Sunday, June 14, 2015

Win or get relegated

We were in a relegation battle.   We played the top team in our division and needed the 3 points to avoid getting sent down.   We established a game plan and we stuck with it.   It was beautiful execution and teamwork. Could not have been prouder of the guys.

Here is Eduardo's recap:

I must admit that I was a bit concerned with all of the NO responses I received this week, and even more so when I arrived at Wheelock this morning around 8:15 to find that I was the third person there.  Folks started to trickle in and we had 12 as the whistle blew.

My concerns weren't easing up as we lined up a formidable back line of Moylan, Ovalle, Concagh and Laughing.  Yeah, that's not a typo.  I was nervously laughing on the inside at the fact that Pat was hungover and this back four was in it for 90 minutes in front of him.  We decided to go with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Alex and Ingram playing defensive center-mids, Drew and Ballerina Ed flanking Durocher and Stevie up top taking space.

We started off pretty well until their first real shot came in hot, Maguire coughed up throwing up in his mouth and I got caught ball watching while one of their guys chased it in and put it away on the rebound.  We were down 1-0 and nobody made a sound.  Franco arrived late, and we had two subs to their 7.  But, to our credit, we kept fighting.  Somehow, not sure how, we found ourselves in a bit of a breakaway (could be because they played most of the game with 9 guys on our side of the field) and Alex (I believe) hit it with his purse and the ball barely made it over the line for the tie.  That tying goal breathed some air into all of our lungs, until Ronnie went down with what seemed to be a clear ligament tear about 15 minutes from half.  He stayed and watched, to his credit and you might have seen the update email that he just sent.

Anyways, just before the halftime whistle, Ed juked and deked his way clear of his defender and ran wild down the left side.  Franco was wide open on the far post and Ed actually hit it that way.  The ball was cleared near the 18 by the near post, way up in the air.  Their keeper was caught in no-man's land and all of a sudden we had the lead 2-1 as the half ended.

Second half was fantastic.  Like that one golf shot you hit that always keeps you coming back, this game was something that should keep us all coming back for more.  They ran at us hard, with a lot of movement and we bent but did not break.  Our midfielders worked their ass off and our back line did all they had to do to keep turning them away.  Even though Franco was on the field during the first half, he didn't really start playing until the second half.  He chased a ball in that was passed back to the keeper, got himself in front of it to block it, friendly bounce was reachable and then he calmly took his time from the left, and put it over the keeper and into the side netting on the far post for a 3-1 lead.  Halleluja.  Can I get an AMEN-uh!

They got one back with about 5 minutes to go, but we kept up the fight and earned ourselves one hell of a win.  As a prize, we get to stay in Division 3.  Mendon, by the way, won their game against Los Inkas, so, unless we tied or won today, we were in serious danger of relegation.

Proud of all the guys who worked their ass off today. Stevie was awesome up top (that's the first and last compliment I will ever pay you)  Doo-rag was all over the field.  Ed looked and felt awful, you could tell because he didn't dance at all today, but he gave all that he had.  Game ball to Ingram, Alex and Durocher who might have each sat for 5-10 minutes the entire game and likely ran double that of anyone else.  And kudos to Doug and Mike for a full 90 minute effort under constant siege.  Danny, stellar as always, especially as a field marshall and Pat, steady as a rock.

We were very disciplined and the communication in the back was outstanding.  We kept close to them and didn't give them anything easy.  And, we put away the goal opportunities we had, which weren't many, but they were enough.

Honorable mention to Texas Bob for showing up to watch and cheer us on.

Look for an email for an end of year bash at Bora's pool.  Rest up, get healthy, get in shape.  Let's do it all again in the fall.

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