Polonia 4, SocietÓ Polisportiva Ars et Labor Buffalo FC 1

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Polonia 4, SocietÓ Polisportiva Ars et Labor Buffalo FC 1

Post  Matt Marcin...z on Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:43 am

The Italian SPAL[lion] was apparently promoted to Serie A for this upcoming season. That's awesome; I would have never known that had I not just googled 'SPAL calcio' to get the full name for the title of this write-up. I suppose I could've also consulted the preseason interview with Mr. Matt Greco, but then I would've been lacking the authenticity of the accent mark over the a in 'Societa'. Anyway, I miss Fox Soccer Channel...if FSC still existed, I'd definitely be watching Italian SPAL's fight for 17th place this upcoming season.

As for Buffalo SPAL, it's a far cry from the team I knew when I last played for them in 2012 or 2013 (consult my player page if specifics are needed). The only holdover from that time is the aforementioned manager; aside from him and his brother, it would be a squad completely unknown to me, if not for the minor detail that I spent an 11v11 session playing indoors with them this past autumn. So of the 13 guys who showed up to Sahlens Sunday afternoon sporting the SPAL blue, I definitely knew several. I knew that there was talent on the roster, and I knew they had only given up something like 10 or 11 goals all season, with 5 of them coming in one game versus NMB. Knowing what I knew, I was expecting a 'first team to 2 goals wins' affair.

What we got was something a bit different. Although I'd object to the SPAL Twitter account's description of Polonia's first 3 goals as fluky, I will say that I feel like the fact that all 3 of the goals were scored rather than saved/otherwise prevented was a bit of a fluke. They were all off of counters and definitely against the run of play of the first half of the first half, during which time we played poorly, SPAL dominated, eventually cashing in on a somewhat bad bounce and a bad touch in front of goal to take the then-deserved one nil lead. Perhapsgiven the heat and the lethargic Polonia start, SPAL were lulled into a false sense of security, because the three Polonia goals that followed all seemed kind of surprising. But I would not call any of them flukes, as in, the result of deflections or bad officiating or serious miscommunication. They were all a result of a Polonia speed advantage up top versus 3/4ths of the SPAL D (SPAL's left back, Doug Hannon, is probably the fastest player I've played against all year...although all three guys who were patrolling my sideline on this day (the others being Joe Lombardo and, slightly surprisingly, Brendan Sanders) had a speed advantage on me) and, in maybe two instances, sloppy keeping by SPAL's well-regarded keeper. So if you want to consider your own mistakes flukes, sure, maybe all the goals scored by Polonia in the first half were flukes, but to me it was more a.) not paying enough attention to F Jake Kovalewski, b.) getting beaten 1 v 1 by Jake, and c.) not making a couple saves that could've been made.

3-1 Polonia at half.

In the second half, the goals dried up while the bookings began to flow. I'm not sure if anyone from Polonia (and by anyone I mean George or Chuck specifically) ended up getting a yellow for dissent, but if I had to bet, I'd guess not. SPAL, on the other hand, got 6 yellows, two of them second yellows. There were numerous rather ugly tackles made, all of which had me protesting vocally, and the majority of the cards incurred by SPAL were by virtue of their protesting from their POV. I'd have to click the player profiles to confirm, but I'd guess that 4 of the 6 cards were for dissent or abusive language, leaving two as a result of these bad tackles (which there were probably 4 or 5 of in total). One of these tackles was at the expense of Nick Donner, and Nick limped off the field with an injury that luckily did not seem serious. Another earned their defender DiBenedetto (?--don't have my roster at arm's reach) a second yellow for their first sending off, maybe midway through the second half.

As for the other sending off, well, the Joe Lombardo situation was somewhat amusing. From the start of the second half, he had some kind of verbal feud with George going, apparently including physical threats. I overheard a little of it and was more entertained than anything (assuming the threats were empty). So the real accomplishment here was that Lombardo managed to get two second half cards for things said *in addition* to what he was saying to George behind the play on various occasions. On the first occasion, Lombardo was protesting a call, then claiming he wasn't, then basically calling the ref an idiot and terrible for thinking he was protesting a call when he actually wasn't. So the meta-protest earned a casual 'go take a rest' from the center ref, which I guess must've been accompanied by a yellow card. When he returned to the field a little while later, only a few minutes passed before he was once again told to leave, this time permanently and with an unseen red card apparently displayed. And with that, it was 11 v 9.

Given that the fouls and cards tend to dominate my recollection of this one, it's difficult to remember when the 4th Polonia goal occurred, but I believe Chuck played in Dave while it was still 11v11. SPAL actually did not have the feel of an unraveling team during all the cards...they were just committing hard fouls and getting frustrated with the ref calling/carding them. I'd actually say they maintained the same level of play throughout the entire second half, including the handful of minutes when they were down to 9 men. Polonia GK Matt made one memorable diving save on an effort off a through ball to Sanders, and I believe Frank Poppolo just missed catching the upper 90 on a nice bending effort near the corner of the 18. SPAL called for two handballs in the box against us during this game; I think they had a case on the second one. So they could've had a couple more goals, but so could we--Dave hit a post near the end; Jake had several prime chances, including one where he attempted to chip the SPAL GK on a breakaway, and keeper had that angle covered pretty well, got a hand to it.

Polonia goals scored by Jake, Justin Bracci, David Mack, and the other was either Jake or Justin again

After the game, I attempted to drive to D'Youville for the second half of West Side-Pendleton...being distracted by text messages about a friend having had a series of ministrokes caused me to unthinkingly drive into the Duty Free parking lot, necessitating a U-turn at the foot of the Peace Bridge and a stop at customs, which led to my being detained at the border for around an hour while the car was presumably searched for something other than empty Tim Hortons cups, Gatorade bottles, and cans of beer. Former BDSLer Luke Arcadipane eventually returned my car key and ID and was nice enough to not make me feel like I was just caught trafficking kilos of cocaine across the Canadian border, so that was appreciated. Gotta love adventures with Border Patrol resulting from completely accidental navigational error....

Good game/season to SPAL, and we get Tonawanda next. If this next game is anything like the last matchup with TU, it should be fun.

Matt Marcin...z
EPL
EPL

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

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