The Legends had a rare opportunity to play on grass at Randall’s Island #71, a delight for strikers while a reason for groaning for defenders. The field wasn’t as bad as intimated beforehand, but the unexpected bounces still required a higher level of technical ability than normally available at an Over 39 match. For a change, the Legends had only 3 substitutes but this was bountiful compared to the mere 9 that appeared for Banatul. With a young and efficient referee, the game started on time and the Legends looked to take advantage of their shorthanded opposition. A towering header from Oli Roberts from a typically dangerous corner from Pattinson, but the Legends struggled to create many other clear-cut chances. Shots from the outside were narrowly wide, while the Legends were either gun shy or ran into a stubbornly packed Banatul within the area. For a change CPR were using the width cleverly, with fullback Hahn on one side and striker Philips on the other driving to the byline but then moving in rather than crossing aimlessly into the penalty area. Although nothing came of it, this was a promising scenario for future games. Eventually the Legends added to their lead with a harshly struck shot by Frazier. With Banatul now up to 10, the Legends had slightly less room to roam. With the field multiplying a careless touch at the back, Legends alumnus Santiago Morales was able to pick up the ball from the halfway line and strike a perfect lob to get Banatul back into a game they had no business being in. The defensive lapse was a symptom of a much larger defensive malaise where Legends were not picking up the opposition despite having the extra man, then allowing Banatul players to stroll through the middle with aplomb.
Leading 2-1 at the half against 9 and then 10 men was a poor display, especially given the Legends had a decent team out. There was some focus on tactics but the overarching principle hammered in by management was an increase in intensity and urgency against a team of older players that surely was going to tire out. With Rosenbloom adding to the tactical choices the Legends started the second half well, pushing players further up and swarming Banatul players every time they received the ball. With the grass field adding a level of unpredictability, forcing errors in the final third enabled the Legends to create a few more chances. D’Andrea did his typical Brazilian samba in the box, toying mercilessly with defender and goalie before arrogantly touching the ball to a wide-open Casanova for the easiest of tap-ins. Frazier had recovered from his usual absurd hijinks to provide some stellar running and an additional goal from an assist from D’Andrea. Meanwhile Banatul hadn’t quit and were taking advantage of the Legends increasing greed by counterattacks led by the suspiciously young-looking midfielder. However, their second goal was inexcusable, their young attacking midfielder collecting the ball in the penalty area with 3 legends defenders nowhere near him, allowing him to chip new goalkeeper Rich Martins. Fortunately, this was just another consolation as the Legends added to their lead with a hopeful lob from Rosenbloom being poked home by D’Andrea amidst a penalty area scramble.
Its hard to be too negative about a 5-2 win, but against a short handed older weaker team the revamped Legends should be doing better. There were positive glimpses, but the carelessness in midfield and at the back needs to be cleaned up in a much stronger division. Playing against the defending champions next week should provide a much sterner test.
Competition: Banatul SC, League Opposition
Location: Randall’s Island #71, Randall’s Island
Conditions: Comfortable autumn temperatures
Fans: 5 (Mrs. Azzo and kids, Jones Jr and Sr)
Result: 5:2 HT: 2-1
Goals: 1-0: O. Roberts Assist Pattinson
2-0: Frazier Assist Casanova
3-1: Casanova Assist D’Andrea
4-1: Frazier Assist D’Andrea
5-2: D’Andrea Assist Rosenbloom
Yellow Cards: Jones and Denari for late tackles, Frazier for being Frazier and essentially begging the referee for a card with his actions.
Red Cards: None.
Mike D’s aka No Shows: Conboy and Hodges with late flu, but this inadvertently helped solve the recent issue of too many players to manage.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Rosenbloom was a maybe but helped with his second half appearance and positional flexibility.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Venkataraman missed the goal festival in the second half having to limp off with a calf strain. Rosenbloom’s advent meant Jones could rest his strained groin.
Old Man of the Match: Several good contenders including Hahn’s industry along the entire sideline and Philips working hard up top. In the end Frazier’s two goals and not knowing that D’Andrea scored the last goal helped Frazier gain his first OMoM. Now, if only he could curb the asinine stream of bookings…
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: D’Andrea continues to stretch the all-time scoring record to 30 while Pattinson increases his second place assist lead with 14.
Team Bar Showing: 5 out of 15 (33%)
|A bit young for the Over 39’s, but hopefully CPR will be ready for Jones Jr in the future
Team Bar Night: 2.5 out of 5. A decent appearance and the end of the first NFL games watched.
Team (No new profiles this week): Rich Martins (GK), Manohar Venkataraman, Tom Pattinson, Pete Hahn (DF), Danny Azzo, Gavin Moore (DF), Franco Denari, Willian D’Andrea, Andrew Jones, Oli Roberts (DF), Jeremy Phillips, Manuel Casanova, Bevan Rosenbloom, Drew Faherty (DF), Tim Frazier