Although the Old Boyz were off it was still a major struggle to get enough players to make it to Sunday’s game. The four reinforcements did provide flexibility positionally but the last minute Mike D of Hodges meant there would be a scant 2 substitutes to help on the large field against the Cozmoz juggernaut. A record of never having been tied let alone beaten in the league (26 consecutive wins over 1.5 seasons) would indicate that the Legends had no chance, but they knew differently. In the Cup game the previous year they narrowly lost 2-1, and there was another 2-1 loss in the last minute also last season. However, CPR was under no illusion of the monumental effort that would be required.
The game settled into the same pattern early on, Cozmos grabbing and keeping possession with good technical ability and movement. Whenever the Legends were able to get the ball they could barely string a couple of passes together before they were back against the ropes. There were glimpses of daylight on the wings, with Faulhaber and Teesdale making inroads but unable to get the killer ball in. The fight of the Legends was not to be questioned, running and harassing as much as they could. Against Cozmoz the battle was always physical but fair, but increasingly it was the Legends who suffered against their stronger opponents. Against the run of play the Legends struck gold as a goalbound shot was adjudged to have been handled, presenting the Legends with a priceless penalty. Although management was inclined to have ze German Faulhaber take it the Englishman Mckeown was insistent, with predictable dire results.
Fortunately the Legends were able to shrug off the disappointment of the penalty miss to continue harassing the opposition. At half time the weary Legends knew they were going to have to use every trick in the book to keep the Cozmos at bay. The second half saw a one way siege with the occasional counterattack tending to fizz out quickly. Block after block stopped the majority of shots, with anything that slipped through being capably handled by Telly Vamvouris. The toll was increasingly being taken as Legends were being carried off the pitch and muscles were cramping, but for all their possession the Cozmos had few direct shots within the penalty area. Indeed, almost at the death the Legends had a chance to steal an undeserved win but the cross to a wide open Faulhaber was a little too far. As it was the Legends were delighted to take the first ever point off Cozmos, a deserved point for a hard effort and one that prove very valuable in the playoff race.
Competition: Cozmos, League Opposition
Location: Bush Terminal Park, Brooklyn
Conditions: Brisk afternoon
Fans: 2 (Ms. Morse and Mrs. Telly Vamvouris along with 2 dogs. Hakan showed up a little late).
Yellow Cards: Mckeown took out some of his post penalty miss frustration on a run of the mill bad call forcing the referee to reassert himself. Telly Vamvouris was very vocal in his demand that time be called, much to the amusement of everyone around.
Red Cards: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: Hodges was a late scratch, and given the number of exhausted players it was fortunate that the Legends were able to hold on.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Edmunds with the hamstring forcing him off, Teesdale had major cramps, Telly Vamvouris post collision. It was harder to find someone who wasn’t hurting given the siege the Legends were under.
Old Man of the Match: The rarity of nobody going to the bar meant this wasn’t discussed, but there were many worthy candidates. Telly pulled off some great saves and the defense in all threw themselves in front of the ball and blocked many shots.
Old Man of the Bar: None.
El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None
Statistic of the week: Given some of the shenanigans this season we’ve had to expand our “Own Goal” category to include Penalty misses and Penalty saves (fortunately for some this statistic only starts this season). Telly Vamvouris is helped and Simon Mckeown is penalized. After a rocky defensive start the Legends now have 3 shutouts in their last 4 games. However their goal scoring is at a record low and goal concessions are at a record high this season, so far producing the only negative differential in their history. Given that it is remarkable that they are still in a good playoff position.
Team Bar Showing: 0 out of 13 (0%)
Team Bar Night: 0 out of 5. Bill Rigby’s goodbye shenanigans negatively affected Tier 1. Hopefully they can make it up after next week’s final game of the Fall Semester.
Team (No new profiles this week): Telly Vamvouris (GK), Mark Resnik (DF), Mark Edmunds (DF), Steve Morse, Jens Faulhaber, Neil Stower, Steve Teesdale, Ollie Roberts (DF), Tony Vamvouris (DF), Manohar Venkataraman, Drew Faherty, Mike Conboy, Simon Mckeown