The Legends managed to scrape together 15 with a late drop from all-time points leader D’Andrea, a couple late responses ending up as No’s, and one late borrowed player from Oldboys. But while 15 on the surface seems sufficient, the Legends once again proved why in the O39 division it is always prudent to bring 16 when possible. Was a cold and extremely windy morning. Wind would surely play a part. Legends won the toss and had the wind in the first half.
The first half could barely have gone worse, short of an injury or goal, for the first 10-12mins. Legends despite having a pretty solid lineup and everyone in their position of choice, were completely out of sorts. They could barely string 2 passes together, were late to every 50:50 ball, could barely get the ball out of their half, and were very lucky to have avoided an early goal with several half chances for the Rovers and several balls being bumbled about and ending up within several yards of goal line and a Legend pouncing just before a Rover. After 12 or so minutes the Legends finally settled in and started stringing some passes together and getting some deep possession on the counter. Things were going well, and then in the blink of an eye it all went horribly wrong. On the same sequence both Edmunds and Belizan went down and were forced to retire for the day during the same stopped play. A couple tactical moves from the sideline by Resnik to add back some speed to the middle of the back line with Rosenbloom, but it wasn’t enough. Just 5mins later, a seemingly harmless thru ball by Rovers 20+ yds behind the Legends last man was held up just enough by the wind, and combined with some miscommunication in the Legends defense, left Martins too slow off his line, and the Rovers striker happily ran onto the ball at the 15yd line, rounded the keeper and slotted home for 1-nil. Azzo in the middle, Hahn in the back, and Sobczak up top were spurring on the Legends to keep their heads up, with some tireless running and beating the nearest Rover to ball almost every time. But it went from bad to worse when Nizam limped off and the Legends were left with just a single substitute for the remainder of the game. Just when it felt like the game may turn back again in the favor of Rovers, Pattison slotted in Sobczak who finished nicely from inside the box.
The Legends scrambled to hold on and the halftime whistle couldn’t come quick enough. A quick talk and few constructive reminders at halftime. Despite now being shorthanded and playing a decent team, the Rovers had some weaknesses, and this was a winnable game. But as is all too often the case in amateur soccer, some of the points went in one ear and out the other. Most notably the idea that with the wind now in Rovers favor, maybe balls back to the Legends GK were ill advised. Not five minutes into the second half a ball back to Martins, resulted in an unfortunate clearance directly to the Rovers striker on the 18, who was able take the gift and finish the 1v1 for 1:2 in Rovers favor. Despite the lack of enough subs, Legends kept the game fairly even. There was a chance here or there at both ends, but most notably Legends just couldn’t get a head on a bouncing ball inside the Rovers 6yd box when they had numbers, and Sobczak agonizingly hit the ball wide after shaking off the last Rovers defender and getting a good angle just right of the Rover PK spot. Both teams were complaining a little about offsides, but in the referees defense he was fairly consistent in calling most all the close ones as off every time. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the Rovers striker from getting behind the Legends makeshift backline from near 35yds out. He dribbled all the way inside the box and was met by Martins at about 8yd line who went low and pushed the ball wide right with strong left hand. A fantastic 1v1 save. However the play was not over and the ball was near immediately sent back into the box, and the scramble left the Legends late to clear a ball which fell to Rovers for a tap in for 1:3. Legends continued to push to try to salvage some respect if nothing else, when a thru ball down the lefthand side to Stower, saw him turn the corner and just as he entered the side of the box was taken down. A clear penalty, no complaints. A little bit of discussion ensued as penalty taker D’Andrea was out of town, and his back up Resnik was on the bench. Rosenbloom stepped up, and after several attempts to get the ball to stay put on the spot in the wind, strode up and calmily struck it home for 2:3. Game on, but Legends were pretty tired. Legends and Rovers both moved the ball around in the final 8 or so minutes, but it wasn’t to be for the Legends this day.
What if the Legends had kept all 15 healthy? What if Legends hadn’t given up a couple goals on mistakes? What if Legends had finished their chances? Well, that is Over 39 soccer. In this division nearly every team is capable of beating or losing to everybody else. Bring plenty of players, play hard for all 90 minutes, expect a few physical mistakes, realize injuries are inevitable, and hope at the final whistle you did enough that week. On to Cozmoz next week to continue the Legends up and down Fall…
Competition: Barnstonworth Rovers Veterans
Location: Randall’s Island #73, Randall’s Island
Conditions: Cold and very windy morning
Result: 2:3 HT: 1:1
1:1 Sobczak assist Pattison
2:3 Rosenbloom (PK) assist Stower
Yellow Cards: Frazier. Dissent after being called offsides in the first half.
Red Cards: None.
Mike D’s aka No Shows: D’Andrea was late drop due to travel just 24hrs in advance, while Phillips and Casanova left themselves as maybe’s and gave less than 24hrs notice on final reply. A reminder that we need all Yes/No responses by midday Thursday at the lastest. After that all Maybe’s are assumed No’s and your PT may be given to Oncall or to other players in the club. We proved this week that we need a full 16 at every game whenever that is possible.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Unfortunately on a single play/stoppage Belizan & Edmunds came off, and shortly after was Nizam as well. All pulled muscles in the cool chilly air, and none were unable to return.
Old Man of the Match: Danny Azzo for his relentless running for 90mins. Honorable mention to Pete Hahn for 90mins of aggressive defending.
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 significant.
Team Bar Showing: 0 out of 15 (0%, Season Low)
Team Bar Night: 0.5 out of 5. Unfortunately with couple Tier 1 out of town, no one instigated a trip back to Blooms, but a few beers/shots were consumed on the sideline of the 12-2pm Orange game with the OldBoys who were having a post-game celebration of their 10am win.
Team (No new profiles this week): Rich Martins (GK), Pete Hahn (DF), Steve Roberts (DF), Mark Edmunds (DF), Gavin Moore (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Bevan Rosenbloom (DF), Neil Stower, Franco Denari, Danny Azzo, Tom Pattison, Mark Resnik, Tim Frazier, Hakan Nizam, Sebastian Sobczak