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Post  Matt Marcin...z on Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:14 pm

How many people reading this are aware that there is a neighborhood called 'Polonia' on the East Side, in the vicinity of the Broadway Market? I'd venture to guess a minority of the readership. Soccer in America is a suburban-dominated game, after all. So, yeah, that's the reference I was making in the title.

Driving to D'Youville for a 4 PM start yesterday, I was hoping that conditions there would be at least slightly less oppressive than they were in the inner-ring eastern suburb from which I was driving. Get a little breeze off the lake, drop the heat index a bit...unfortunately, it was not to be. In reality, the turf served to compound the heat...I'd have been curious to see a 'conditions on field' graphic like the ones that are used during NFL telecasts. We made the no-brainer decision to agree to water breaks, but as those waster breaks ended up lasting around 15 seconds apiece, I'm not sure how much difference they really made.

For the past couple weeks, Polonia has had astoundingly high turnouts by our standards--so much for the joke made by BDSL Rumors during the Poland-Colombia WC game last Sunday, as we have had 15 players show up for two consecutive weeks now. Clearly, we're due for an overcorrection and an undermanned squad against Lykan next week, but for now...manpower has been on hand. West Side showed up with a few long-familiar faces and many others with whom I have some familiarity--it's generally a veteran team that they field over there. We were missing reigning Championship division player of the week in Jake Kowalewski while West Side lacked their starting 'keeper--call it a wash? Not sure if we should, as Mr. Alan Rosenhoch ended up having a pretty decent game in net for West Side, as the scoreline alone should indicate.

That said...we really didn't have all that many chances. West Side had a good one within the very first minute or two of the game, with Brian Cleary streaking down the right sidelineand creating enough space near the corner flag to unleash a dangerous cross. Our GK Matt Gabalski dove for it, but the ball dipped and bent just beneath his reach, leaving me to take an awkward stab at it with the outside of my right foot. I didn't get much on the 'clearance', directing the ball out only about as far as the penalty spot, and newly reacquired forward Kovan Menr snapped a solid header from that distance, which Matt was able to get a hand on and direct over goal. Not exactly the start we were looking for.

I'd have to say that West Side overall had the better of the play in the first half, with Brian Cleary and Dan Tarbell possessing ball pretty well and creating some chances for their side. I don't recall anything particularly dangerous aside from that very first effort, although there was one play where Kovan tracked down a bouncing ball just inside the box and then kicked it over two pursuing defenders, setting himself up for what would have been a very dangerous half-volley attempt had Polonia defender Derek Andrews not slid in and blocked it with minimal time to spare.

I'm not sure if we had any chances worth noting in the first half; to me, the most noteworthy part of the half was that a West Side player argued with me over a questionable foul call on Polonia midfielder Justin Bracci, which means that my record of in-game arguments with opposing players this season is starting to become alarmingly lengthy. Not a big fan arguing with people, but with BDSL officiating in the general condition it's in, arguments are likely to ensue.

As halftime arrived, I paced in the sliver of shade along the fence at D'Youville and plotted how much more of the game I'd want/be likely to play; I've had issues with both hamstrings for the past four weeks. We had enough numbers yesterday to not require a play-at-all-costs personal philosophy, so I decided I'd likely give it a short shift to start the second and then call it a day...which is what ended up happening.

The second half was less eventful than the first, with the heat wearing on players and slowing down the pace of the game. Polonia got on the scoreboard perhaps midway through the half on a play that one would not have expected to produce a goal...an aimless ball was played towards the sideline, and the West Side right midfielder looked to have it well-shielded for an upcoming throw-in...but the ageless George Wallenfels was having none of it, as he burst along the sideline and headed the ball to keep it in play (in the estimation of the AR, anyway...it was a really close call), then turning the corner on that same opponent (who'd pretty much given up on the play, thinking he'd already earned the throw) before unleashing a trademark George chip-from-outside-the 18 which managed to evade the leap of West Side's somewhat height-challenged backup keeper. 1-0 Polonia as George celebrated with enough enthusiasm to make one temporarily forget that there was a grand total of five fans at this game and an overall feeling of, uh, stagnancy.

So given the conditions and the general slowing of the tempo in the second half, I thought we'd probably hold on to preserve the 1-0...I was more confident with this one-goal lead than I was with the one we had the previous week against Roos, one which we ended up losing in the last minute of the game. Sadly, and improbably, the pattern repeated itself yesterday. West Side first had two consecutive shots from point blank range which Matt was somehow able to turn away, leading to a corner. When the corner was mid-air, I could see we might be in trouble, as the ball was heading back-post, and our numbers seemed to be stronger on the near post. All season, our greatest weakness has been defending corners, and this instance proved no exception, as...well, I couldn't tell the exact sequence of events, but it appeared that the initial header was deflected /ping-ponged over to West Side defender Matt Romano, who was able to slam it home into a large portion of available netting. That's how i think it happened, anyway, heh. The whistle blew maybe 10 seconds after the restart as Polonia manager Chris Sokolowski lamented the three minutes of stoppage time that the ref had opted to grant. Can't really say that Polonia would've 'deserved' a win yesterday, though, so...probably a fair result that to no one went the spoils.

GG to WS and GL ROS...trying to abide by a self-imposed 10,000-character limit here. As West Sider/ex-SPAL teammate Marty Cleary said after the game, 'Mr. Matt, it's always fun.' Indeed it is, sir, indeed it is. Even when the heat index is equal to the boiling point of water.

Matt Marcin...z

Number of posts : 309
Team : Polonia
Full Name : Matt Marcinkiewicz
Registration date : 2013-06-28

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