The second game of the season brought a continued mix of players including an influx of Legends. The players were busy (re)introducing themselves during warm-ups on a rare second week in a row grass field. This particular field near the Kiosks by the parking lot was a personal favorite given its relatively small dimensions that worked in favor of putting pressure on defenders. With a noon kickoff the sun could play a factor in the first half and the Oranges were fortunate to play with the sun in the eyes of the opposition keeper.
Right from the start the difference in fluency between the teams was evident as Shamrocks sprayed the ball around both long and short whereas the Oranges struggled to string 3 passes together. The obvious physical size differential also came in to play with Shamrocks continually winning headers and 50-50 tackles. CPR managed an early let off when Shamrocks had the ball in the back of the net only for the Referee to blow for a dubious offside. Slowly the Oranges started to grow into the game as some internal discussions and loud pitch side encouragement urged calm and possession. Picking up on the opposition defenders fondness for the long ball, CPR started dropping back to bait them into the low percentage passes with the additional benefit of picking off some of the misplayed balls higher up the pitch. Rather than attempt long balls like before, the Oranges started moving at pace with shorter passes and creating dangerous situations of their own. One such scramble produced an excellent double save from the Shamrocks keeper off of Venkataraman’s point blank shot. However, the Shamrocks reset and took the lead using their physical advantage off a corner. The ball appeared cleared but once a Shamrock took possession he passed it to the left winger in an ocean of space. Sometimes too much time can be a detriment as the winger hammered the ball straight at keeper Koerner, but having parried the ball into the middle the canny opposition striker was by himself and calmly tapped the ball in.
For the second game in a row the Oranges went into the half down by a goal having played well in spurts, just enough to provide encouragement. The discussion revolved around not pressing the defenders while also taking time in possession and using the Oranges speed advantage on the flanks to attack. The weather was not as hot as the previous week so the hope was that the Oranges could form a more cohesive unit in the second half with more energy. Unfortunately it was not to be. Shamrocks continued to press their own advantages and scored twice more, both off of corners using their physicality. The Oranges had a few isolated moments but rarely troubled the opposition keeper unlike the first half. With a comfortable lead the wily Shamrocks had a master class in passing the ball around to waste time with the Oranges struggling to gain back possession.
This loss felt a little more dispiriting than the previous one, and the lack of goal scoring is clearly a concern. However, playing on grass fields two weeks in a row to start the season with significantly different teams was not the most auspicious of starts. Playing on turf now that most players have played with each other and are starting to learn the strengths and weaknesses of their teammates should see continued improvement.
Competition: NY Shamrocks SC Legends, League opposition
Location: Randalls Island #71, Randalls Island
Conditions: Warm day on a short grass pitch
Fans: 4 (Appel as coach and vocal cheerleader, along with Valle. Also Mrs Alfi + Dog)
Result: 0-3 (0-1 at H/T)
Yellow Cards: None
Red Card: None
Mike D’s aka No Shows: None
Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award:
Old Man of the Match: None
Team: Grant Koerner (GK), Manohar Venkataraman (F), Jason Cyrus (F), Kelvin Yu (DF), Gabriel Cowles (DF), Najib Majaj (MF), Claudio Schneider (MF), Joji Tokida, Willian D’Andrea, Steven Morse, Bevan Rosenbloom, Justin Noel (DF), Adam Alfi, Vojdan Rosoklija (DF)