After a strong second half last week the Legends were hoping to learn from the experience against Comzos in the more important league match. With some squad members missing Marko Guzijan & Matt Shapiro were drafted in to bolster the defence, and a lengthy midweek tactical email was reasserted before the game. Although the Legends started okay, the Comzos appeared somewhat sluggish with none of the quick closing down and rampages down the line that happened the previous week. CPR was still not following the tactical game plan with midfielders wandering far too upfield without making it back, but initially they weren’t punished for their tactical naivety. In fact the Legends were able to take the lead when a lofted corner from Mckeown found D’Andrea at the penalty spot, and this was one occasion when his slow deliberation was rewarded with a calmly struck shot hitting the back of the net.
Soon after, disaster struck. A lofted ball landed neatly between Telly & two defenders inside the 6 yard box. A bumbling game of hot potato resulted in the opposition striker gleefully stepping in and tapping the ball into the net from 5 yards, an unfortunate mistake for a defence that has mostly been rock solid this season. Worse was to come, as despite all the entreaties to get rid of the ball quickly it was held too long in central midfield and predictably stripped. This led to a counterattack where the cross coming across was buried in the net by Hahn, the first own goal in several seasons for the Legends at the worst possible time.
The Legends hadn’t played particularly well, showing no real ability to learn from their mistakes. Having said that, they certainly didn’t deserve to be down a goal at the half. In the hope that something stuck the talking point were reiterated and the Legends did appear to raise their game a little. Unfortunately they were unable to adjust to the refereeing, which consisted of mostly allowing all physical contact to go unmolested with the odd random generator to pick a decision. Up to the half the most egregious decision had been a blatant foul on Nizam which resulted in the opposition backing up to form a wall only for both teams to stare bemusedly at the referee for apparently seeing something the 22 players on the field hadn’t and indicating the opposite decision. This type of tomfoolery happens every week in this league, but the egregious offside third goal for Cozmos was the backbreaker for the Legends. As contractually obligated, yes its hard for a single referee to call offside but in this case it was so egregious that the referee couldn’t even point to the person playing the offside striker on.
The third goal broke the back of the Legends spirit while filling Cozmos with confidence. As the more physical team they benefitted from the referee letting play go, but CPR was unable to match that physicality apart from Shapiro. CPR attacks petered out in the box with few shots on goal to challenge the keeper. Meanwhile Comzmos went from strength to strength, scoring a 4th and spurning a few other gilt edge chances for a final 4-1 score.
The final score was not indicative of the game as pivotal moments hurt the Legends. Having said that, CPR needs to learn how to be more disciplined and communicative while conjuring up more scoring chances. They should gain more time on the ball for the upcoming game in the enormous wasteland of Field #10 at Randalls Island.
Competition: Cozmos, State Cup
Location: Randall’s Island #74, Randall’s Island
Conditions: Lovely afternoon
Fans: 3.5 (Mrs Telly, Telly dog, 2 Mini Roberts)
Goals: 1-0: D’Andrea Assist Mckeown
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: None
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Simic, whose knee injury apparently recovered late
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Fortunately none after the previous week
Old Man of the Match: Despite conceding the 4 goals Belizan put in a sterling performance to push his record OMoM collection to 7. Honorary mention to Enticott for tireless thankless running up top
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): Eagle eyed Resnik saw Paul Vale walking the dog and corralled him in for a couple of beers.
Statistic of the week: After a dry spell D’Andrea nets his first of the season to break a tie in all time Legends goals with Venkataraman. Belizan pushes his all time OMoM awards to 7, way ahead of Sean Street in 4th.
Team Bar Showing: 5 out of 17 (29%)
Team Bar Night: 2.5 out of 5. The late game time didn’t help, but decent longevity to finish off Cowboys vs Giants & see the Red Bulls clinch the Supporters Shield.
Team (No new profiles this week): Telly Vamvouris (GK), Luciano Belizan (DF), Steve Roberts (DF), Drew Faherty (DF), Mark Resnik (DF), Matt Shapiro (DF), Pete Hahn (DF), Marko Guzijan (DF), Simon Mckeown, Tony Vamvouris, Tom Pattinson, Ante Simic, Ugo Solinas, Manohar Venkataraman, Willian D’Andrea, Hakan Nizam, Rich Enticott