The Cosmo league scheduling gods bestowed upon the New Jersey contingent of the Legends squad the most precious of all gifts, a match located in NJ at the glorious Sinatra Park Soccer Field. With many modes of travel (bus, boat or PATH train) at their disposal, a defender heavy Legends squad arrived on time and primed for a solid match. Stealing a few glances at the opposing team, several players noted that the opposition had overhauled the roster significantly from the prior week, so much so that kick off was delayed by several minutes as Coach Resnik was on the verge of demanding to see ID’s for a few that didnt look old enough to vote. Although not fully convinced after receiving assurances from Hoboken that they would never bend the age limits, Coach Resnik and the Legends were ready to just get on with it.
From the opening whistle, the Legends did well, knocking the ball around the pitch with crisp passing and useful triangles. In the early going CPR worked well down the left side of the field with nifty combinations amongst Faherty, Solinas and Pattinson putting Hoboken on the back heal. The trio created several chances on goal only to be thwarted by a just out of reach pass, or a surprisingly competent, although diminutive Hoboken keeper. While a dearth of striking options required Resnik and Hodges up top to start, the duo acquitted themselves well with Hodges producing useful hold up play with his back to goal and Resnik characteristically getting stuck in on tackles deep in the oppositions third. As the first half unfolded it became evident that a thrashing like the week prior was not in the cards. As the action intensified chippy tackles and late challenges began to creep into the game, although the ref performed admirably to keep a level of civility. One such tackle produced the best chance for the Legends in the first half, as a foul was given deep in the Hoboken third. On the ensuing free kick, Willian stepped to the ball and delivered a sublime strike from 25 yards that beat the keeper easily but clanked off the cross bar. Hoboken responded with a curling, dipping free kick of their own which was expertly saved by the diving Telly Vamvouris and cleared by the professional work of Lars Murray saving a sure Hoboken goal.
0-0 at halftime was a decidedly fair scoreline, and was indicative of the tightly contested match. The halftime team talk may have been the most uncontentious discussion this author has ever witnessed. It was observed that the Legends had played an excellent half and every single participant quite honestly agreed, that in fact an excellent half had been played! This being the case the discussion of tactical changes was not required, and so the team returned the to field of play to indicate they were ready to roll.
But as is oft the case in Legends matches, as time marched on weary legs began to creep into the side, opening more space for Hoboken to counter attack. A well struck ball rattled the CPR post and another sure goal had to be cleared by a reflexive header from Resnik. Unfortunately Hoboken broke through in the 80th with a clean strip of a CPR defender and a knuckling toe poke laser strike that thumped the inside of the near post. An unfair turn of events considering how well the Legends had built from the back all game. Regardless, the indomitable spirit of CPR soccer was on display with Tony V. marauding down the flank repeatedly, whipping in vicious crosses into the mixer, and producing booming headers from Randall K and Hodges that just shaved the wrong side of the post. As the clock wound down, Coach Resnik put the team in the Desperation formation sending of all people, Teesdale to top to operate as a striker, perhaps knowing his penchant for scoring against Hoboken. Not long after, the move bore fruit, as another Tony V. cross was delivered to Solinas who drew 3 Hoboken defenders, each of which delivered some sort of physical assault to the fearless warrior, but not before Solinas produced the deftest of touches over to the waiting Teesdale. With the eyes the size of saucers, Teesdale produced a thundering strike, driving the ball to the upper right corner, nearly tearing the net. At least in his mind that is how it happened. And with neither side able to produce again in the few remaining minutes, the 1-1 scoreline would hold.
Regardless of the result, the specatular sky line view made the trip to NJ worth the effort.
Regardless of the scoreline, the Legends played stylish football and worked hard for 90 minutes. In the coming weeks more difficult tests will be faced. However if the Legends continue to gel as they have so far, then results will be gotten. And if not, they will always have this one night in New Jersey.
Competition: Hoboken FC 1912, League Opposition
Location: Sinatra Park Field, Hoboken NJ
Conditions: A crisp fall evening at 53 degrees
Fans: 0, altough there were several for Hoboken, the youngest of which were hurling abuse at a bemused Pattinson for slicing a strike at goal that went out over the sideline.
Result: 1-1 (0-0 at H/T)
Goals: 1-1: Teesdale Assist Solinas, Vamvouris
Yellow Cards: None
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: Oddly enough the run of good health continues with no new injuries, asuming D’Andrea still has a full set of teeth.
Old Man of the Match: Many strong shifts were put in throughout the team with Ollie and Paul locking down the defense and Willian dazzling the opposition with his footwork. However, in an shameless effort to secure the OMOTM vote, goal scorer Teesdale was buying rounds at the bar afterwards. The committee was easily bought with a few cold drafts, and so it was, Teesdale was awarded his first in 15 years.
Old Man of the Bar: Morse at one point considered taking a power nap in his car so he could continue to enjoy the bountiful beer menu. Fantastic effort.
El Presidente (new award for Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None
Statistics of the week:Willian D’Andrea & Mark Resnik now draw level with Dan Ochoa for all time Legends caps at 32.
Team Bar Showing: 6 out of 14 (43%)
Team Bar Night: 3.5 out of 5: An 8 o’clock start on the wrong side of the Hudson conspired to keep the numbers low, but it was a quality crew. And the Eagles destroyed the Giants, so that was awesome.
Team (No new profiles this week): Telly Vamvouris (GK), Mark Resnik (DF), Andrew Faherty (DF), Oliver Roberts (DF), Steve Teesdale (DF), Paul Vale (DF), Lars Murray (DF), Tony Vamvouris, Randall Klitz, Steve Morse, Tom Pattinson, Ugo Solinas, Willian D’Andrea, John Hodges