After the Legends started the season with a legion of players, normal service has predictably been resumed. It was a tight 15 that was available for the game, with that being reduced to 14 within 2 minutes as Venkataraman’s calf proved fine for walking but not so much for running. With El Presidente forced to down camera for shinpads and Carducci exchanging keeper gloves for defence, the fitter Legends were finally going to get the abundant playing time they had craved. Eintracht’s record wasn’t particularly impressive but they did bring a large squad, although Mrs. Jones somewhat unkindly exclaimed that they looked older than the Legends (a pointed double insult). Playing on a grass field for an unprecedented third time in a row, the Legends passing game clearly suffered as their technical ball control outside of D’Andrea will never be confused with Barcelona. In addition to giving the ball away cheaply, the Legends appeared somewhat sluggish as it was Eintracht who tended to be first to every ball and who won most battles. The Legends were fortunate to take the lead as a hopeful cross into the box was surprisingly dropped by the normally solid Eintracht keeper, allowing Sawyer a simple tap in. With nerves settled the Legends continued to attack and had numerous opportunities in the box, but either shot wide, straight at the keeper or the keeper made solid saves. Meanwhile at the other end seemingly out of nowhere a punt up field found a possibly offside striker whose lob evaded the ambling Carducci.
The Legends had a right to feel aggrieved at being tied after a first half they dominated, but worse was to come. An early free kick elicited foreboding on the sideline as Eintracht had proven themselves capable technically and from set pieces. The feeling was proven true as a header across the goal was tapped in at the far post. Eintracht started moving from strength to strength as the Legends seemed to fall apart. All the domination of the first half evaporated and CPR looked in real trouble. Fortunately they were able to win a corner, and with Pattinson’s usual pinpoint delivery Sawyer equalized to calm nerves. CPR were now able to reset themselves and wrestle back control of the game which began to open up. The opposition’s infighting increased while the CPR forwards Sawyer and Sobczak used their speed and physicality to open up space and bully the opposition. A pass from Sobczak let Sawyer claim his hattrick and the precious lead for the Legends. Meanwhile new boy Martins made a spectacular save that drew grudging applause from the opposition sideline at a critical juncture. The Legends superior stamina (a phrase seldom uttered before) resulted in a clincher, this time with Sawyer returning the favour to Sobczak.
The Legends showed they could dig themselves out of a daunting hole, with the critical win helping them to the 4th and last playoff place. With a long way to go and teams bunched up in the middle this is the type of win that will give the Legends confidence that they can go a long way this season.
Competition: SC Eintracht, League Opposition
Location: Randall’s Island #50, Randall’s Island
Conditions: Pleasant morning, the grass pitch was hard and bumpy
Fans: 7 (The Jones’s, Sawyers and young Stower)
Result: 4:2 HT: 1-1
Goals: 1-0: Saywer Assist Phillips
2-2: Sawyer Assist Pattinson
3-2: Sawyer Assist Sobczak
4-2: Sobczak Assist Sawyer
Yellow Cards: D’Andrea for what is starting to become a habit of dissension. Sobczak was also booked somewhat unfairly after a hard but fair collision with the goalie on a corner. The booking seemed to be more a result of the goalie’s injury than the process of going up for a header.
Red Cards: None.
Mike D’s aka No Shows: Conboy
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: A couple of notable ones here, especially since they may be lingering. Venkataraman’s calf injury from the previous game had been dormant but reared its ugly head only 2 minutes into the match. Edmunds quad gave way again leaving the Legends dangerously thin at center back, but they were able to hold on.
Old Man of the Match: One of the more obvious awards after a hattrick and assist by Sawyer. Honorary mention to Jones who noticeably picked it up a notch physically in challenging for 50-50 balls. Unfortunately for the most part he was the only one, apart from Sobczak’s base level of physicality (naturally Frazier was absent).
Old Man of the Bar: None.
El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): Tier 2 Hodges made it after an unfortunate bout of illness.
Statistic of the week: Although kept off the scoresheet this week, D’Andrea maintains the overall all time points lead given Resnik’s continuing world tour.
Team Bar Showing: 7 out of 15 (47%, Season High)
Team Bar Night: 3 out of 5. A solid group back to the pub for the less than scintillating Liverpool Manchester City game followed by NFL, along with the Grays making it to the bar.
Team (No new profiles this week): Rich Martins (GK), Andrew Faherty, Manohar Venkataraman, Tom Pattinson, Neil Stower (DF), Gavin Moore (DF), Franco Denari, David Sawyer, Willian D’Andrea, Andrew Jones, Mark Edmunds (DF), Sebastian Sobczak, Mike Carducci (DF), Andy Jones (DF), Bevan Rosenbloom