The Legends embarrassment of squad riches continued this week with Ciolli generously stepping down to allow the game day squad to reach the maximum of 18. Even with 2 late no shows in Jones and Nizam the squad was a healthy 16. Sawyer strode around with purpose describing his 4-2-4 (in reality a 4-2-3-1) and giving each squad member a detailed breakdown of his role. The debut of the new kit with the number randomizer was beneficial to the fitter members of the club, not so flattering for the…older gentlemen.
CPR were playing a new league team Astoria United SC, who appeared capable of scoring a lot of goals but also shipping them. The Legends started off purposefully and used their mobility versus their stouter opposition to pin them back. However, despite having a strong defence CPR were showing some definite miscommunication as they were exposed a couple of times on the break, forcing Arrocha off his line for some last minute clearances. Relatively early the Legends struck, a hopeful dribbler from distance from Sawyer could only be lamely pushed away by the keeper right into the path of the grateful Subah. A second and what should have been decisive goal came from a deep corner by Phillips that Sawyer converted much more assertively. The Legends composure seemed to desert them at this point as simple passes were being botched up and Astoria were winning the physical battle. Rather than fold, they kept coming and earned a way back into the game, a corner to the top of the box resulting in an accurate shot that was deflected enough to wrong foot Arrocha and pull the game back to 2-1.
At half time the Legends knew they needed to stretch the lead as the opposition were not going away quietly. Right on cue, a scramble in the box had Sawyer blocked in the act of shooting for an obvious penalty. As Astoria surrounded the referee Sawyer waited calmly for his opportunity. A little too calmly as it turned out, as his shot lobbed over and wide past the gaping right side of the goal. With barely time to digest this misfortune, the Legends gave away a free kick in the middle of the field resulting in a booking for Belizan. Perhaps still discombulated, Astoria launched a long ball that their striker somehow corralled and scored from, the type of mistake that would not have been expected from a defence of the caliber of the Legends. From 3-1 to 2-2 in a matter of a minute was certainly a gut punch, with the bright side that there was a full 40+ minutes still to play. Most of the match followed a similar pattern, the Legends left hand side wide open for whichever left side midfielder was deployed. The ball was then brought up only to meet an unyielding low block, with few clear cut chances created. On occasion Astoria would clear the ball and immediately be on the counter attack. Indeed, the clearest chances of the game were presented to them only for their finishing and Arrocha’s goalkeeping to save them.
In the end there was much huffing and puffing but no more than half chances for the Legends to seal what should have been a routine victory. Astoria proved to be a stout opponent in more ways than one, but hopefully CPR learn from this and make sure they take better advantage next time.
Competition: Astoria United SC, League Opposition
Location: Randall’s Island #73, Randall’s Island
Conditions: Brisk Autumn morning
Fans: 3, Brindley (managing the subs), Resnik, Ciolli
Result: 2:2 HT: 2-1
Goals: 1:0 Subah Assist Sawyer
2:0 Sawyer Assist Phillips
Yellow Cards: Stower, Belizan
Red Cards: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: Despite the abundance of strikers forcing Vale and Ciolli to drop out, Nizam was an incommunicado no show. Not the best way to endear yourself to a ruthless management team. Jones shenanigans in the last few weeks got to him, but he had been in close communication with management about a potential drop out.
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Ciolli was the only one of the fans who was capable of playing, but based on the mooted attendance did not bring his kit with him. Given Nizam’s no show, he could well have provided added heft in the box for the last few frantic minutes.
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Given the maximum number of substitutes few people were out long enough to get injured. However, some of this was also due to some dainty footwork as there were a few agricultural challenges that could well have caused problems had they connected.
Old Man of the Match: Pablo Arrocha made several key saves on the counter attacks to keep the Legends still in it. Jeremy Phillips gets an honorable mention for several trademark winding runs that gained the Legends some dangerous free kicks.
Old Man of the Bar: With a long overdue award, Morse and his cooler deservedly win Old Man of the Bar/Pitch
El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None, as the players made it to the game to watch and stayed on the sidelines for refreshments.
Statistic of the week: Legends first consecutive league 2-2 draw in their history saw them give up the lead in both games, in different forms of brutality. One last minute, one giving up a dominating two goal lead and with a missed penalty.
Team Bar Showing: 12 out of 16 (75%)
Team Bar Night: 3.5 out of 5. Morse’s cooler proved the main attraction once again as it ended up keeping most of the team around for a fair amount of time.
Team (No new profiles this week): Pablo Arrocha (GK), Manohar Venkataraman, Neil Stower, Gavin Moore (DF), Danny Azzo, Charles Linehan (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Manuel Casanova, Eduardo Mazzi (DF), Mark Edmunds (DF), Chris Impey, Ernest Subah, David Sawyer, Jeremy Phillips, Steve Morse, Takeshi Tsujita