OP Dalliance 3, Pollinators 1

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OP Dalliance 3, Pollinators 1

Post  Matt Marcin...z on Mon Jun 20, 2016 1:08 pm

Just wanted to put a little Father's Day twist on the thread title.  First one might require a quick consultation of dictionary.com to appreciate

I show up about twenty minutes ahead of gametime at the Compost Heap/'Boneyard'/whatever Quake calls it (The Rock?) to see/hear numerous Allied forces kicking the ball around and enjoying themselves on the near side of the field.  You wouldn't have known they were entering this contest without a win, either from this scene or from how they ended up performing (which to my eye was quite comparable to how they played us during the 1st division playoff game last year, when they beat us 3-2).  When I get to our side of the field, which from afar appeared entirely deserted, I see two players cowering in whatever shade that can be provided by the saplings (probably not technically saplings, but) that were presumably planted around when this complex opened not all that long ago, silently putting pads on. This was an ominous way to arrive. By gametime, many OP townies (by that I mean parents) had turned out, much as they did in Youngstown on Thursday, and Polonia's sidelines were stark by comparison. We started with 12 and got a 13th not too long after kickoff (a gain soon negated by an injury to Aaron Andrews). OP had probably a 16-man alliance to draw from, if not 17....

Polonia Nation (a sparsely populated nation, at that) got on the board first in the most surprising of ways--by virtue of a goal from UTIL Miroslaw Chalupka.  A nice passing sequence involving several players led to a square ball (albeit a bouncing one) from M Adam Funke to Miro, who smashed the volley into the netting from close range.  1-0 Polonia, just over five minutes in if I had to guess.  Now, a barehanded (if the goalie gloves don't fit, you mustn't submit...weak OJ 30 for 30 attempted reference on my part) Derek was manning the six-yard box until the first half water/unintended goalkeeper switch break. Always gave credit to the Moises Alous and the Wayne Chrebets of the sports world who went without gloves when most of their peers did not. Of course, Alou compensated for his lack of batting gloves by pissing on his hands (google it), so that ruined that particular case for me.  For GKs, can't think of a single example from the professional ranks offhand (NPI). Derek's 2 GA in 20 minutes might not end up convincing any undecideds to go the gloveless route.  Not that he can really be blamed for either goal (and not that I'd blame our maybe-fifth-string GK for anything anyway)--the first one was a knuckler from near the corner of the box on OP's attacking right side; it was smashed to the far corner with pace.  Pretty sure that Brian or Nick (Polonia GKs 1 and 2) weren't saving that one, either.  Good strike.  After that goal, some sloppy play from us led to a few good chances for OP (one of which I blocked near the line--still not sure if that one was heading wide/was otherwise going to be covered by Derek--didn't have a whole lot of pace behind it).  They were certainly threatening for a quick follow-up goal, and they soon got it--if I have this right, a deflected cross/bad bounce led to a pass to an unmarked OP attacker near the penalty spot, who buried it along the ground.  It was a good strike, with pace, but not all that far from Derek--in trying to determine whether that one was hypothetically saveable by one of our top keepers, I'm overlooking the larger point, which is that if Derek is playing CB, that opportunity might've never occurred.

So at the water break I searched in vain for tape for my sagging socks (they do this every game, but only this ref was interested in enforcing that I pull them up over my shin guards...Dave said we should start a sock fund for me, lol).  I think there was some on the OP sideline but I'm no ally so I did not ask.  I spent the rest of the game devoting too much thought to the state of my socks.  This scintillating sidebar is perhaps worth this much text, because the game provided no more goals until the 87th minute or so.  At water break we were able to get Derek back to CB, and with him, Dave, myself, and (unfortunately only for a short time) Aaron, we were back to being at full strength in the back.  The second half of the first half was marked by George dropping really deep and thus allowing us to dominate possession along our (in effect) five-man backline.  We created a few chances in this period, but ultimately nothing especially dangerous.

In the second half, post-injury to Aaron, I believe we ended up playing with a 3-man backline, unbeknownst to me.  We've been juggling formations these past few games, and the 4-3-3 that worked well against Rangers hasn't been quite as easy to pull off with George back in the fold, as he works best in the CM with another CM alongside him.  So I think in the 2nd half we played a 3-4-3, but I could be wrong.  In any event, I had enough pressure on my side the entire half not to have any idle time to think about formations.  2nd half for me was kinda reminiscent of the Niagara game, where a CM (or even defender) would be dribbling at me with some pace, trying to force me to commit so he could either then lay it off to a usually open outside midfielder or play a through ball to a forward (usually #5 McMaster but sometimes #10, both of whom are pretty fast).  So I was doing my fair share of contain D...and when they managed their way into the box, as happened on a few occasions, my man Derek usually (I say usually because there was just one exception, a time when he tripped) came through with the crucial final crunching tackle.  On the offensive end, we just weren't attacking with enough numbers to get much going (which shouldn't have been the case if we were in fact playing a 3-4-3).  So really, OP deserved to preserve their lead, and probably deserved the late-game insurance goal they got...although once again, this was one that might not have happened with one of our top two keepers there (defender Chris Knauser manned the pipes from the 20th minute on).  On their third goal, the cross was driven near post, and McMaster elevated well for a guy who may only be 5'6" or something, beating Chris to the ball and heading it in far post for the clincher.  McMaster was quick enough on that play where maybe he's scoring that versus any Polonia keeper--I don't really want to detract from their goals by saying that they were merely managed against field players.  That said, it's truth.  That also said, I can't believe these guys only had 3 goals on the season entering this game, as they seem roughly at the same level they were at last year, and although it's a step up from 1st div to Championship (and they've had a tough schedule so far)...let's just say I would've taken over 3 on OP's team goals for the first 6 games.

GG and GL to the (d)Alliance.

Matt Marcin...z
EPL
EPL

Number of posts : 286
Team : Polonia
Full Name : Matt Marcinkiewicz
Registration date : 2013-06-28

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