Match Report 3-2 Win vs. Thai Team
June 1, 2014
As Dave remarked after the game ended, a win like today's is much more satisfying that some 10-0 demolition of another team. To start, the conditions were punishing, with a hot sun, heavy humidity and high temperatures, plus a pitch that should have been trimmed about a week ago. Compass (which hadn't played in 3 weeks) turned up with exactly 11 guys. Thankfully, I spotted Elliot lifeguarding over at the swimming pool, ran over and begged him to help us out, which he did about 25 minutes into the first--right about the time that Marin looked like he was about to have a major heart attack.
The Thais were their usual fit selves and ran hard the entire game, showing the skills and speed that made them a tough challenge the last time. However, even the heat took a toll on them, although probably not to the extent that it did on us. Things were bad enough that the referee took the liberty of calling a 3-minute water break half-way through both halves.
At the 10-minute mark, one of Thais' speedy forwards got around our defensive line and scored a very nice goal--a short chip lobbed up and over Gary and into the net. The remainder of the first half and the first 25 minutes of the second half turned into a brutal back-and-forth, sapping the energy out of our team with each drive up and down the pitch. The Compass offense--Luis and Eric up front and Oto and Robert in the center midfield--had some opportunities, mostly hard shots, that didn't hit target or were stopped by the keeper.
Throughout the match, I thought our defense was solid and heroic. With Paul and Dave anchoring in the center and Chris and Eugene on the wings, they repeatedly charged to the rescue, often assisted by midfielders. And Gary made at least two brilliant saves on point-blank shots that should have probably gone in. If that wasn't enough, they were frequently involved in offensive action that bore solid results (see below).
In the last quarter of the game, just when it looked like we barely had enough steam left to mount much more offensively, things began to turn around. At the 72-minute mark, Stefano took the ball down the right wing and put a low pass into Luis, who whipped around and put our first goal in. Just nine minutes later, we were awarded a kick far out on the right side, not far from the side line. Eric put a chip across the box and onto the far post where Oto was moving in. However, Paul got there first with his head and scored another beautiful goal.
Finally, just about 3 minutes from the end, Luis went up the right wing and put a nice pass onto Eric, who was waiting in the middle of the box and scored our third goal. Even after all this, things weren't quite over, when the referee made a controversial call, ruling that a ball saved by Gary and our defenders on the ground had in fact rolled over our line. Dave, Gary and others there said that the ball had definitely not fully crossed the line. Fortunately, it wasn't a deciding goal and that match ended in a well-deserved 3-2 victory for Compass.
Despite his final call, the referee wasn't bad and the Thais were friendly, good sports during and after the game, which always makes matches with them a positive experience. This victory puts us on a good footing for next Sunday's match vs. Tubbies who, I'm sure, are itching to put Compass in its place. It's our job to ensure that that doesn't happen.
From today's experience, it's obvious that 11 players will not do so, if you've not replied yet, please let me know if you're in or not.
Once again, today was one of our better victories in recent months and I'm proud of the way everyone fought through to the end for this victory. Great job, men!