After the weekly hours spent trying to get a scant 11 it looked like this week there would be some cautious injured substitutes that could provide a few minutes respite. The previous weeks had aggravated injuries among a few forced to play 90 minutes, but this week in a welcome reversal there were a full 16 available to play. On the vast field of Pier 40 having substitutes was critical, especially against a Celtic team who knew exactly how to play on their home field. The game started evenly enough but soon it was apparent that the opposition knew the best way to play on the field was to constantly switch sides. Knowing and executing are two different things, but they showed the capability to do so. Meanwhile the Legends showed a propensity to shrink back towards their area with the dual issues of giving Celtic more space while putting them under immediate pressure when they finally did get the ball.
The first goal conceded by the Legends was farcical. Under no pressure Tony Vamvouris passed back to Telly who inexplicably picked it up. An indirect free kick within the box showed the Legends football IQ at its most awkward, with two men on the post and everyone rushing the kicker instead of focusing on marking potential receivers on an indirect kick. As everyone rushed the kicker the player to the side hammered the ball straight into the net. The Legends struggled to respond with their closest chance a glancing header by Rosenbloom.
Given their inability to make simple passes and hold the ball being down only a goal at the half was far from the worst thing that could happen. The team was urged to pressure as a unit which was critical on this large field as well as spread the ball and make the simple passes. Unfortunately the second half had Celtic get even more of the ball and put the vice on possession. Sporadic attacks by the Legends resulted in very few direct chances on goal, a shot by Hahn and a header by McKeown proving to be the most they could muster. As they stretched further up, gaps opened at the back that were exploited by Celtic. A second goal made it very difficult for the Legends to get a result, and a beauty of a third goal ended the game as a competitive match. Celtic still had time to have a goal disallowed for offside and a final tap in that demonstrated the athletic gap between the two teams as the outside left midfielder simply outran everyone to square the ball for a goal. The glimmer the Legends had was extinguished when the referee decided to implement his own rules in deciding a hand pushed in the face of a Legend was only bookable and not a sending off offense. Even if the player was rightly sent off, given the difference in play of the two teams it was highly unlikely that the Legends would have been able to get anything out of the game.
A disappointing start to the spring that is the inverse of the start of the Fall. Injuries and absences have had a huge part to play, but there’s a distinct memory loss of what we are playing for, which is love of the game. People in their 40’s aren’t playing to win the Champions League, they are playing because they still love to play. Losing is no fun, but moaning about it is even less fun. As players return to fitness and availability the hope is the Legends rediscover that love and the correlation to good results.
Competition: Manhattan Celtic, League Opposition
Location: Pier 40 East, Manhattan
Conditions: Pleasant spring evening
Fans: Tom Pattinson making an appearance, hopefully in advance of a playing appearance
Result: 0-4 HT: 0-1
Yellow Cards: Denari on his debut, Mckeown
Red Cards: N/A
Mike D’s aka No Shows: N/A
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Pete Hahn made a welcome return back.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Fortunately no new injuries.
Old Man of the Match: Nobody stood out on this night.
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: Nothing notable.
Team Bar Showing: 6 out of 16 (38%)
Team Bar Night: 3.5 out of 5. Although the 8:30pm start time would indicate fewer people, the adrenaline and the fact kids were in bed for relevant people meant a decent showing. A few Stella pitchers were had.
Team (No new profiles this week): Telly Vamvouris (GK), Mark Resnik (DF), Marc Walby (DF), Franco Denari (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Steve Teesdale, John Hodges, Pete Hahn (DF), Tony Vamvouris, Bevan Rosenbloom (DF), Steve Roberts (DF), Willian D’Andrea, Manohar Venkataraman, Drew Faherty (DF), Simon Mckeown, Manuel Casanova