After the fiasco of last spring where the Legends ended the season forfeiting not once but twice, a lot of care was taken into recruiting new players from inside and outside the club. Although like any transfer window the team wasn’t able to hit its goals, the Legends certainly appeared to have been successful overall. The parent friendly 8pm kickoff and first game of the season may have helped, but having 17 players available was encouraging nonetheless. With the Shamrock Legends having taken advantage of undermanned Legends in the past, it was good to be able to play them with a virtually full strength squad.
After a slight delay for an unnecessarily fussy referee the season kicked off. The Shamrocks were who the Legends thought they were, physical with some talented individuals and speed on the wings. The first few minutes were fairly even but a midfield mistake led to a Shamrock counter that was expertly converted. CPR were able to settle down after that and made some attacking forays of their own. Conboy was able to beat his man several times on the left with the crosses being received unimpeded on the right. Unfortunately a lack of composure saw first time shots attempted despite plenty of room, with balls either sailing over the cross bar or sideways. However possession in the last third was encouraging.
The four new additions comported themselves admirably, with Miller’s athleticism and distribution immediately noticeable. Edmunds at center back added some more speed and composure to perfectly complement Belizan, and Morales passing range was also evident. Frazier certainly made his mark with the opposition. It’s hard to remember the last time the Legends had someone who could get under an opponent’s skin as much as Frazier, with all due respect to Steve Roberts calculated verbal darts. Along with his mouth and physicality, Frazier was also able to bring in a goal threat to match Mckeown. Although not featured on the score sheet he was able to draw attention from the opposition for a variety of reasons, opening up space for the rest. The hope is that he is able to channel that aggression positively including staying on the field.
|Frazier won’t make any friends with opposition defenders this season. As long as he’s wily about it instead of being obvious, the distracting edge should help the Legends|
Down 1-0 at the half the Legends continued to press and were able to get their just rewards. The ball pinged around the area and while some Shamrocks confusedly stopped play while misunderstanding the offside rule Conboy corralled the ball from the defender’s deflection. His cross clipped a defender’s arm for a clear penalty. Despite having a notable failure against Cozmos on his rap sheet Mckeown requested the responsibility and this time converted into the side netting. Shamrocks converted their irritation into a superbly taken goal, the danger man #11 pounding an unstoppable shot from distance to regain the lead. The Legends started pressing and players other than Frazier started matching the physicality of the Shamrocks to their displeasure. For the most part the referee had a handle on the game which never boiled over, but it certainly became fiercely contested. In the dying embers, D’Andrea’s dancing feet attracted some late tackles resulting in a free kick at the top of the box. Once again Mckeown stepped up and this time converted with a superbly taken free kick. Although Shamrocks tried there were only seconds remaining, and so the Legends were able to secure a draw.
Although the Shamrocks certainly didn’t feel so, on reflection a draw was a fair result. CPR needs to work on their finishing and converting possession in the final third into high xG chances, but that should come as the front 6 become familiar with each other. All in all, an encouraging start to what promises to be a competitive season in the division of death.
Competition: Shamrocks SC Legends, League Opposition
Location: Randall’s Island #74, Randall’s Island
Conditions: Lovely pleasant late summer evening
Fans: 1 (Tom, Tim’s friend)
Result: 2-2 HT: 0-1
1-1: Mckeown (pen) Assist Conboy
2-2: Mckeown Assist D’Andrea
Yellow Cards: Hahn, Frazier, Morales
Red Cards: N/A
Mike D’s aka No Shows: N/A
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: N/A.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Thankfully none for the first game of the season, the number of players helping.
Old Man of the Match: There was some discussion at the bar but it was brief, with Mckeown getting the nod for both goals despite one being a penalty. The free kick obviously made all the difference and being active in the box helped with winning the penalty, despite some of the opposition being confused regarding the rules. All the new boys made strong debuts and Hahn gained an official honorable mention for both attacking and physical defensive play.
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: With two goals Mckeown broke the tie with Venkataraman for second place all time goals leader and is now tied with D’Andrea for the lead at 20, though with a far superior conversion rate (20 in 29 vs 20 in 67). Venkataraman ties Resnik at 77 for all time caps in a battle that is sure to continue for a few years while D’Andrea pushed his all time assists lead further with 16.
Team Bar Showing: 4 out of 17 (24%)
Team Bar Night: 2 out of 5. Given the increasing age of the squad, the scale will have to be adjusted. The fact 4 people came for a few beers after an 8pm game is a reasonable display.
Team (No new profiles this week): Mitch Miller (GK), Franco Denari (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Eduardo Mazzi (DF), Mark Edmunds (DF), Steve Roberts (DF), Pete Hahn (DF), Drew Faherty (DNP), Tom Pattinson, John Hodges, Hermilo “Santiago” Morales, Bevan Rosenbloom, Mike Conboy, Willian D’Andrea, Manohar Venkataraman, Simon Mckeown, Tim Frazier