Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Wearing the Crown

What has been denied to my Tuesday night soccer team, was achieved last night. We won the "A" Division championship game against our tough opponents, the dreaded 5 time champion, IMEG. It was the toughest game played all season for our team but we fought back from being down 3-2 with only 3 minutes left in the game. Now, read on for the play by play.

The game started out with IMEG scoring first and early. My first thought was, "oh no, here we go". Luckily our team woke up after that and we began to defend our net better. We also began to put together somewhat of an attack. About midway thru the first half, I made a run down the sideline for a thru-ball. Their keeper was quick to come off his line to collect the ball. I started to turn and head back downfield to defend, but suddenly he rolls the ball out to his defender just 5 feet from me! I quickly charged at the defender as they recieved the pass. A well timed tackle and I had stolen the ball! The keeper was still off his line so I hit a quick shot hoping to score. The ball was just wide and bounced off the wall. Lucky for me, the rebound came back out at center goal and had bounced around the scrambling keeper. I met the ball in stride and carefully shot it into the net with the outside of my right foot. Goal!! Tie game, 1-1.

A few minutes later, IMEG struck again. A defensive miscue left one of their forwards open. He met a perfectly placed pass on the back side of our net and despite several of my teams defenders collapsing in on him to stop the shot, he scores, making it 2-1. He pulled himself out of the pile of people on the ground and jogged back high-fiving his teammates. Time was running out in the first half, but we figured only being down by a goal to them at half time was great. Suddenly our goalie steve, who had just made a nice save, throws a long ball down the field to an on running Tyler. The ball took a high bounce and the IMEG keeper charges out of his goal to make the save. Tyler leaps up and flicks a header right past the on-rushing goal tender. Goal!! The buzzer sounds and its 2-2 at the half. This was great!

The second half starts and both teams come out playing fast and aggressive. I could tell IMEG really wanted to step up the pressure on us, hoping to open the flood gates with a few quick goals. But we held strong, stopping shot after shot. Our passing wasnt as pretty as theirs, yet we seemed to get the ball down to their end and get our share of chances. There had been a number of hard fouls already, everyone was tackling the ball and the other players hard. Then again, a series of quick passes and finding a defensive mismatch and IMEG had scored again. It was now 3-2, with time running out.

Now the clock seemed to be counting down faster than ever. We were down by a goal and they were begining to kill time off the clock. Finally we began to really press our attack. Partially because the dropped back into a defensive shell. Suddenly out of nowhere, one of our defenders (I cant remember his name at this moment) steals the ball about 15 yards from their goal. He quickly spins around a fires a low hard shot that beats their keeper in the low right side of the net. The score is tied 3-3!! Just 1 minutes left on the clock.

Quickly, IMEG came out of their defensive shell and went on the attack. We dropped everyone back to defend and blocked a series of shot as they went desperatly for the win. I was coving the right side of the field when their midfielder crossed the ball over to the forward on that side of the field. I ran at the striker to cover him but right as i get there, he hits a one time shot at our goal. My outstretched right foot catches part of the ball and redirects is straight up into the air. I shield off the forward then spin around a volley the falling ball out of the air and down the field, safely from our net. With seconds left, they quickly bring the ball back down the field for one last attack. Again they couldnt get thru to our goal and the final buzzer sounded, ending the game in a tie. This means it was on to a penalty shootout!

IMEG's 1st shot: Steve stops the shot!
U Wish 1st shot: I fake a hard shot, freezing the keeper then put an accurate shot to the far post for our first goal! 1-0.
IMEG's 2nd shot: Steve stops the shot!
U Wish 2nd shot: Rocky tries to put the ball thru the keepers legs, but he saves it.
IMEG's 3rd shot: Steve stops the shot easily!
U Wish 3 shot: Cody tries to go wide and then flick it over the keeper head. He easily stops it.
IMEG's 4th shot: Their top player quickly touches the ball to his left and blasts it into the net. 1-1, tie game.
U Wish 4th shot: Tyler does almost the exact same thing. Pushes the ball left and uses his natural left foot shot to power one home. 2-1! IMEG must score on their last shot or its over.
IMEG's 5 shot: Their player pushes the ball wide right and blasts a shot. Not a problem for Steve, he easily blocks it away.

ITS OVER, WE WIN!!! Champions!!

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