The Oranges were playing their previously postponed game against fellow cellar dwellers NY Irish in the middle of a Sunday afternoon at field 82 at Randall’s Island. One quick look confirmed the field was rather small, with echoes of the old field 74 before the expansion. Given a make shift squad with only 3 substitutes and some players recovering from injuries and alcohol, it looked quite promising. Add in the fact the opposition had only one substitute and it looked like a good chance for a victory. Within 5 minutes it seemed that victory was almost assured. Despite the small field, the Oranges had eons of time on the ball, and in fact were initially struggling with just how much time they had. Meanwhile the opposition panicked at the slightest pressure, although CPR didn’t fully take advantage with a high press like they probably should have.
As they settled into the game CPR started to finally grow into the space and possession, moving down the wings while also dribbling through the middle. It was some of the best football they had played all season, regardless of opponent. Although they weren’t able to convert the possession into goals they were looking increasingly dangerous. On the flipside, NY Irish showed they weren’t on the pitch just to make up the numbers and had the more clearcut chances. Indeed an xG map at the half would have shown the Irish clearly ahead in chances, while the field tilt was clearly in the Oranges favor.
The half time talk at this point in the season sounded like a broken record, but in this case it really did reflect what was going on. The Oranges sincerely felt that by remaining patient and calm in possession, taking advantage of the space and more vociferously communicating that they could take the game and finally converted their potential, a run by Cronshaw ending up with Morse happily hammering the ball into an empty net from a yard.
And then it all went pear shaped.
Lingering arguments between a couple of players on each side blew up unnecessarily into the worst elements of old man football. After a foul in the middle of the field Cronshaw’s disproportionately endless rage ended up with two bookings and a sending off, much to the glee of the opposition and leaving CPR perturbed. Instantly the game changed, with the Irish finding renewed energy while the short handed Oranges were pinned back and offensively impotent. An injured Holterhoff left Morse shorthanded centrally and the Irish smelled blood in the water. With only 10 minutes left and the Oranges still leading, they proceeded to ship 3 goals including one with the last kick of the game.
The only benefit of this game was that it was the last one of the Fall, as it will take a few months to wipe the stench away. Hopefully some quiet words during drinks in the offseason will enable everyone to return happier and more excited about getting to play football in New York City with a good group.
Competition: NY Irish SC Legends, League opposition
Location: Randall’s Island Field 82, Randall’s Island
Conditions: Surprisingly decent warm afternoon
Result: 1-3 (0-0 at H/T)
Goals: 1-0: Morse Assist Cronshaw
Yellow Cards: Koerner
Red Card: Cronshaw
”Mr. Glass” Fragility/Old Man Injury Award: Holterhoff was coming off of an injury, and due to lack of subs and more time played than expected reaggravated the injury along with a painful knee gash. Cyrus’s back acted up which pulled him on and off in the second half.
Old Man of the Match: None
Team: Grant Koerner (GK), Manohar Venkataraman (F), Claudio Schneider (MF), Willian D’Andrea, Steven Morse, Jason Cyrus, Devin Molina, Darran Cronshaw, Justin Noel, C.P., Christopher Holterhoff, Pete, Danilo Crestejo