Polonia 3, Amherst Alias Alliance 1

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Polonia 3, Amherst Alias Alliance 1

Post  Matt Marcin...z on Tue May 09, 2017 9:40 am

I'm lazy enough to consider copy and pasting NMB's livetweets of the game and calling this recap a day, but I'll see if I can dig deep and muster some content creating effort here.  I've got nothing to do until 10 AM, so I should be able to go a bit beyond tweet curation.  Tweet collation?  Both words sound humorously anachronistic when used in conjunction with 'tweet'....

So despite the fact that I had the drunken audacity to post predictions for every BDSL division, my knowledge of the Alliance/NMB FC was pretty slim entering this game.  I've played pickup soccer with Adam Lang on maybe a dozen occasions over the years, and I watched the 2014 or 2015 Alliance play in the Tehel Cup against Queenston, but that's not a whole lot of intel from which to draw.  Preferring not to be ignorant of the ways of the enemy, I went and searched the newsstands for all BDSL First Division-related material I could find, but nothing was on offer--I assumed everything was sold out.  I then went library hopping, thinking that the Amherst Town Library located next to police HQ over off of Audubon Pkwy there might be my best bet for book-length treatments of NMB's 2017 prospects, but the kind elderly librarian told me she hadn't yet heard of a game called 'soccer'.  It turned out that the only things her grandkids kicked were video game controllers out of frustration, so I agreed she had no possible way of knowing that some children were encouraged by their adult caretakers to kick spherical (spheroidical?) polyester-coated latex rubber (thanks, google) objects in the sometimes seasonally great outdoors.  I went outside, got a soccer ball out of my car, and attempted to demonstrate the concept to her, but the Amherst Police promptly descended and arrested me for suspicion of Un-American Activity under a statute that dates back to the Cold War era.  Soccer is Communist and to this day operates in a legal grey area--you knew that, right?  50 of the views this very post will garner will be the result of FBI scrutiny of this underground operation we're all a part of.  But that's a story for another day.  Luckily the librarian bailed me out of the one cell that exists in the Amherst town jail, I got the f*ck out of Amherst, and Amherst quickly regained its status as the 4th-safest municipality in America with a population of 75,000 or greater.

So upon arrival at D'Youville's Dobson Field at 3:45 on Sunday, I was unfortunately none the wiser about NMB.  Rademaker and Schieber liked them as kinda favorites-by-default, because neither of them seemed willing to endorse anyone beyond much-hyped Grand Island.  They had a +10 GD last season despite a mediocre record at the D1 level, but I had to assume all of that could be chalked up to a 10-0 win against Nickel City (I did not research further).  Entering the premises, I returned an errant warmup shot from one of the Allies and was immediately asked if I could fetch another one.  Bad start.  Nearest guy apologized for the bother (and to be fair, the second shot was pretty close to the first--still, at this point I'm probably 6th in command in the Polonia hierarchy, and I've got a bench to get to and last-minute pregame coffee to consume).

Around 3:55 EST, est (Eastern Standard Time, estimated), an Allied diplomat was sent over to Polonia territory with his regiment's roster.  He approached our Aaron Andrews and asked about roster-exchanging protocol--home team to away, or vice versa?  He said it was his first time doing this. and I believed him--he may have been 18 going on 13.  Very, very youthful looking person.  He was as polite as he was youthful, and we sent him back on his way with a souvenir Polonia jersey straight out of Grandpa Sokolowski's suitcase.  Actually, we did not, but we'll start doing that if and when Polonia ever gets purchased by Terry Pegula.  I heard a rumor that the Bills and Sabres are turning him into an avid soccer fan.  

Game started seemingly on schedule, and Polonia's 11+3 take the field versus AA[A]/NMB's 11+I want to say 5 subs.  5 or 6.  On Twitter they claimed postgame that they were missing some important players--if so, then I think they had pretty much all of their less important players on hand.  Aidan Lang wasn't there, I can say that much.  I once kicked a  ball around with him and his brother Adam--this memory is just occurring to me.  Guess I withheld information above when discussing the extent of my AA/NMB knowledge; AA aren't quite as much the Alliance Anonymous I thought they were.

I wasn't sure what kind of squad would show for us on Sunday; we've got quite the infusion of new young blood this season, as Rademaker and I believe Schieber observed in their previews.  Most of the newer young guys have been showing up at Sahlens at least somewhat regularly over the course of the last 11v11 session, though, so I wasn't expecting total unfamiliarity.  As it turned out, there was one person among the fourteen I did not at all recognize--Derek told me after the game he'd been to Sahlens once or twice.  On those days, I must not have been there mentally.  For everyone else, I had some idea what to expect, and in every case, my expectations were high, because we've been playing well indoors and even with Aaron out due to suspension, I saw no reason why that couldn't continue.  

It continued.  As the NMB Twitter account noted, Polonia established midfield control pretty early.  There were maybe a few too many wasted longball/through ball efforts, given that success was being had working the ball along the turf, but it wasn't much of a concern--sometimes you have to make those attempts to keep from being too predictable offensively.  I also agree with NMB's Tweeter-in-residence that the early part of the game was a bit sloppy, partially because of missed Polonia passes, partially because Polonia was disrupting much of what NMB was throwing at us, and just a little bit because of the wind--if you didn't go outside Sunday, let me tell you, it was pretty windy.  And Dobson Field is an interstate (the I-190 is in actuality an 'intrastate', but whatever--technically just a bit part of the Eisenhower interstate system) away from the mighty Niagara River.  The wind was actually going mostly north to south that day, somewhat uncharacteristically, and so we were into the wind in the first half.  But I didn't even really notice, which I think might say something--well, one thing it says is that nearly every punt went to the other side of the field, so it's not like I, at right back, had the sensation of 'f*ck, this wind sure is funneling every punt straight to my corner of the 18'.  I was mostly engaged in winning or trying to win 50-50s and make accurate passes out of the back.

At one point maybe midway through the first half, Polonia's ageless wonder Chuck Donner got the ball outside the 18, aimed upper 90 as he once taught David Beckham to do, and narrowly missed the target (blame it entirely on the wind).  I am not 100% positive about what I am about to say (I could be confusing two separate plays), but I believe he was caught badly on the follow-through.  If it didn't happen on this play, then it happened on another play around this point of the game.  As reported by NMB, Chuck did in fact proceed to begin screaming at whoever was responsible, and I'll take NMB's word for it that 'whoever was responsible' was a third of Chuck's age.  That would make the Amherst defender roughly 30 years old...just kidding.  NMB's bench got a little into it at this point, and I believe this is when I took the opportunity to yell my complaint about being fouled in the box on an earlier free kick.  Spitzer didn't agree with my telling of that story (he had been marking me on the play) and he and I aired our grievances to one another.  So for the first and really only time of the game (outside of a couple later complaints about officiating from myself and others), it got a little heated for maybe 20 seconds there.  No harm done, although I'm guessing Chuck won't be invited to the Ale House anytime soon...especially given that two minutes later, he harnessed the rage to hit a textbook volley off a bouncing cross into the top corner, then celebrated loudly.  Everyone in Fort Erie knew the score.

The rest of the half featured a couple decent chances for both sides.  NMB has a few quick attackers, and these guys would occasionally beat a defender or two and create chances.  Polonia plays good team defense, though, and offhand I can't think of anything really dangerous from the first half.  There was one where I blocked a softish shot from distance...I was later told that I 'made a save' on that play because the GK was out of position, which took me kind of by surprise given that the shot didn't have much pace, but I'll believe it.

1-0 at HT.  

Second half started to open up a bit more.  Definitely more space in the midfield as Amherst chased the equalizer and Polonia counterattacked dangerously.  On Twitter NMB blamed their defensive organization, but on many counters they were facing simple numerical disadvantages as people were pushed up the field.  Sure, a few attacks were standard non-counter attacks...and I will say that the two Polonia goals that were scored in this half could've been two or three times that.  Narrow misses from George, Mo, Jake Kovalewski come to mind, and something from Camilo probably should, too.  One guy who didn't miss was newcomer David Mack--he scored both goals.  The first was much as he scored recent goals at Sahlens--from the right attacking side, buried far corner on the ground.  The other one was some sort of deflection/near own goal--it was tough to tell from fifty or sixty yards away.  

To NMB's credit, they really brought the pressure in the last 10-15 minutes; they did not quit once down by three.  I was starting to cramp up a bit right around this time and I was hoping they'd tone it down, but they did not.  Whichever younger, smaller, quick midfielder was wearing the pink headband--he either got a lot quicker in the second half of the second half or I was just getting tired.  One play, he turned me on the sideline near midfield and had I not gotten a desperation toepoke on it to knock it out of bounds, he would have been gone...at least until free safety Derek said hello.  Anyway, he stood out in the second half from center attacking mid or whatever he was actually playing.  It took NMB until the last 10-15 minutes to really get any good chances but they could've easily had multiple goals in this part of the game (they hit the 'bar on a PK and also on a laser of a shot from open play).  This is something for me personally to keep in mind for this upcoming week, in case I need running motivation, which I do...anyway, NMB's goal was a nice play--their midfielder (it may have been pink headband, may not have been) beat a couple defenders to the endline and scorched a ground-level cross to the near post/corner of the six yard box...the man I was marking near the far post got a half-step on me and beat me to it (laterally) and hammered it into the empty half of the net as my right calf finally succumbed to fatal cramping and I called it a game at the 88th minute mark (thanks for the timekeeping, NMB Twitter).  So there went the shutout, but it wasn't too surprising given the pressure of the last 10 minutes.  Either way, our backup keeper Matt played a great game.  

Good game, NMB, and good game, Polonia.

Matt Marcin...z

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

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