his fancy footwork. Bernoske edged the vote to win. Both debutants Street & Kovel were extremely energetic and could easily have scored.
Old Man of the Bar: None
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 15 (53%)
Team Bar Night: 3 out of 5: Good amount of people showing up despite the distance, late hour and Breaking Bad counterprogramming at the same time.
Team (No new profiles this week): Ethan Keswin (GK), Mark Resnik (DF), Drew Faherty (DF), Lars Murray (DF), Steve Teesdale (DF), Dan Bernoske (DF), Paul Stephan, Sean Street, David Kovel, Dan Ochoa, Tony Vamvouris, Chris Jee, Manohar Venkataraman, Willan D’Andrea, Steve Pritchard