Niagara FC 4, Polonia CF 2

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Niagara FC 4, Polonia CF 2

Post  Matt Marcin...z on Sun May 08, 2016 10:53 pm

(Yeah, as the 'CF' indicates, we signed a partnership deal with Real Madrid earlier this week...last time you'll ever see a result like this out of us.  I'm brushing up on my high school Spanish IV as we proverbially speak.)

Didn't want to do a write-up for our win but am quite eager to do one for our letdown loss the week after--psychoanalyze that one

So it was Mother's Day, and at around 5:50 or so Mother Nature reminded us that, all things considered, she's not a very lovable mother, as the rain suddenly picked up to accompany a surprisingly gusty wind.  For a few minutes in warm-ups, I was beginning to have flashbacks to week 3 or 4 from last season (I'll consult my league history on another occasion), when we travelled up to NU to play Meerkats on a 45 degree day with a wind chill of negative two.  Incentive to stay moving that it was, me and Remy's nephew Alex (who was making his BDSL debut, I'm 99% sure) put in some decent work before the game.  Personally, it was probably my most rigorous warm-up in 14 years.  Not even exaggerating.  My work ethic has in most cases been second to anyone's.

That personal effort paid off to the tune of a Niagara 3-0 lead within 25 minutes or so (see, I knew it wasn't worth it).  I recognized several Niagara guys from our defeat by the same score versus them last year, but they obviously had/have some new blood, so I won't be good with providing any names from their side in my attempts at a narrative.  'Neal4' can step in and give the details if he likes (pretty sure Mr Adam Winkworth greeted me by name after the game--message board solidarity and all that).  Anyway, for all 4 of the NFC goals (and both of ours), it's easiest to point to the mistakes which were made defensively to give the interested reader an idea of how things went down.  (And they definitely went 'down' for us, eh).   First goal was characteristic of the sort of attack Niagara launched several times early today--their center mid would make me (at right back) respect the threat of the sprinting left midfielder, drawing me out towards the sideline, then play a ball upfield to the striker in the seam between myself and week one BDSL Rumors player of the week Derek Andrews.  In this case, the striker got his first touch in maybe 30 yards from goal, cut to the middle (managing to evade Derek in the process, no easy feat), and then from 25 or so, chipped Brian, who was perhaps a step too far off the line (far be it for me to criticize Brian, but he a decent ways off the line when the shot was taken).  It was a legit finesse chip, and at first I thought a retreating Brian had it covered (or that it would go over the bar otherwise), but it dipped in beneath the crossbar and left me in a state of surprise if not shock.  Good stuff by whoever it was responsible.  1-0.

In many ways this game played out like I thought last week's was going to.  Niagara had more speed; we had more CM control and overall possession.  So in between the goals we'd manage some typical Polonia buildups that would usually end up dying out with a final ball that didn't connect (they have a solid defense and we're still working a couple guys in up top).  Alex Visbisky of Rangers (Niagara's week 1 opponent) gave me a heads up that they had speed on the flanks, and indeed they did, but they also had decent speed most spots on the field.  This probably isn't even what they expect will be their top lineup by the end of the season (they had 12 guys today to our 15 or so), so that makes their effort all the better.

At some point in the early going, they struck again, with the crucial winning of a 50-50ish ball maybe 35 yards out, center of the pitch, which left them attacking at pace and us exposed defensively (our defender who lost the 50-50 was at that point completely out of the play).  I think this guy managed to beat Derek (I could be wrong on that but it was right in the center of the field, so I don't see why Derek wouldn't have challenged at some point), before he then dribbled around an oncoming Brian and finished into the open net.  2-0 National Football Conference

While it was 2-0, we had one good chance that I recall, because I guess I could've been credited with an ugly assist if a goal had been scored--off a free kick from a ways out, George (who had a great game controlling the midfield as usual) lofted a ball back post...I was getting ready to launch the 6 inches off the ground of which I'm capable, but the wind (which was a factor all first half; not so much the second) killed the velocity and let it eventually I adjusted enough to the flight to get my right thigh on it.  Chuck picked up that will-you-let-me-call-it-a-pass, dribbled laterally to free himself up, and got a good look, but struck it right at the keeper.  Good, because I didn't deserve an assist on that ugliness.

So my memory of the goal which made it 3-0 is not 100% (eyewitnesses aren't always as reliable as they're given credit for in the courtroom...look up the psych research on that topic), but I think Aaron initially had the ball taken from him on a foul that wasn't called (if I got this right from the postgame chatter), then I definitely remember the next part: there was a cross, once again into the wind and therefore lofted, which I heard Brian call, but it seemed to me like it was drifting too far away from net. So I stood my ground and attempted to head it, the ultimate function of which was merely to prevent Brian from getting much of a punch on the ball.  So the ball fell to some unmarked player near the top of the box, and either he or the teammate closest to him ended up burying it short side to make it 3-0.  F*ck.  Hate feeling like you've lost that soon into the game, but...that was my initial reaction to the scoring of that goal.

But we did well to not give up.  Our play pretty much stayed the same for the rest of the half, and we ended up getting a goal off a shot that no one expected to go in (most players had already looked away, assuming a save), but chalk it up probably entirely to the slick conditions, because this routine one-hopper from 25 yards out went right under the hands of the Niagara keeper and into the net.  Not the prettiest goal Justin LeVasseur will ever score, but he and the rest of Polonia will take it.  Probably the least celebrated goal we've had that I can remember, because of the scoreline and the flukiness of it.

Before half ended, left midfield made me work a few times--#10, I believe?  Blonde hair, quick--good player.  Just wanted to give a shout-out at this spot of the recap before I end up neglecting to mention him--they're kind of a team full of solid players, but this kid seems like he has the talent to be a potential difference-maker

As the second half started, I was hoping that they'd begin to tire with their lack of subs, but to their credit, they didn't show many signs of fatigue all through the second half.  They may have sat back a little bit more overall, but they were still plenty fast on the counter and their defense held up well on increased forays forward from Polonia's outside midfielders, Mohammad Ahmed and Adam Funke, both of whom had really solid games (it's been a noticeably good start to the session for Mo, in my opinion).  As stated, Niagara looked dangerous on the counter, as the gaps between our midfield and defense were sometimes widening, and eventually they got a 4th, with a cross somehow managing to sneak through the long legs of Aaron Andrews (before it got through, he looked pretty unmeggable to me--looked like if anything it might hit him in the groin), and they capitalized.  As the game wore on, even with a 3-goal deficit, I was happy with the way we continued pressing and attacking as if the score might've been 2-1 rather than 4-1.  I personally was starting to tire and cramp up in the last 10 minutes or so, which allowed for my getting beat a couple times in 1 v 1 situations that could've ended worse than they did.  (We lost Cesar del Valle to injury very early on, thus eliminating a key member of the defensive rotation and raising the minutes needed out of me from ~60 to 85).  Eventually Polonia got a, well, garbage time goal off of a corner kick--kinda reminiscent of the goal we scored to equalize vs Hamburg in week one last year, with a youth soccer-like scrum in front of net.  First Aaron got a shot off that I thought was going in but was blocked, then their attempted clearance was blocked by an unknown Polonian, then Derek got a shot of his own off that was trickling into the corner...till a Niagara defender cleared it while maybe 10% of the spheroid (learned that word from this here forum) was still hanging over the line...but he couldn't get around it and ended up helping it into said corner.  Own goal or goal for Derek?  I vote...own goal!  Joking.  Give it to Derek, powers that be.

We had 2 minutes left to throw bodies forward, and we did have a header go over the bar from close range and probably another chance in that short time, but Niagara managed to hold on for a deserved victory.  Good game to them and good luck going forward, NFC

Matt Marcin...z

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Full Name : Matt Marcinkiewicz
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Re: Niagara FC 4, Polonia CF 2

Post  Neal4 on Mon May 09, 2016 4:00 pm

Well said Matt, don't have much to add.

It was another rough turn out for us as 5 of our guys are still away at school, 2 were in 'Cuse for State Cup playdown games, and 1 was stuck studying for finals. So we had 2 subs for the first half and then Max Montante had to leave at half to make a later Mother's Day dinner, leaving us with just one sub.

As Matt said we jumped out to quick lead and really dominated the scoring chances. Montante thrived on the wing once again (This is who you were talking about I believe Matt, #15), while Garrett Robinson was spectacular in his debut and scored the great chip Matt was talking about. Getting outside backs Ryan O'Keefe & Bobby Stevens back from school was a big part of our success as well. Their first goal was an unfortunate error but besides that, Lucas Robinson did another solid job filling in for ModicaAmore in net & Liam McIntosh was his usual quality self filling in at CB. Mike Thompson scored the second goal after beating their CB 1v1 and then dribbling around their GK, new signing Nick Colao got his first BDSL goal off the ball that fell at the top of the box which he slotted home expertly, and I scored the final goal which was off their CB's misplay of the ball on a cross that rolled into the box that I was able to collect and put in between the GK's legs as he was diving.

All in all a very solid showing for us and a great result after losing a 2-0 lead in the final '15 last week. We were very good and threatened a lot moving forward and our back 4 was able to stop most of their attacks before the amounted to much. Best of luck to Polonia moving forward.

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