With the legends management loafing and sipping cocktails in the Caribbean and a Cranford NJ pitch location there was a considerable headwind trying to rouse a squad to meet the challenge posed by last year’s league champions. However some last minute texts and cajoling saw the squad fill out nicely with some welcome CPR top shelf over 39 talent.
Upon arrival at the field it became evident that the field conditions would be a major factor in the proceedings. While quite green the field possesses a measurable undulation with sections of trodden mud, still water swamp, and shin high prairie grass. Add to it the fact that the grass was poorly rooted and through the course of the game the pitch became equal parts ice rink and mud pit.
From the opening whistle CPR dominated the possession and bullied the midfield with Morse and Mershon consistently winning tackles and the aerial battles. Phillips and Sobczak penetrated deep into the opposition’s territory on several occasions but were thwarted mostly by the tricky field conditions. The pace and offensive thrust clearly caught the champs off guard as they struggled to settle in and possess the ball as they often do, but midway through the half they struck in the patented America FC way. The AFC left back was once again marauding up and down the field either getting to the end line or whipping in his trademark diagonal ball to on rushing strikers. Even though this tactic was specifically discussed pregame by manager Pattinson, the AFC left back would not be denied and unleashed a peach of a ball to a streaking forward who deftly placed it to Frazier’s right. After 45 minutes the Legends were down 0-1 but knew a result could still be had.
The half time team talk centered mainly on keeping the distances between the defensive, midfield and attacking units more compact. Intriguingly, Jones also offered an auspice of hope, assuring the squad that Seb would no doubt level soon enough.
The Second half looked much like the start of the first with the Legends recommitting to tough tackling and higher pressure. AFC began to take great exception to the pressure and lashed out repeatedly with retaliations, wildly swinging arms and the occasional cringe worthy epithet. In spite of the drama the Legends remained industrious offensively and stout defensively and finally levelled via Sobczak. Pattinson was fed a looping, dipping ball from the back which he took down professionally, spun, and slotted Seb through on goal. Sobczak still had plenty to do as the ball made several jumps and skips off of what at this point was a laughable pitch. Ultimately he was able to pile drive it into the right side netting. Many more squabbles and quibbles ensued, but ACF and CPR remained dead locked to the final whistle.
Competition: America FC 1927, League Opposition
Location: Unami Park, Cranford NJ
Conditions: Warm sunny autumn day
Result: 1:1 HT: 0-1
Goals: 1-1: Seb Assist Pattinson
Yellow Cards: Belizan for retaliating after being stomped on.
Red Cards: None.
Mike D’s aka No Shows: Conboy was yes on the Evite, but a no on the pitch.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Seb and Jeremy were very welcome additions.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Hardly Mr Glass, an exhausted Hahn remained off after a two footed horror tackle. Although if there were no subs he could have returned.
Old Man of the Match: Due to the New Jersey field location, a trip to the bar was not made so therefore no vote.
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: This was the first, and hopefully last game at Unami Park, Cranford NJ.
Team Bar Showing: 0 out of 14 (0%)
Team Bar Night: 0 out of 5. It was a day for family.
Team (No new profiles this week): Tim Frazier (GK), Tom Pattinson, Pete Hahn (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Danny Azzo, Gavin Moore (DF), Franco Denari, Andrew Jones, Steve Teesdale (DF), Creighton Mershon, Stephen Morse, Manuel Casanova, Jeremy Phillips, Seb Sobczak