Bush Terminal Piers Park was the site of the first two games of the Legends season. Each one of those games had at least 17 players available pitch side, but even at that point management was warning the players that not every game would prove that bountiful on the sideline. Back again, and the prediction could not have been more true. Until game time the Legends weren’t sure if they would manage a bare 11, and it wasn’t until Morse showed up that CPR knew they’d at least able to field a full side, albeit with no subs. With a couple of players in Enrico and Frank who hadn’t played for the Legends before it was going to take some rearranging of players to fit in a formation against the typical formidable Cozmoz team playing at home. Management’s message was dripping with pragmatism. Slow the game down, save your energy. Retreat when Cozmoz have the ball at the back, keep possession. So naturally once the game started the Legends did none of this. Pressing from the front, chasing down lost causes, driving at the opponents. Remarkably this impromptu strategy was working given the wind advantage and general tempo set, but the danger as always was that the Legends would run out of steam given that they did not have the overall stamina to be able to play 90 minutes. Slowly, Cozmoz came into the game and started exploiting space in the middle of the large field. A long counterattack finally exposed the Legends as Comzos made their breakthrough.
CPR should have been able to go into half time with a slender deficit, but instead the referee decided to enhance his normal mediocrity with a dash of higher than usual incompetence. When asked how long there was left in the half, he said 6 minutes despite the fact it was 2:53pm for a 2pm kickoff game. When challenged how he calculated the time, his only defence was to whine that nobody else was allowed to have a time piece on the field. With the Legends desperately seeking a break, Cozmoz pounced with 2 more late goals to put a stranglehold on the game.
Physically the Legends were in decent shape at the half, but now they would also have to contend with the wind, and fatigue was naturally going to start creeping in. A few of the Cozmoz late arriving substitutes were also making a major difference with speed and athletic ability that the Legends simply could not match. Slowly the goals started dripping in. With the wind and a tiring CPR at their disposal Cozmoz started neglecting their defensive duties in lieu of trying to score as many as possible. Expecting CPR to play two way football on the vast pitch with no substitutes was a big ask, but they heroically attempted it and indeed started creating more clear cut chances. From one of the CPR corners Phillips was able to score his first Legends goal, a surgical strike into the side netting from just inside the box. Unfortunately the score was not to be respectable as the incompetent referee was now a disgruntled one. Close decisions would go Cozmoz way, and in particular two large ones went against CPR. A great save from Resnik ricocheted against the striker’s outstretched arm only for the referee to allow the tap in. Meanwhile at the other end Cristaudo was ripped down for a blatant penalty only for the referee to inexplicably ignore what happened, an event that even had the defender apologizing afterwards. Of course, none of these events had any material bearing on the final score, but they certainly discouraged the Legends and allowed Cozmoz to continue sweeping in goals with abandon. The one hope is that in a tight fight for playoff places, the goal difference doesn’t come back to haunt the Legends.
Competition: Cozmoz, League Opposition
Location: Bush Terminal Piers Park, Brooklyn
Conditions: Mildly chilly fall afternoon
Result: 1:8 HT: 0-3
Goals: 1-5: Phillips
Yellow Cards: None.
Red Cards: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: Thankfully none.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Steve Morse managed to show up at the last, helping keep the score to single digits.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Phillips reaggravated his groin and calf, but remarkably considering everyone played 90 minutes there were no more injuries than pride and sore muscles.
Old Man of the Match: Everyone played hard but when conceding 8 its difficult to look at the positives. Resnik put in a much more accomplished performance than previously although his rapid short distribution raised eyebrows. Azzo as always provided interceptions, physicality and neat distribution. Narrowly edging them out was Phillips whose attacking drive produced the best work in the first half and who continued working in the second, including a pinpoint finish for his debut goal.
Old Man of the Bar: N/A
El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None.
Statistic of the week: Philips with his debut goal, hopefully the first of many once his confidence matches the finishing ability of his first goal. Venkataraman is now on 99 Legend caps, which should spark wild celebrations and an Honor Guard from both teams next week for the Century. Maybe.
Team Bar Showing: 0 out of 5 (0%)
Team Bar Night: 0 out of 5. 11 exhausted players in the Brooklyn pier wilderness did not set the stage for any type of pints, let alone an hour to get back to Manhattan with dreadful traffic.
Team (No new profiles this week): Mark Resnik (GK), Steve Roberts (DF), Manohar Venkataraman, Steve Morse, Danny Azzo (DF), Mark Dean (DF), Neil Stower (DF), Jeremy Phillips, Enrico Tomassoli, Franco Denari, Frank Cristaudo