The Legends knew they would have to concentrate hard on not overlooking this game in favour of their kryptonite Argo Silver (assuming kryptonite was a dull, odorless, flavourless compound consisting of 0-0 draws). With relief CPR saw that they had one of the better referees in the rotation, and were primed not to commit the sins of the previous Banatul match when they gave up 2 poor goals on speculative long balls and fortunate finishes. The game started a few minutes late because not only did Banatul have only 10 players but they neglected to bring two kits as proscribed by league rules. As usual CPR were well prepared and donned their change strip since they were here to play.
Almost immediately the pattern for the entire first half was set, CPR probing and trying to force their way through a high packed line of Banatul defenders hoping for the benefit of an offsides call. This time the congestion of field 74 played against the Legends, with the width not being used consistently or productively. Despite that, CPR came close on numerous occasions from Ochoa’s header to Jee’s snap shot to a narrowly missed on goal. Banatul were certainly getting the benefit of the doubt of the offsides calls, but with barely any offensive threat to speak of all it would take is one successful through ball and finish to open the floodgates.
|At the rate some of the Banatul players were shuffling along with the ball out of play you had to wonder if they had a pulse|
At half time the score was still deadlocked but CPR was gratified to see the referee had granted the full 45 minutes with a minute or two extra to account for the egregious time wasting by Banatul. It wasn’t clear if their strategy was to bleed every possible minute of the clock or if they were just trying to conserve their energy, but even by the standards of this old man’s league the sloth was shameless. The fact the referee was very on point with this was better than most at this level, and the Legends knew they just had to keep plugging away to get rewarded.
With the anxiety now starting to grow it was with a sense of relief that Muro marauded forward from his center back position to take advantage of an ocean of space and hit a speculative shot that squirmed past the keeper for the lead. And like that, the defensive solidity of Banatul crumbled. The high line fell deeper and less disciplined, the Legends continued to stretch the field wide as discussed at half time, and the gaps became legion. Soon Pritchard took a ball from Street and with an elegant back heel found him one on one with the keeper for a smooth finish. Next it was a cross from Pritchard that the defender cleared onto his outstretched hand for as clear a penalty as you will see, despite the ludicrous appeals from the opposition. Resnik as is his wont buried the ball. Next it was Muro striding down the field unmolested moving the ball to Venkataraman with all the time in the world, finding Jee for another smart finish. Pritchard then wrapped up the scoring although with a couple of minutes more there is no doubt the score could have traveled to the regions of the 9-0 victory the Legends had over Banatul last year at the same field.
|Once that first goal went in, the heart of the opposition was ripped out|
One more game to play this fall stanza, and it’s a big one. Argo Silver, where entertaining football and goals go to die. A victory for the Legends will do much to keep the winter warm.
Competition: Banatul, League Opposition
Location: Randall’s Island #74, Randall’s Island
Conditions: Post drizzle warm evening
Result: 5-0 (0-0 at H/T)
Goals: 1:0 Muro Assist Jee
2:0 Street Assist Pritchard
3:0 Resnik (pen) Assist Pritchard
4:0 Jee Assist Venkataraman
5:0 Pritchard Assist Jee
Yellow Cards: None. Solid referee in full control of the game.
Red Card: None.
Mike D’s aka No Shows: El Presidente was “sick” (cough, 16 hours of drinking, cough) but would have shown up had we needed him. We didn’t.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: None this week as Lars Old Boyz were spared any further indignities to add to the two from last week.
Old Man of the Match: A small bar turnout made it difficult to discuss, but there was once again a tight race between Street & Jee. Street’s physical presence and smart runs through the midfield make it very difficult for the opposition, and Jee is now adding defensive acuity to his relentless offensive game. Furthermore, Muro stepped in as Center back and played a strong game out of position, providing that critical first goal. In this case Jee edged out Street by the narrowest of margins. He will be grievously missed next week against Argo.
Old Man of the Bar: A small showing after the late start.
El Presidente (new award for Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None.
Team Bar Showing: 5 out of 14 (36%)
Team Bar Night: 2 out of 5: The late start meant only a few people made it out for a couple of pints
Team (No new profiles this week): Mark Becker (GK), Mark Resnik (DF), Steve Teesdale (DF), Lars Murray (DF), Chris Muro (DF), Paul Stephan (DF), Dan Ochoa, Tony Vamvouris, Sean Street, John Hodges, Chris Jee, Manohar Venkataraman, Steve Pritchard, Willian D’Andrea
Lifetime Statistics Checkpoint: With Resnik now supplementing his regular defensive contributions with penalties (4 taken, 4 scored) he is starting to pull away with 33 points and points/per game of 1.57. However in second place, Pritchard not only leads in life time goals but is far ahead in assists (1.81 p/pg), proving that when he’s on the field, good things happen. Dan Ochoa continues his steady iron man routine with 25 games played out of a possible 28.