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May. 17th, 2011

Div 5 round-up

I don't think this team has ever had a winning season, even before I joined. We've at least secured a .500 record no matter what happens from here on out. Let's get to the recaps.





Apr 26: Fairfax United 1, Roadkill 0

A game where we beat the undefeated first place team. It took a ginormous effort from everyone, huge saves from our keeper, and some luck. I don't know if they had their entire team there, but we were able to shut down their main players from most of their through runs, and on the occasion a shot got through, our keeper was up to the task. The only goal came very early in the game. I was sitting in an on-side pocket in the right forward position. Cemi saw me, I gave him the nod, and he sent a through ball right were it needed to be. I brought it into the box, already had pre-determined where my shot was going to go, and executed. Far left side of the side netting. Goal! Boo-ya. I don't remember us getting too many shots after that, and I think I played some defense to help ensure the victory. It was one of the more satisfying wins this team has had.





May 1st: Roadkill 4, Fairfax United 0

Unfortunately, on the back-to-back scheduled games, we were missing our goalie and our fastest guy on the field who happens to play center defense. I let in 3 goals in half a game's worth of work. The first was a breakaway that I was so confident I had cut the angles and he had no shot he could score on. But he put it through my wickets. It just got worse from there on out. I think their second goal was a rocket into the corner I had no chance on, and their third goal was a soft goal where the guy caught me cheating off the post and put it short side. And it was THE SAME GUY. They had one player who'd run through everyone and score. If we could have shut him down, they wouldn't have got a single goal. I played in the field in the 2nd half but was completely ineffective. They got one more goal on a lucky looping shot that was unsavable. It was just a sub-par performance, like the days of old.





May 3rd: Fairfax United 2, Skittlebrau 0

However, on a short turnaround, we bounced back and won against decent competition. I thought we would have more trouble than we did with this team. They just couldn't bring the ball up the field and establish a lot of possession. Statistic oddity: Casey and me each split half a game in net, and we each scored a goal. That's fantasy soccer team material! Casey got the game winner off a header in the first half that sailed perfectly into the top corner of the net. My goal came in the second half off a play I actually worked to get. Usually I don't defend much or pressure the ball if we've lost it in the offensive third, but I gave it a go this time around. I caused enough havoc, won the ball, was eventually able to receive a pass and thread a shot between a diving keeper and a defender. It was a very pretty play overall. We could have netted a couple more and improved our goal differential, but we were a touch or a pass off. Still, nice to get another shutout, the third of the season.





May 12th: Fairfax United 4, Own Goal 1

The result was never in doubt. We probably win by more if I could shoot the ball with my left foot though. I think there were 5 chances where my shot was weak, or I hit the ground first with my foot. Gah! I assisted on our first goal, a play where I take the ball deep into the box, distribute it to someone up top for an easy shot. Perry blasted it in with authority. David got our 2nd on a header that looked like it was going over, but dropped nicely into the upper corner of the net. We all watched as it floated peacefully into the goal. I netted the third goal, surprisingly with my left foot. Again, I found myself in an on-side pocket up the right wing, Alex served up a beautiful lob pass, and after it bounced once, I half-volleyed it with my left foot towards the net. I thought it was going to go wider than it did, but it caught the goalie's outstretched right hand. It spun off his hand and there was enough spin that it curved just inside the far post into the goal. Kind of lucky, but I'll take it! We gave up a late goal on a breakaway that the other team happened to have a fast guy up the field for. But we came right back and Perry buried his second of the game from about 20 yards out into the top of the net. A good win overall.





8 games in, 4 to go. 6-0-2 (W-T-L), 18 points, 2nd place, 14-9 GF-GA. I have 7 goals to lead the team, Perry and Alex with 2 apiece, JJ Casey and David A with one apiece. We still have to play DIPL FC again, and I hope we have our full team so we can beat them. Hopefully I don't get hacked to bits like I did in the first game.

Div 3 Round-up

I've slacked off getting updates done. I hate when something feels like it's becoming a chore. Because I like having recaps for personal reasons, but after a game I never feel like writing anything up. Maybe doing these in chunks will be better.

Anyways, there have been 3 games since the last update, let's see what I can remember!





Apr 20th: SuperNova FC 1, FBCA United 1
This game took place on one of the hurting grass fields we still use. The lines were drawn incorrectly, the grass wasn't cut, the ball died if you tried passing it on the ground. Terrible field conditions. The weather was super nice, though. I split a half in net with another guy on the team. The other team's only goal came on a completely lucky shot in the 2nd half while I was on goalkeeper duty. The other team was coming up their right wing, and lofted a shot way up into the air. I thought the ball was sailing over the net, no way is that a threatening shot. But it drops. It dropped perfectly under the bar into the net. I was so disgusted. Luckily, we were awarded a penalty shot late in the game and was able to bury it to get the tie. With the field being as terrible as it was, getting a point out of the game was acceptable.





May 9th: Flying Possums 5, SuperNova FC 1
This team basically ran through our entire team with a couple fast guys. I let in two goals in a bout a quarter game's worth of goalkeeping. The first was a long throw-in that they headed down into the corner of the net, just past my outstretched arms. Totally frustrating. The 2nd goal was a breakaway I had no chance on. Finally, our regular keeper came in, but there was no relief from the other team's onslaught.

But then, the ref turned into a dick.

I resumed my defensive position duties, but apparently every defensive attempt I made was a foul. Now, the first couple were fouls, I did them on purpose and accepted them. However, this ref decided to profile me from here on out, and any bump or touch or attempt to defend was interpreted as a foul. This guy can go fuck himself. Hell, someone ran into me and I was called for the foul. The loss I accept, the other team imposed their will on us. But singling me out like that, what's the point there? I better not come across this guy again, that's all I have to say.





May 15th: SuperNova 3, Gang Green 2
We *barely* were able to field a team. Luckily, the other team wasn't up many players on us. After starting the game late and finding our rhythm, we got out of the first half 0-0. In the second half we started getting some of the play through the midfield. We went up 2-0, one on a breakaway, another on a nice passing play with a gorgeous cross-goal shot. Unfortunately, we started breaking down in our defensive third. For some reason I don't remember the other team's first goal, and the second one they scored to tie it came off a clearing attempt. Their player received the ball, dribbled through 3 of our players, then shot one off the post and in. So we didn't help ourselves out much. But I think for the first time, we gave up a lead but were still able to win a game. In the last few minutes we strung a few passes together and pushed a ball out wide to the left, where Kimmie's magic left foot once again came through a rocketed a shot under their keeper. It was pure magic! It felt so good to pull out a win.





7 games in, 5 to go. 3-3-1 (W-T-L), 13 points, 3rd place, 12-13 GF-GA. A couple of those ties should have been wins too. Still, only one loss 7 games in is impressive.

Apr. 13th, 2011

Div5: Fairfax United 2, Militia United 0

First off, the other team had only 8 players. They played 3 girls short. Their only sub was injured in the second half. Second, each team had a very gusty wind at their back. We had it at our backs in the first half. So, being 3 field players up and having the wind, we should go up quickly on this team.

0-0 at half.

They have some good players. They are fast, strong on the ball. Yes, we routinely beat this team, but you wouldn't know that in the first half. I had to play goalie the entire first half, our regular goalie didn't make it until the first half was close to ending. I didn't touch the ball. Not once. The ball came over the half line a handful of times, but never made it as far as me. So I watched as we somehow managed to not put in 4-5 goals in the first half. It was frustrating being in net for that.

So I jokingly said I'd have to put in the goals, haha. I put in the game winner, which is all that matters. I was on the left wing, and a ball was played in my direction that their defender badly misjudged. I simply sidestepped and ran past him, and I tried to cross the ball but it deflected off another defender and still went forwards toward the net. The goalie had come out and was completely out of position, so I had an easy tap in goal from about 16 yards out.

JJ netted the second goal. Upper right corner off a pass in the box. Great strike.

It kind of sucks not playing against a full squad. We had *16* players show up. They had 9. That sort of plays in my mind and running up the score isn't appealing. That being said, I still missed a few shots I should have put in. I had a diving header on the 6 yard box that I didn't judge right and went right to the goalie. I had another shot atop the 18 yard box that I booted over the net. I totally leaned back on that shot like a chump. Never lean back. I had all day to control and walk in with the ball, I felt rushed for whatever reason. I also tried to pass as much as possible to set others up. Apparently I passed too much, I was told to just shoot the ball. That rarely happens, haha. Last minute of the game, I had an onside break up the right that took me inside the box, and I should of just shot, it was a gimmie goal, but Alex was shouting from the left, and I really wanted to get him a goal. He threaded the pass from me through the goalie's legs, but it didn't count. Offside. DAGGER. I wasn't paying any attention, he was ahead of me with no defenders between us and the goalie. I just put my hands on my head and walked away. I'm totally fine with the low score. I'm only slightly annoyed that I could have padded my own stats with a couple more goals, but it's of no concern. We're 3-1, we've beat the teams we're supposed to, and had a tough loss to a "better" team. A winning season is what I finally want to achieve.

Apr. 11th, 2011

Div3: SuperNova FC 1, Cool Kids 1

And now, last night's game. Oh MAN. This team gets under my skin. They are good, we are good, it's a clash of Div3 titans. Unfortunately, we played on a grass field, which was really a mud field since it just rained a couple days ago. And the field used to be one of the pristine grass fields in the county. Now it's junk. Turf it!

We went in at half 0-0. I didn't think we had too much of an offensive presence all game. But we went up 1-0 halfway through the 2nd half. It started as a foul of some sorts near midfield. I was finally close enough to take a free kick, so I set up and kicked a choice ball to the right side of the field. So choice. It flew perfectly over their jumping defender, bounced just right so my forward could run on to it, have a touch, and put in a ball across the mouth of the goal. Ermi was set up nicely, only had to back up a step and jump to head the ball down at the goal. I couldn't tell from my angle, but he said the ball donked off the post, off the goalie's knee, and into the goal. He tried to disguise it and threw the ball back over the line, but the assistant ref on the far sideline saw the ball completely crossed the line and went in. BAM. I don't get the assist, but I set up that play. So choice.

But, as seems to happen a lot this season, they scored in the dying minutes of the game. Less than two minutes left to be exact. Our goalkeeper had been keeping our lead in tact with 10-bell saves, diving across goal left and right. It was a SHOW. But, on a corner kick, the ball found their player who came charging on, none of us picked him up and all he had to do was one time it in the net. I basically froze, because I thought my defender in front of me was going to get his head on it, or something, so I eased up. I wasn't going to charge at him, I thought he had it. But the split second it went over his head, it was done. There was no time to react. Total dagger. I wanted SO BAD to beat this team. We had to settle for a tie.

I played defense, and wasn't too terrible at it, but it definitely reinforced how much I need to exercise. I am blobby mcbloberson, and it needs to change. It still amazes me how easy it is to disregard the common sense I proclaim to possess.

Div3: SuperNova FC 2, Red Lions FC 1

This game was played on April 3rd. As of this moment, it is an official game and we got the points for it. We made it through the first half of this game, before it was lightning like crazy. Giant light displays in the sky started popping up frequently. The ref had to call it for everyone's safety. I overheard the rule apparently being it's not an official game until it's 5 minutes into the 2nd half. So the match was abandoned and pending further outcome. I just checked in the standings earlier in the day and we were awarded the win. So I guess half a game is an official game. Bonus!

I was in net, so I get a win, also a bonus. I made a couple decent saves, nothing too dramatic. I think we would have pulled out a win if it did run the full time. I felt confident in our lineup, even if we didn't have subs and we had one person on a yellow card. So I'm 1-0-1 in Div3 as a goalkeeper. Didn't think I'd ever have a stat line like that. But that's not just me, that's my entire team helping out.

Div5: DIPL FC 2, Fairfax United 0

Gotta catch up on a few entries. This game took place March 29th. Bottom line: I scored a goal to cut the deficit to 2-1, but because the net wasn't secured at the bottom, the ball passed through without touching it, and the center ref, who is TERRIBLE, didn't allow the goal. The other team's captain EVEN ADMITTED it went in. Fucking ref. It still pisses me off weeks later. To top if off, I was pretty much hacked at the entire game. Finally, after the 4th foul against me, ref gave a yellow card to their player. I despise the attitude of this other team. I'm fine with competing and accepting a better team beating our team. But if they have to do it by fouling me as I finagle around their defense, it stops being fun. Soccer shouldn't anger me, not in the bottom of a co-ed rec league. It should be played hard, but respectfully. Some teams don't get that memo.

Right after that game, I subbed in on the Div4 team that was Div3 last year, but they apparently dropped down. I was in net and we lost 4-1. That was due to many of their regular players missing. I think half the team was substitutes from other teams. I think I could have held the score to 2-1, but it was rush after rush and I couldn't stop them all. I think I got more exercise chasing all the shots that missed down the hill behind the net. That's how it goes some days.

Mar. 28th, 2011

Div3: SuperNova FC 1, Flying Possums 1

It was another cold night. We started the game one girl down, equalized, and then lost a different girl to injury. We played the game down one the rest of the way. No subs. Just as soon as we had a full team to roll with last week, tonight we were short. So it goes.

Our goalkeeper also suffered some sort of injury and did not attend. That set the stage for me to play an entire game in net against a Division 3 team. Yikes. But, if it wasn't for my team who put in some fantastic work, the scoreline could have been worse.

The other team scored midway through the first half to take the lead. They had it just outside the 18 yard box, and their guy played with it for way too long before getting a shot away. I was screened the entire time, but didn't think to say anything. Usually things open up and I eventually see the shot. All I heard was the kick and the ball was in the top corner of the net by the time I picked up on it. I should have yelled to step to the guy, or I was screened, or anything. I keep replaying that play in my mind, and physically there was nothing else I could do. I didn't see the shot. I'm not going to blame anyone though. It's like a deflection, sure it hits someone and goes in, but it's not their fault. It just happens.

The other team had a billion offside calls as well. Multiple breakaways that were called back because they were behind our defense. They could have put in 4-5 goals on those alone, but the flag went up almost every time. I had some luck on my side, that's for sure.

The second half saw more pressing by the other team. We would get the ball to half, but being down a player and being tired, we couldn't do much with it afterward. Then the other team would come down with the ball, and despite looking like they had it together, their play wasn't cohesive. Dribbling into coverage, bad passes, not shooting the ball. It's no wonder the score was so low.

On one play, they did get the ball in the box, shot, and there was a deflection off my defender. However, it donked off the post and out of bounds. What's funny is I put some good voodoo on that post not too much earlier in the half, it must have paid off! Cause on a deflection, I'm already expecting to react one way, the ball goes the other, and everything freezes. I just watch as my momentum completely stops between what I was going to do and suddenly needing to go the other way. If ya can't be good, at least be lucky, haha.

Then came... the SAVE. OF. THE CENTURY.

Not really.

But the best save I'll make for the rest of my life.

Breakaway by the other team. Right footed shot coming up the left wing, my right side. I'm a forward, I've been in that position a thousand times, I know what's going down every single time, so I'm already anticipating what this guy is going to do. He's going to come inside the box, angle inside at the last moment, and shoot to the far side of the net. There's space galore there. It's easy pickin's.

NO.

He shoots short side.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUU-

The second he shoots, I'm diving off my left foot that's planted, towards where I thought the ball is going. My right leg hasn't completely extended yet, so I thrust out as far as I can with that leg while traveling in the opposite direction. The ball *BARELY* hits the tip of my shoe. The ball deflects, hits the post, goes out of bounds.

RIDICULOUS.

SportsCenter Top 10 play right there.

First thing out of my mouth: "can you believe that just happened?"

Was I leaning a bit? Did I cheat just a little? Probably. He probably read that and went short side knowing I already made up my mind. First lesson of goalkeeping: let the forward make the first move. A little bit of athletic ability plus a little bit of luck helped me make that save and keep us in the game.

I didn't realize how important that save was. We could have been down 0-2 and folded. Instead, we managed a late goal to tie on an unthinkable run up field with only two people. Two cross-field passes and we had beat their defense. Not only that, WE HAD A CHANCE TO WIN. We were awarded a penalty shot with minutes to go. Unfortunately, we hit the post with it. GAH. A game we probably shouldn't have been in, and we were that close to taking the lead! I'm glad we got the point, keeps us undefeated two games in. Again, as the old saying goes, we have our full squad, we win this game no problem. But all credit to everyone that showed up and played, and made sure they didn't get as many shots off which helped me out. Onwards!

Mar. 24th, 2011

Div5: Fairfax United 3, Own Goal 1

Full team for a second game in a row! Only 1 guy sub, so we're still lacking in the substitution department. We played at a brand new field, and it's absolutely *gorgeous*. It's turf, it has a pavilion, heated bathrooms, a tiny practice field, beautiful landscaping, it's a sight to see. Too bad we only have one more game scheduled there.

We played against a team who was brand new last season. They are a bit better now, and their goalkeeper was absolutely on fire. He kept the game as close as it was, because we could have blown open the game really early. I had a couple shots that he stretched all out on to save, He stopped a couple of Alex's close range attempts. We also had a handful shots that went over the crossbar, so our accuracy was a bit off as well. Eventually we got the go-ahead goal in the first half on a pass I slid to Alex inside 10 yards from goal and he was able to bury it.

The second half seemed stagnant for a long time. It got to the point where I was thinking "how are we not up 7-0 right now?" Then I got my goal off of a throw in. We were deep in our offensive third, I took a throw in near the goal line and weaved around a couple players, until it was just me and the goalie. There was no doubt in my mind what I was going to do, being in this situation so many times in my life. I acted like I was going to go across the entire goal with the ball, and once I had the goalie leaning just a bit, I flipped the ball near side in the small space between him and the goalpost. Alex sealed it a couple minutes later on a through ball. He was able to break through their defense and slide a shot in the corner of the net. The other team added a goal very late, in fact we didn't even kick off afterward, the ref blew the final whistle.

We did win, but you can tell our overall fitness levels are putrid. I knew what I was going to be like. First game of the season, my body doesn't know better and I can trick it for most of the game. I felt even more sluggish a lot quicker in this one. Also, there were some 50/50 balls that our team could have got to and won that the other team were able to take a little too easily. Also, we were without a couple people, otherwise I think we do win 7-0. But I am satisfied with the win. It's the second 2-0 start our team has had since I joined. The other time was Spring '09, and we only won 1 more game the rest of that Spring. I have a feeling we'll win a lot more than 1 game this time around.

Mar. 20th, 2011

Div3: SuperNova FC 3, Gang Green 2

Another fine start to the season. I mean that sarcastically as well. While we did have 4 substitutes, they were all guys. Only 3 girls showed up so we had to play 2 players short on the field the entire game. The other team was also short. They did have one extra girl so we had to play 9v10 the entire game, however they had no subs whatsoever. So we did have the advantage of getting rest to half our team.

I was back on defense, and managed to hold my own. My only major blunder was in the last minute of the first half, they had a free kick and I was standing in no-mans land. They chipped the ball and I held for an offside call, but they played it correctly and ended up scoring to end the 1st half. That tied it at 1-1, which was deflating after having the advantage of the wind at our backs that half.

However, I did make up for said blunder. After going up 2-1, they came down the field on a 2v2, and their player that had the ball was taller, faster, slightly more skilled. So as he came towards our goal, I kept backing up until the 18 yard box, then held my ground until he decided to make his move. He used a couple jukes and fancy footwork, but I didn't buy it, and the second he had slightly lost control, I stepped in, won the ball, and moved it up to my forwards who ended up netting the third goal. All me, baby, haha.

They threw the farm at us at the end of the game and got another last minute goal, but the end whistle blew right after they scored, so the win was never in doubt. 2 points to start the season while being two people down, not too bad. I don't mind having so many substitutes either, especially with the shape I'm in. Hopefully we can stay near the top of the table this season, if we can have a consistent team show up every game, that will be more than possible.

Mar. 13th, 2011

Div5: Fairfax United 2, Martians FC 1

My Division 5 season kicked off on March 13th. This is a backdated post since I hadn't got around to getting a blurb out about the game.

SO.

I'm not close to game shape. I'm heavy, clothes fit tight, not very mobile, can't run for very long. Just plain out of shape. The rest of my team is in much better standing. Of course, it was looking grim as to the turnout that we were going to have. However, by game time, we had one extra girl substitute, and a guy sub not too long after that. Better than most nights, that's for sure.

The team we played was a brand new team to the league, although they were a large combination of players from other teams I've played against before, with noted Div 3 and 4 players. However, for the first half, we were able to hang and even dictate the play for stretches at a time. On my team, we have a new girl who joined who is crazy fast and skilled and everything I want in a forward to play up top with me. So the passing was pretty decent for our team up front.

We took the lead about 15 minutes in. As Alex was bringing the ball up field, the other team forgot about me on the right side. I took a pass onside and ran unobstructed towards goal. I was going to shoot the entire time, and let one fly that got some air and went over the outstretch arms of the diving goaltender. Goal scorer's goal. That should go in every time.

We took a 1-0 lead into the 2nd half. First 20 minutes of this half was about the same as the 1st half. We had our chances, bringing the ball up, getting breaks and a shot here and there. Our 2nd goal came off of a sort of broken play. I forget the specifics, but it was Alex and Stephanie on the left side of the field, and after some passing, the ball squirted free across the top of the 18 yard box. I bolted from my position towards the ball, with all intentions of striking it with my left foot, for better or worse. Turns out I was able to place the perfect shot into the right side of the net past the keeper's outstretched arms a second time. It was a fluid, continuous motion with my leg, connecting my foot to the ball like it was meant to be. Two goals to start a season? I couldn't ask for much more than that!

Hell, I even had a handful of other good chances. One came off of a corner kick that I half-volleyed over the top of the bar, not by much. I also had a couple breaks where it was 1v1 and I just wasn't fast enough at the end to get a shot in before their defender caught up to me. I also had one break were I did get a shot, but I was in too close to the goalie and he was easily able to deflect it away. That would have been the icing on the cake.

Instead, the last 20 minutes of the game was an onslaught of offense from the opposing team. Run after run, shot after shot. There had to have been 6-7 shots our goaltender came up with that were 5-star saves. Absolutely all-out goaltending. It was an amazing sight. Especially from my view, as I pretty much did nothing more than take up space near the midfield line with very limited movement. Even though my mind said I was good to go, my body was beat and didn't have much effort left in it. They managed to put a ball in our net on a break during one of the few times we didn't have enough people back on defense. Our D held up so well, and managed to disrupt the other team enough so they didn't have too many clear shots on net. The last 10 minutes was a scramble like no other, and even in the final minute, we were all flailing to get a corner kick out of our area and block all their attempts from within the 18 yard box. But we held on to get the W and start our season on the right foot.

I give credit to all my teammates for their effort. I know I need to step up and do a bit more towards the end of the game, because this one was much closer than it had to be, and I know I could have contributed more. I need to work on that. But I'm happy with our group, and I hope we get everyone to come out consistently. We could end up having our best season yet if we get the turnout every game.

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