Polonia 1, Niagara 0

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Polonia 1, Niagara 0

Post  Matt Marcin...z on Mon May 14, 2018 12:36 pm

Somehow I don't think this is the last binary code scoreline you're going to see from Polonia this year (1-0 or 0-0).  Clearly it was the first, given the unfortunate events that transpired last week.  Thursday night, after our last indoor game of the winter/spring, a few core Polonians (the Andrews brothers, Chuck and elder son Nick, and myself) stayed back to talk things over for this then-upcoming game.  There were a few personnel uncertainties, including Aaron Andrews himself, who missed the BSC Inter game due to a groin injury suffered a couple weeks back in indoor, and as the lights literally turned out at Sahlens, I left the building thinking that we'd be looking at 2 or at most 3 subs for this game.  As it turned out, we had more like 1.25, as Aaron was present and did in fact start the game, but the injury was still an issue and I believe he was limited to two 10-minute shifts in the first half.  We did however have Chase Sorrentino, Dan Helman, and Aaron Calabrese on hand for this game, and they would all play key roles.  So it may have only been 12, but it was a strong 12 as opposed to the noticeably less-conditioned 11 we fielded last week.

Niagara had I believe 4 subs to start, then at some point near halftime a dude in a lighter blue shirt arrived as a fifth.  We'll call the color of his jersey cerulean as compared to the BDSL Forum trim-like royal blue of their standard uniforms.  If you don't know what cerulean looks like, go fetch a 64-pack of Crayola crayons from your youth (or maybe your older sibling's youth, in the cases of many people now in this league) and you'll find your answer.   I had my bedroom painted a cerulean-like hue as a kid so I retain this information as much out of personal preference as anything.  Good color choice, late arrival.  I may have forgotten to notice until after the game, when I mentioned it to Derek and Aaron Andrews, but Kyle Jones was not in the ranks, so that was a huge benefit to us (assuming 2017 form from him).  

The game started off much differently for us than our prior game did--we were actually stringing positive passes together, moving the ball upfield, generating pressure if not legit chances from the start.  More energy + a bit more time on the ball + more opportunities to win 50/50s or to intercept passes in the midfield/back made this a standard-looking Polonia game from the start, and that was a comforting sight after last week.  Whenever I see us playing 'our' game, I 'know' (or I think I do) that it'll be a close, winnable game throughout.  I never really had the sense that was the case last week, but right from the start of this one, I had that sense.  Chuck said something similar after the game, that he could tell a few minutes in we were in much better shape this week.  

...And Chuck didn't take too long making sure we were in better shape on the scoreboard, as he was the 'unguarded Polonia player' referred to by Ryan O'Keefe in his description of the lone Polonia goal.  Someone delivered a low cross from the left flank, and the ball looked destined for either F Jake Kowalewski or the Niagara defender marking him near the penalty spot, but those guys, in their battle for the ball, may have gotten a bit tangled, and the ball continued free on its path to Chuck, who had a lot of net to aim for (I think Kraska was out of position due to anticipating the ball being caught up in the vicinity of Jake), and he buried it lower right corner.  1-0.  

At this point (a little short of midway through the first half), I thought we might be primed to score some more goals in this game, but...as things played out, from that point on, Niagara had the better of the chances overall.  And they didn't really have many quality chances themselves, but neither did we--lots of midfield possession and defensive breakups in this one overall.  Throughout the game, Niagara's biggest weapon was the corner kick.  I believe I recall reading that they scored one of their goals versus Bantu off of a corner, and in this one, they could've had a couple--we saved two off the line, one more dramatic than the other.  First case, a shot with some pace was taken from around the top of the 18 to the low far corner, and George Wallenfels was luckily still stationed there and able to clear it away.  The second one, however, was highlight reel stuff from Derek Andrews--after an elongated scrum in the box, including an attempted clearance from Polonia M Matt Crawley that unfortunately deflected off of me and back to the general area from where (from whence?  Yeah, let's do 'from whence') it came, a Niagara attacker eventually managed a half-volley that looked destined for the roof of the net...until Derek showed off his vertical and headed it off the line in what could only be described as sick fashion.  

With several minutes left, Niagara defender Sam Colao and Polonia F/M/D Nick Donner got into a war of words and shoving match near the sideline, with Nick later saying he 'received 3 death threats' during this little interlude.  The last time we faced Sam Colao, he was defending for SPAL in a game where they got 2 red cards, and I thought for a second that we might see that team total matched in this one, given that the shoves were the kind of shoves that could easily evolve into punches (perhaps akin to what happened at the end of Beast-Wolfpack--maybe no punches were actually thrown there, but it doesn't take much to blur the line).  I just didn't want to see Nick or anyone else baited into getting a needless red when we had a one-man advantage and a one-goal lead at that late stage.  Niagara forward Frankie Valenti and I were joking about the situation from 40 yards away, but had I personally overheard a few things that were apparently said, I may not have been joking any longer.

Niagara finished the game as most teams down by one tend to, with much of the ball and pushing for an equalizer, but outside the opportunities already mentioned, they didn't muster too many opportunities, although they did have one shot from dangerously close in, but from a sharp angle, where the striker skied the ball far high and wide.  Wouldn't want to concede too many shots from that position, though.

Overall, enjoyable, hard-fought game, and good game and good luck to Niagara the rest of the way.

Matt Marcin...z
EPL
EPL

Number of posts : 295
Team : Polonia
Full Name : Matt Marcinkiewicz
Registration date : 2013-06-28

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