Archive for the 'Legends' category

Dreadful goals conceded and mental mistakes doom Legends against Barnstonworth

Oct 24 2018 Published by under Legends

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

Fans: 0

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

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Legends take on Over 30’s team in Cup, with predictable result

Oct 16 2018 Published by under Legends

The Legends struggled a little more than usual in getting players out for the game, one reason being the new rule for the state cup that the league decided to share with minimal notice that players from other rosters would not be allowed to be shared.  This eliminated a few on call players the Legends would normally have gone to, but they were fortunately able to scrap up 15, even though a few of those were walking wounded.  CPR were also playing in the Over 30’s cup as the notice from the league regarding the Over 40’s cup was less than 24 hours, not nearly enough time to weight the pros and cons of eliminating the 7 players 39 and under.

Traditionally the Legends have suffered grievously at the hands of younger whippersnappers, including last years all time thrashing against the Greeks at the Met Oval.  This time the Legends were somewhat hopeful as Celtic only had the bare 11, but once play started it was clear that most of those were in shape and up to the challenge of 90 minutes.  The Legends started out decently but were unfortunate to give up the first goal after an even spell, a shot from a sharp angle spilling kindly out of Martin’s hands to the opposition striker.  Soon after Celtic made it 2-0 with a long cross finding a Celtic player in acres of space at the back post, and an ill advised cross field ball at the back quickly resulted in a third.  With the Legends trying to hold on until half time, another mistake made it 4-0.

There wasn’t much to be said at 0-4 down, the hopes of holding on for penalties having now faded.  Azzo’s encouragement to win the second half was positive and indeed the Legends started making increased substitutions to try and wear Celtic down.  A few of their players appeared to be carrying injuries, one necessitating a goalie switch.  Indeed the Legends had to make one of their own as Martins collision with a striker required a few minutes on the sideline.  Frazier came in as an imperious sweeper keeper and changed the dynamic, but CPR was unable to take advantage of his longer kicks.  The closest the Legends came to the scoreboard was a scramble in the box which resulted in the ball hitting the crossbar twice in quick succession, but it was not to be.  At the other end the Legends let in one and then near the end a comedy of errors resulted in two quick goals to unfairly pad the score line.  CPR had played decently, but not enough to make up for several mental errors and the natural physical mismatch of 50ish year olds playing against players in their mid 30’s.

Competition: Manhattan Celtic Bhoys, Over 30’s

Location: Randall’s Island #73, Randall’s Island

Conditions: Pleasant morning, back on the astroturf

Fans: 0

Result: 0:7 HT: 0-4

Goals: N/A

Yellow Cards: None.

Red Cards: None.

Mike D’s aka No Shows: None

Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None.

”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Martins had a significant collision with an onrushing striker and had to take a few minutes off, but was back soon after.  Venkataraman’s calf surprisingly survived and the subs helped lessen the load on the rest.

Old Man of the Match: With a 0-7 drubbing it was hard to pick an OMoM but there were a few honorable mentions, notably Teesdale, Azzo and Phillips.

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, with the loss dropping the Legends to 2-13 lifetime in the Cup, mostly because of playing significantly younger teams.

Team Bar Showing:  6 out of 15 (40%, Season High)

Team Bar Night: 3 out of 5.  A decent group back and a few ones for the road, finishing the entire first slate of NFL games.

Team (No new profiles this week): Rich Martins (GK), Andrew Faherty (DF), Manohar Venkataraman, Neil Stower (DF), Gavin Moore (DF), Franco Denari, David Sawyer, Willian D’Andrea, Jeremy Phillips, Steve Teesdale (DF), Danny Azzo, Mark Resnik (DF),  Mike Conboy, Tim Frazier, Hakan Nizam

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Legends survive scare to top SC Eintracht 4-2

Oct 10 2018 Published by under Legends

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

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Fortified Legends battle America FC, Pitch to 1-1 Draw

Oct 10 2018 Published by under Legends

With the legends management loafing and sipping cocktails in the Caribbean and a Cranford NJ pitch location there was a considerable headwind trying to rouse a squad to meet the challenge posed by last year’s league champions. However some last minute texts and cajoling saw the squad fill out nicely with some welcome CPR top shelf over 39 talent.

Upon arrival at the field it became evident that the field conditions would be a major factor in the proceedings. While quite green the field possesses a measurable undulation with sections of trodden mud, still water swamp, and shin high prairie grass. Add to it the fact that the grass was poorly rooted and through the course of the game the pitch became equal parts ice rink and mud pit.

From the opening whistle CPR dominated the possession and bullied the midfield with Morse and Mershon consistently winning tackles and the aerial battles.  Phillips and Sobczak penetrated deep into the opposition’s territory on several occasions but were thwarted mostly by the tricky field conditions. The pace and offensive thrust clearly caught the champs off guard as they struggled to settle in and possess the ball as they often do, but midway through the half they struck in the patented America FC way. The AFC left back was once again marauding up and down the field either getting to the end line or whipping in his trademark diagonal ball to on rushing strikers. Even though this tactic was specifically discussed pregame by manager Pattinson, the AFC left back would not be denied and unleashed a peach of a ball to a streaking forward who deftly placed it to Frazier’s right. After 45 minutes the Legends were down 0-1 but knew a result could still be had.

The half time team talk centered mainly on keeping the distances between the defensive, midfield and attacking units more compact. Intriguingly, Jones also offered an auspice of hope, assuring the squad that Seb would no doubt level soon enough.

The Second half looked much like the start of the first with the Legends recommitting to tough tackling and higher pressure. AFC began to take great exception to the pressure and lashed out repeatedly with retaliations, wildly swinging arms and the occasional cringe worthy epithet. In spite of the drama the Legends remained industrious offensively and stout defensively and finally levelled via Sobczak. Pattinson was fed a looping, dipping ball from the back which he took down professionally, spun, and slotted Seb through on goal. Sobczak still had plenty to do as the ball made several jumps and skips off of what at this point was a laughable pitch. Ultimately he was able to pile drive it into the right side netting. Many more squabbles and quibbles ensued, but ACF and CPR remained dead locked to the final whistle.

Competition: America FC 1927, League Opposition

Location: Unami Park, Cranford NJ

Conditions: Warm sunny autumn day

Fans: 5!

Result: 1:1 HT: 0-1

Goals: 1-1: Seb Assist Pattinson

Yellow Cards: Belizan for retaliating after being stomped on.

Red Cards: None.

Mike D’s aka No Shows: Conboy was yes on the Evite, but a no on the pitch.

Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Seb and Jeremy were very welcome additions.

”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Hardly Mr Glass, an exhausted Hahn remained off after a two footed horror tackle. Although if there were no subs he could have returned.

Old Man of the Match: Due to the New Jersey field location, a trip to the bar was not made so therefore no vote.

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: This was the first, and hopefully last game at Unami Park, Cranford NJ.

Team Bar Showing:  0 out of 14 (0%)

Team Bar Night: 0 out of 5.  It was a day for family.

Team (No new profiles this week): Tim Frazier (GK), Tom Pattinson, Pete Hahn (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Danny Azzo, Gavin Moore (DF), Franco Denari, Andrew Jones, Steve Teesdale (DF), Creighton Mershon, Stephen Morse, Manuel Casanova, Jeremy Phillips, Seb Sobczak

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Undisciplined Legends still comfortably prevail over undermanned Banatul

Sep 24 2018 Published by under Legends

The Legends had a rare opportunity to play on grass at Randall’s Island #71, a delight for strikers while a reason for groaning for defenders.  The field wasn’t as bad as intimated beforehand, but the unexpected bounces still required a higher level of technical ability than normally available at an Over 39 match.  For a change, the Legends had only 3 substitutes but this was bountiful compared to the mere 9 that appeared for Banatul.  With a young and efficient referee, the game started on time and the Legends looked to take advantage of their shorthanded opposition.  A towering header from Oli Roberts from a typically dangerous corner from Pattinson, but the Legends struggled to create many other clear-cut chances.  Shots from the outside were narrowly wide, while the Legends were either gun shy or ran into a stubbornly packed Banatul within the area.  For a change CPR were using the width cleverly, with fullback Hahn on one side and striker Philips on the other driving to the byline but then moving in rather than crossing aimlessly into the penalty area.  Although nothing came of it, this was a promising scenario for future games.  Eventually the Legends added to their lead with a harshly struck shot by Frazier.  With Banatul now up to 10, the Legends had slightly less room to roam. With the field multiplying a careless touch at the back, Legends alumnus Santiago Morales was able to pick up the ball from the halfway line and strike a perfect lob to get Banatul back into a game they had no business being in.  The defensive lapse was a symptom of a much larger defensive malaise where Legends were not picking up the opposition despite having the extra man, then allowing Banatul players to stroll through the middle with aplomb.

Leading 2-1 at the half against 9 and then 10 men was a poor display, especially given the Legends had a decent team out.  There was some focus on tactics but the overarching principle hammered in by management was an increase in intensity and urgency against a team of older players that surely was going to tire out.  With Rosenbloom adding to the tactical choices the Legends started the second half well, pushing players further up and swarming Banatul players every time they received the ball.  With the grass field adding a level of unpredictability, forcing errors in the final third enabled the Legends to create a few more chances.  D’Andrea did his typical Brazilian samba in the box, toying mercilessly with defender and goalie before arrogantly touching the ball to a wide-open Casanova for the easiest of tap-ins.  Frazier had recovered from his usual absurd hijinks to provide some stellar running and an additional goal from an assist from D’Andrea.  Meanwhile Banatul hadn’t quit and were taking advantage of the Legends increasing greed by counterattacks led by the suspiciously young-looking midfielder.  However, their second goal was inexcusable, their young attacking midfielder collecting the ball in the penalty area with 3 legends defenders nowhere near him, allowing him to chip new goalkeeper Rich Martins.  Fortunately, this was just another consolation as the Legends added to their lead with a hopeful lob from Rosenbloom being poked home by D’Andrea amidst a penalty area scramble.

Its hard to be too negative about a 5-2 win, but against a short handed older weaker team the revamped Legends should be doing better.  There were positive glimpses, but the carelessness in midfield and at the back needs to be cleaned up in a much stronger division.  Playing against the defending champions next week should provide a much sterner test.

Competition: Banatul SC, League Opposition

Location: Randall’s Island #71, Randall’s Island

Conditions: Comfortable autumn temperatures

Fans: 5 (Mrs. Azzo and kids, Jones Jr and Sr)

Result: 5:2 HT: 2-1

Goals: 1-0: O. Roberts Assist Pattinson

2-0: Frazier Assist Casanova

3-1: Casanova Assist D’Andrea

4-1: Frazier Assist D’Andrea

5-2: D’Andrea Assist Rosenbloom

Yellow Cards: Jones and Denari for late tackles, Frazier for being Frazier and essentially begging the referee for a card with his actions.

Red Cards: None.

Mike D’s aka No Shows: Conboy and Hodges with late flu, but this inadvertently helped solve the recent issue of too many players to manage.

Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Rosenbloom was a maybe but helped with his second half appearance and positional flexibility.

”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Venkataraman missed the goal festival in the second half having to limp off with a calf strain.  Rosenbloom’s advent meant Jones could rest his strained groin.

Old Man of the Match: Several good contenders including Hahn’s industry along the entire sideline and Philips working hard up top.  In the end Frazier’s two goals and not knowing that D’Andrea scored the last goal helped Frazier gain his first OMoM.  Now, if only he could curb the asinine stream of bookings…

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:  D’Andrea continues to stretch the all-time scoring record to 30 while Pattinson increases his second place assist lead with 14.

Team Bar Showing:  5 out of 15 (33%)

A bit young for the Over 39’s, but hopefully CPR will be ready for Jones Jr in the future












Team Bar Night: 2.5 out of 5.  A decent appearance and the end of the first NFL games watched.

Team (No new profiles this week): Rich Martins (GK), Manohar Venkataraman, Tom Pattinson, Pete Hahn (DF), Danny Azzo, Gavin Moore (DF), Franco Denari, Willian D’Andrea, Andrew Jones, Oli Roberts (DF), Jeremy Phillips, Manuel Casanova, Bevan Rosenbloom, Drew Faherty (DF), Tim Frazier

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Disjointed Legends collapse in second half to old club rivals Barnstonworth

Sep 17 2018 Published by under Legends

The typical early season phenomenon of high attendance continued into the second game, with a late scratch of Phillips still resulting in a full 17 available for the game.  This brought about some positional juggling that resulted in some Monday morning quarterbacking late in the game as dissension over who should start and who should substitute in rumbled on.  Barnstonworth had many of the same familiar faces but new season syndrome had benefited them as well as they had a full squad available, critical in the sweltering heat of the afternoon.

Initially the Legends didn’t look anywhere near as free flowing and dangerous as they did the previous week.  There were a couple of hopeful jaunts up front but the fullbacks had nowhere near the space they had the previous week to attack.  Meanwhile Barnstonworth were making hay in the midfield as their fullbacks drew CPR in merely to bypass them to their central midfielders in the vast spaces open in the big field.  The Legends were caught in fragmented defending from the front which allowed the Rovers to advance the ball easily to the final third.  With the heat resulting in a drinks break midway through the half, the Legends tried to reorganize.  In particular, the need for better (any) communication and tightening up the defensive coordination were made paramount.  To their credit, the communication was indeed improved although there was still far more negative shouting than productive instructions.  Unfortunately, the opposition were able to take the lead with a winger’s shot parried back by goalkeeper Faherty, resulting in a cross and tap in at the near post.

CPR attempted to regroup at the half, but with the number of players, the size of the pitch and the distribution of players to positions this was a tricky effort.  The lack of menace from the attack was palpable as Sawyer plowed a lonely furrow up top with the second striker all too often dragged into the midfield to help.  The Rovers started putting more pressure in the final third and were able to turn that pressure into a couple of goals.  The Legends started pressing up which in turn opened more gaps at the back.  With the frequent substitutions and players unfamiliar with each other, the Rovers were able to take advantage on counterattacks with brutal efficiency.  The opposing forwards speed and ruthlessness had the goal count inexorably increasing.  Finally, the Legends were able to salvage some pride as they were able to eventually win a corner from which Oli Roberts header was clinically dispatched left footed by Venkataraman.  Soon after a beautifully flighted ball left the keeper in no man’s land with Venkataraman turning provider to gift D’Andrea with an open net.

Too little too late as the Legends suffered from an unexpected thrashing.  The good news is that with all the quality players added, the issues are more of organization and familiarity which they should be able to figure out.  As attendance flattens to a normal 14 or 15 this will make it much easier for the players to adjust to well defined roles.  Just as last week’s exceptional result didn’t make them title contenders, this unexpected setback didn’t make them bottom feeders either.  CPR will be hoping to get back to winning ways against Banatul next week.

Post Game Player Interviews

Competition: Barnstonworth Rovers Old Boys, League Opposition

Location: Bush Terminal Piers Park, Brooklyn

Conditions: Extremely warm autumn afternoon

Fans: 5 (Mrs. Stower/Azzo with 1/2 kids)

Result: 2:7 HT: 0-1

Goals: 1-6: Venkataraman Assist O. Roberts

2-7: D’Andrea Assist Venkataraman

Yellow Cards: Hahn received a booking for a robust tackle, perhaps a bit harshly.

Red Cards: None.

Mike D’s aka No Shows: Phillips was a late scratch, but would have made a full 18 so not needed.

Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None.

”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: A lingering injury for Oli Roberts wasn’t particularly damaging given the numbers, but the heat definitely took a toll on a number of players.

Old Man of the Match: The general malaise hit everyone in the second half, where even the quality players were struggling to make basic passes.  After a 7-2 loss, there weren’t enough positives to give anyone a vote for the scant 4 who made it to the bar.

Old Man of the Bar: None, not surprising given the high bar for this award.  It will probably only be awarded a couple of times a season, if that.

El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): Shafranek is an honorary mention as he made it to Blooms for a couple.

Statistic of the week: After a barren season Venkataraman made it onto the score sheet to start creeping up on the now dormant Mckeown for 3rd all time goal scorer.  D’Andrea continues to stretch the all time scoring record to 29.

Team Bar Showing:  4 out of 17 (24%)

Team Bar Night: 2 out of 5.  4 present at shady Irish Haven in Brooklyn, Tier 1 made it back to Blooms.

Team (No new profiles this week): Andrew Faherty (GK), Manohar Venkataraman, Tom Pattinson, Pete Hahn (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Mike Conboy, Danny Azzo (DF), Neil Stower (DF), Gavin Moore (DF), Franco Denari, David Sawyer, Mark Resnik (DF), Willian D’Andrea, Andrew Jones, Oli Roberts (DF), Mark Edmunds (DF), Steve Teesdale

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Retooled Legends start season off with a statement victory over strong Manhattan Kickers

Sep 10 2018 Published by under Legends

Much ado about nothing was the motto of the Over 30’s offseason for Central Park Rangers.  After contraction, consolidation and merging had all been on the table, the teams ended up exactly where they were at the end of the previous season.  Well not exactly, as heavy recruiting from the Over 30’s enabled the Legends to capture several Old Boys and a Gray along with a long time CSL stalwart.  As usual at the beginning of the season, there were more than enough players available.  For all their increase in roster and depth, a full time keeper still eludes the Legends but for this game they were able to borrow Carducci.  A strong team with good numbers would be needed against a perennially strong Manhattan Kickers team playing on a deceptively large pitch.

The Legends started the game brightly with good basic passing movement and bringing numbers into attack.  Both Stower and Azzo provided good attacking width from the fullback position allowing the wide midfielders to get closer to goal.  CPR were able to take advantage of this attacking spell as Sawyer twisted and turned and took a hard shot that was going way off target only for Conboy to be in the right place at the right time to twist a header over the keeper at the far post.  Soon after, Pattinson turned around and walloped a sweet shot that thundered off the cross bar and couldn’t be converted off the rebound.  Meanwhile the Kickers were no slouches with some intense pressure of their own, their striker missing an open header at the back post.

It was a very solid first half of the season with not much needed in the way of a half time team talk.  Perhaps that was a mistake as the second half was nowhere near as good for the Legends.  The slick surface started having more of an effect as players were unable to control the ball, and the Kickers came out strong.  A few physical incidents disrupted some of the rhythm of the game with the Legends sideline jeering every decision in true Sunday league style.  Gaps started showing up as the game opened up more and more, with the Legends defence having to take several last minute heroic tackles.  The frustration of the Kickers started increasing as the Legends tried to keep possession and see out the game.  They had a couple of glorious chances near the end to seal the victory but were unable to take advantage, however they did just enough to seal the win.

This was a very encouraging first game and victory against a seasoned playoff opponent, and the influx of quality was clear.  The only thing stopping the Legends from a serious playoff push may be the lack of a full time keeper, but hopefully they’ll be able to cobble things together until they are able to recruit one.

Competition: Manhattan Kickers Legends, League Opposition

Location: Bush Terminal Piers Park, Brooklyn

Conditions: Persistent rain, fortunately not quite cold enough to be miserable but no fun

Fans: 1 (young stower)

Result: 1:0 HT: 1-0

Goals: 1-0: Conboy Assist Sawyer

Yellow Cards: Lots of minor incidents based on physicality from both sides and a laissez-faire referee.  Belizan took exception to persistent hard fouling and was booked for retaliation while D’Andrea was also booked for remonstration based on fouls.  Not to be left out, Frazier made sure to keep his streak alive with a pointless booking in the last minute of the game.

Red Cards: None.

Mike D’s aka No Shows: None.

Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None.

”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: With 5 substitutes and frequent interchange nobody was on long enough to get injured, and the physical tackles did not result in any injuries.

Old Man of the Match: A battling overall performance with the defence doing very well.  There was a choice of new boys but it came down to Stower’s energy and availability down the left for attacking purposes while also putting a body in when needed.

Old Man of the Bar: 6 pm finish in Brooklyn was not conducive to heading back to midtown east.  Tier 1 and 2 did make it back for a couple of beers to UWS.

El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None.

Statistic of the week: Lots of debut points for the new guys between a defensive shutout and an assist from Sawyer

Team Bar Showing:  2 out of 16 (13%)

Team Bar Night: 1 out of 5.  Only 2 present at the bar for a couple of beers.

Team (No new profiles this week): Mike Carducci (GK), Tim Frazier, Manohar Venkataraman, Tom Pattinson, Steve Roberts (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Mike Conboy, Danny Azzo (DF), Neil Stower (DF), Gavin Moore (DF), Franco Denari, David Sawyer, Jeremy Phillips, Willian D’Andrea, John Hodges

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Legends end season on a triumphant note with tough victory over Shamrocks

May 22 2018 Published by under Legends

The Legends had a decent sized squad available in Sunday, but were also fortunate in that key players were available.  With mediocrity assured regardless of the result, Legends Management decided to go back to the experimental 4-2-3-1 they had tried to some success back in the Autumn.  The key was having 3 mobile defensive midfielders and a strong defensive base, but as feared as soon as the game started several players clearly appeared confused about the concept of a formation other than a 4-4-2.  Within a few minutes it was just 2 players pressing the Shamrock back line as opposed to the 4 that the formation was designed to free up.  Most of the action remained in the center of the pitch as neither side seemed able to create concrete chances.  Frazier appeared eager to display his defensive chops in a debut in goal for the Legends, although with a strong back line in front of him he didn’t have much to do.  The first half saw the Legends limited to a couple of chances, Pattinson lifting a chip a little too high over the onrushing keeper and then hitting a shot bereft of curl from the outside.

As the second half started it looked like the Legends 4 substitutes could make the difference as the heat started taking its toll along with the hard new surface rending every hard tackle in a bloody scraping.  The Legends kept probing the Shamrocks high line as the referee appeared to be actually paying attention to the offside rule, calling it when necessary but letting it go as needed.  The politicking by both sides was entertaining but the referee appeared more than equal to the task.  In the end, the sole goal arrived via slapstick methodology.  Harrison won the ball and after shaking off some hard tackles hit a hopeful ball into the area.  The defender went to the ball then assumed the keeper would pick it up. The keeper was looking at the defender as the ball gently bisected both of them.  All of a sudden Mckeown aroused from his slumber and lumbered forward to gleefully (temporarily) finish his Legends career with a final game winning goal.

All in all not as bad a season as it seemed in patches.  There were several good wins over traditionally strong sides, and the team did well to finish right in the middle given the increased quality of the league and despite playing in the significantly tougher division.

Competition: Shamrocks SC Legends, League Opposition

Location: Randall’s Island #74, Randall’s Island

Conditions: Very warm spring morning

Fans: 0

Result: 1:0 HT: 0-0

Goals: 1-0: Mckeown Assist Harrison

Yellow Cards: Putting Frazier in goal had the added benefit of reducing his interactions with anyone else including the referee.  This resulted in a rare booking free game.  Rosenbloom meanwhile had a quick early booking, but despite some hard fouls later on this would serve as the only booking of the match for the Legends.

Red Cards: None.

Mike D’s aka No Shows: Fortunately none.

Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: None.

”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Morales came off hurt in the second half but fortunately the team had enough in reserve.  Many people suffered from bleeding cuts though from the new harsh surface.

Old Man of the Match: Another good game by the team.  Although it was tight, Simon ‘Harry’ Harrison edged ahead with his physicality and defensive prowess, also claiming a fortuitous assist.

Old Man of the Bar: No single individual here but a great overall performance.

El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): El Presidente Faherty made an appearance despite the grueling work schedule to bid a post game adieu to Mckeown.

Statistic of the week: With the season over there were no major new statistics in the last game, although Venkataraman finished only his second ever CPR season since 2000 without a goal.

Team Bar Showing:  7 out of 15 (47%)

Team Bar Night: 4.5 out of 5. The best post game shenanigans for a while, with not just the usual suspects spending a good amount of time at the pub.  Just when things appeared to be winding down, both the Oranges and the Women’s Whites showed up to add some more levity to the proceedings.

Team (No new profiles this week): Tim Frazier (GK), Mark Resnik (DF), Manohar Venkataraman, Simon Mckeown, Tom Pattinson, Manuel Casanova, Santiago Morales, Steve Teesdale (DF), Steve Roberts (DF), Oli Roberts (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Pete Hahn (DF), Simon Harrison, Bevan Rosenbloom, Mike Conboy

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Bare bones Legends no match for patient America FC

May 08 2018 Published by under Legends

For a lot of the season the Legends have been feast or famine when it came to squad size.  On this day against one of the stronger teams in the league, it was famine. Although the Legends have been worse off before, they certainly weren’t in good shape with a bare 12, no regular keeper and many members the worse for wear following Cinco De Mayo / Red Bulls NYCFC Derby / Kentucky derby the day before.  America looked very well prepared, even doing organized drills before the game as CPR looked on in weary bemusement.

The Legends lined up their group as best they could given the players who had shown up, and for awhile they were able to stay compact and move from side to side in their half of the field to keep America at bay.  Unusually for a team at this level, America remained patient and were content to play the ball around, probing to find weaknesses.  There was only so much the Legends could do however, finally being undone by a long ball that caught out the goalie and defence providing a simple chip finish for the first goal.  Soon after that the best defender for CPR was proving to be the crossbar as the ball clattered against it no less than 3 times, with a 4th having been already disallowed for off side.  The Legends single substitute was just not enough as the team started wearing down and were no match for the slick passing America who started carving up the Legends at the back. Although this wasn’t the debacle it was against the NY Greeks, the sense of inevitability remained as CPR were physically overwhelmed by fitter, quicker opponents.

At half time down 4-0 there wasn’t much to say, but adding injury to insult Casanova wasn’t able to continue which meant it would be no substitutes for the second half.  As America sensed blood in the water spaces opened up in the back but the Legends didn’t have the speed to take advantage.  The opposition were certainly top heavy and CPR lamented the lack of a full squad to take more advantage of the errors at the back, consoling themselves with a single poor throw-in which led to a well finished shot by Frazier to prevent the shutout.  Speaking of Frazier, he continued to endear himself around the league by his customary unnecessary hard fouls and constant vociferous complaining leading to confrontations with the opposition and the referee.  This culminated in a hard shoulder to shoulder charge which brought the game to a halt as the referee yelled at everyone around him as the Legends either confronted the referee or slunk away in embarrassment.  Fortunately things calmed down and the opposition didn’t take it out physically on CPR, content to keep trying to get on the scoresheet.  The final indignity was self inflicted by the Legends, a needless defensive pass to the goalie outside the box resulting in a pass to the opposition at the top whose simple long chip made it in for the last kick of the game.

With one game remaining, the Legends hope they can salvage something to provide a platform for next season.

Competition: America FC 1927, League Opposition

Location: Randall’s Island #82, Randall’s Island

Conditions: Warm spring morning

Fans: 0

Result: 1:7 HT: 4-0

Goals: 1-5: Frazier

Yellow Cards: Back to regularly scheduled programming.  Frazier went ballistic after some fair physical play and then spent the rest of the game teetering on the edge of being sent off.  He was fortunate that a couple of the other Legends distracted the referee long enough to turn his ire off of Frazier.

Red Cards: None, fortunately.

Mike D’s aka No Shows: This was a tough day for Mike D’s.  Conboy’s child was sick on a day we could definitely have used him.  Edmunds was a ghost of his former self, having puked out most of his physical self on the walk to the game.

Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Fortunately, Teesdale was able to delay his work until the afternoon.  Hodges managed to make it as well, both giving us notice the day before.

”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Casanova’s tights weren’t tight enough to prevent him from suffering a calf injury at the half that prevented any further involvement.

Old Man of the Match: A tough day against a patient team.  Pattinson was his usual calm self in the center of the field and Steve Roberts tried to marshal the defence as best he could.

Old Man of the Bar: After a fun Cinco De Mayo it was difficult to expect too much longevity, but 3 hours was more than reasonable especially with the traffic fiasco following the 5 borough bike ride.

El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): Walby brought his kid along to watch Liverpool Chelsea, although eventually wishing he hadn’t.

Statistic of the week: Maybe statistic of the week should become weekly statistic.  Frazier with 12 career games and 12 career bookings.

Team Bar Showing: 7 out of 12 (58%)

Team Bar Night: 3.5 out of 5. Good depth for a change, half the crew making it back to the pub.

Team (No new profiles this week): Mark Resnik (GK), Manohar Venkataraman, Simon Mckeown, Tom Pattinson, Manuel Casanova, Santiago Morales, Tim Frazier, Franco Denari, John Hodges, Steve Teesdale (DF), Steve Roberts (DF), Mark Edmunds (DF)

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Robust Legends squad overpower threadbare Eintracht

May 01 2018 Published by under Legends

For a second consecutive week the Legends were able to bring out a strong squad with strong numbers. They would be playing an Eintracht squad that had been somewhat Jekyll and Hyde this season, sprinkling in good results with thrashings.  The Legends were taking no chances and were aiming to put pressure on right away.  With several substitutes there was no excuse for lollygagging and the plan to aggressively press started to play dividends.  As has also happened recently, the Legends were able to make the simple passes and keep possession, fighting hard to avoid the temptation to go for a 30 yard pass when a 5 yard pass would do.  Quickly passing the ball around paid dividends early as they opened up Eintracht to leave Mckeown open in the box for the simplest of finishes.  Eintracht were playing with a high line, but the outside speed of Frazier and Conboy really put them to the torch along with a referee who seemed to actually pay attention to the offside rule.  A couple of times the Legends sprung the offside trap only for poor finishing to negate the tactic.  However one person who couldn’t be accused of poor finishing was Denari, taking the ball from an acute angle and powering it right through the robust goalie.

At half time the Legends were urged to keep the ball on the ground and slide it thought to beat the offside trap rather than lob the all over the top.  The first 20 minutes were simply one way traffic with the ball constantly in Eintracht’s penalty area.  There were a variety of misplaced passes, a bad miss from Venkataraman continuing his barren spell and an astonishing miss from Frazier missing an open goal from 3 yards out.  Frazier managed to atone quickly with a good finish a couple of minutes later soon followed by a majestic top corner lob from 30 yards from Conboy.

Despite being on the edge of a thrashing, Eintracht valiantly refused to concede and kept attacking to the point of pinning the Legends back.  Perhaps CPR took their foot off the gas, perhaps they were surprised by the opposition’s refusal to quit.  They conceded a goal and then had difficultly putting the pressure back on. The chances dried up and the ball stayed in the middle of the field.  The Legends were somewhat disappointed to not score a few more, but its hard to quibble with a 4-1 victory in a league that has improved in leaps and bounds over the last few seasons.

Competition: SC Eintracht, League Opposition

Location: Randall’s Island #74, Randall’s Island

Conditions: Lovely spring morning

Fans: 0

Result: 2:0 HT: 4-1

Goals: 1-0: Mckeown, Assist Conboy

2-0: Denari, Assist Casanova

3-0: Frazier, Assist D’Andrea

4-0: Conboy

Yellow Cards: A momentous occasion as apart from one loud outburst Frazier managed to focus his energies into staying productive but avoiding a booking for the first time in his CPR career.  Having a good referee who calmed things down certainly didn’t hurt.

Red Cards: None

Mike D’s aka No Shows: Hahn was a late scratch but the squad had large enough numbers to withstand that.

Conboy’s aka Reverse Mike D’s: Carducci’s arrival as goalie was more than welcome.

”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: None.

Old Man of the Match: A very tough decision that came down to one vote. There were several solid performances but a productive game with a superb goal by Conboy was narrowly bested by yet another accomplished appearance by Belizan at the back.  His speed and reading of the game allowed Oli Roberts to be more robust against other defenders and allowed the midfielders to roam a little further forward to support the forwards.

Old Man of the Bar: A throw back night that included not just the sponsor bar Blooms but an impromptu visit to say goodbye to neighbourhood stalwart Macaleers.  Tier 1 Venkataraman and Resnik both put in veteran performances.

El Presidente (Old Men who don’t make it to game but come to the bar): None.

Statistic of the week: One of the oddest statistics in Legends history, but Frazier’s consecutive booking streak finally ended.

Team Bar Showing: 5 out of 16 (31%)

Team Bar Night: 3.5 out of 5. A long enjoyable stay at Blooms followed by an appearance at Macaleers. The only thing missing would be a couple of other Legends along for the ride.

Team (No new profiles this week): Mike Carducci (GK), Mark Resnik (DF), Oliver Roberts (DF), Luciano Belizan (DF), Willian D’Andrea, Bevan Rosenbloom (DF), Manohar Venkataraman, Simon Mckeown, Tom Pattinson, Manuel Casanova, Santiago Morales, Tim Frazier, Franco Denari, John Hodges, Mike Conboy, Steve Teesdale (DF)

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