BC 1, prfc 0

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BC 1, prfc 0

Post  Matt Marcin...z on Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:10 pm

The z has been dropped from the last recap, as Polonia too has been dropped, both by Buffalo Celtic and thus from the Championship.  My postgame quote of choice for all the many EPL-ignorant media members who were dispatched to Ellicott Creek Park to cover this game was thus 'We've just been eliminated from the Championship--get that microphone and camera away from me.'  i then directed them all to speak to Chris Sokolowski's father, just to see if any of them happened to be fluent in Polish.  Alas, Mike Mroziak was nowhere to be seen.

Enough with the fanciful tales.  Anyone catch the heat stroke warning posted on this site over the weekend?  Anyone ever grow a relatively thick beard and long hair?  Anyone else experience a brutal hangover this past Sunday?  Given that I could answer the preceding three questions in the affirmative, I felt like it was going to be a long 90 minutes for our season finale.  The returns from pregame warmups told me my passing was sure to be less than 100% in this contest, unless my body decided to suddenly stumble on some miracle of biology in a flash of involuntary insight.  I was really counting on some internal organ or another to spontaneously stumbled on both an instant hangover cure combined with a more efficient hydration/cooling mechanism.  It was not to be, however, as each and every cell, tissue, and organ remained disturbingly conventional in dealing with the circumstances presented.  (Not once did it cross my mind to regret drinking or my facial hair, so I passed this crucial test of commitment to both endeavors)

Thanks to our local drought, which had me half-expecting wildfires at the park on Sunday, the field (ECP field is not deserving of being called a 'pitch'--I'll save that nomenclature for better ones) was bouncy in an unpredictable way.  As the game was beginning, GK Nick Nenno and I commented that that would likely be a factor at some point...but, offhand, I can't think of a single instance where it was.   Color me surprised (you might choose the color red, as I left this game bearing that hue thanks to a potent mix of sunburn and exertion).  People were just a bit more cautious with their first touch, and Nick looked the ball into his hands on a couple otherwise routine one-hoppers from outside the box.

I didn't know what to expect from BC.  Season stats told me not expect much from their attack, but their attack was pretty good in possession.  M Armond June is their standout player in my opinion, and after a first half which saw him make a couple dangerous runs on the ball, I made sure at halftime to point out that he was the man to watch--not that other teammates hadn't noticed.  BC passed the ball well, working through June to their outside midfielders and their 'holding attacker' (their starting forward had limited pace but was big and made accurate/smart passes).  They did seem to perhaps lack ideas for a final ball...but they generated several  dangerous chances in the first half.  

The play which produced their goal, though, was not one of these 'dangerous' chances.  Well, in a sense it was, but only accidentally so.  It was a misstruck cross from the right attacking side that, midflight, looked to be heading not just on goal but crossbar-bound.  Nick backpedaled, leapt off his heels, got a hand up...and the ball managed to dip just in time, under the bar and towards the back post, as I watched helplessly with a great view of the trajectory from 10 yards off said post.  1-0 BC, early (perhaps ten minutes in).

This deficit hardly felt insurmountable.  EC is a field best suited for youth soccer, which of course on one hand does mean a compact midfield and not a whole lot of empty space to utilize, but it also means that route 1 soccer can be easily rewarded.  Unfortunately for us, though, we're not that much of a route 1 team (although with the recent formation change to 4-3-3 and the late-season play of F Justin Bracci, we were closer to being such a team than we'd ever been).  And our opponents were, after all, winless entering the game.   But for the rest of the half, we didn't generate anything all that dangerous.  Ball was being possessed and distributed well enough, but we were typically losing it on the fringe of the attacking third.  I remember playing one chip over the top to defender-turned-midfielder Cesar del Valle, but not much came of that opportunity.  M Todd Piotrowski unleashed a couple dangerous flip-throws, causing the GK to call for a one-man 'throw-in wall' to be instituted on future occasions.  I envisioned that strategy working, resulting in block after block until the remainder of the game devolved into 60 minutes of blocked throw-ins.

So halftime shows up, almost immediately after I made a full-field sprint in retreat from having been attacking on a corner kick or something, and as I take cover under shade and attempt to break volume-of-perspiration Guinness Book records, I realize I have to do 45 more minutes of this (we had I believe two subs, but I wasn't planning on utilizing one unless injured).  I see former/would-be-current Polonia legend Colin Allen getting in his car and apparently giving up on the game (I say 'would-be-current' because he said before the game that he'd wanted to play this year but was left off the roster...looks like he'll resume his BDSL career in 2017).  

I run onto the field before anyone else for the second half kickoff, because the more I stayed under that tree, the more I'd want to spend the second half napping under it.  I must say, that for a 'must-win' game, I didn't sense that sort of urgency among us as the second half began.  We weren't playing too lethargically or anything, but...I didn't have a great vibe about the comeback effort as play restarted,  

And it wasn't long before our effort to resist relegation took a significant blow.  5-10 minutes in, D Aaron Andrews and a BC OM were contesting for a ball near the corner flag.  Aaron earned possession, and as he went to find a target upfield, he was taken down by the BC player, taken down in such a way where the guy kind of leaned in with his shoulder, but the shoulder also included the arm, then suddenly he had enough body weight heading in that direction where he kind of fell into him.  Apparently in the process he also cleated Aaron's leg, something I didn't know until after the game.  So, certainly a foul, but probably not as bad as I'm making it sound, because it seemed of the incidental variety.  Aaron yelled out 'C'mon dude!' followed by a couple other complaints.  Now, Aaron's always a bit dangerous in these situations, as he's prone to retaliation.  But usually the retaliation, should it occur, occurs immediately after the act against which he retaliates.  So...this case was outside the norm.  For there was a lull here, and then just after the free kick was taken, Aaron blatantly took a shot at the guy as he ran by, knocking him to the ground and leaving him complaining about his knee.  After a ref-AR conference, a red card was produced, leaving us an undermanned underdog to make the comeback in the heat and humidity.

And there was one last setback to deal with, as maybe ten minutes after that, Aaron's brother Derek came up hobbling after two consecutive challenges on BC's backup forward where both made contact with the ball at about the same time, and some bodily contact was made in the process.  I thought the second collision had perhaps injured BC's forward, as he seemed to initially take the worse of it with the way he fell, but it was Derek who returned to his feet with pain and effort.  He declined a substitution, but he admitted he was only 75%,.

Despite this, we defended well, in a bend-but-don't-break fashion as the midfield gaps got increasingly wide and BC had some odd-man opportunities as we focused on attacking.  With maybe 10 minutes left, F Dan Helman was brought down in the BC box (some of the ball was won, but it certainly looked like a foul), but pleas for a penalty fell on deaf ears.  I'd already come close to a dissent yellow in the first half, and since I really wasn't expecting the ref to locate his whistle on this play, even if he should've, I said nothing.  We had a few corners and flip-throws towards the end where he threatened for a tying goal, but a.) we didn't have anything truly dangerous and b.) we needed to win rather than tie anyway.

Good game to BC--glad they could get a win in this of all years.  Fun way to end the season, even if it was quite disappointing to be demoted.  Let the rebuilding begin.

Matt Marcin...z

Number of posts : 299
Team : Polonia
Full Name : Matt Marcinkiewicz
Registration date : 2013-06-28

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