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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Soccer News

Last night we won our indoor semifinal 2-0. I kept and saved some goals, but really we just outplayed them.
Sunday we have the final, so far we have been bridesmaids too many times - we are on a roll and really want to win this one.
Today I played my outdoor game and played the entire match. I came close to scoring in the goal box after a corner kick was headed down to me and I dropped to the ground and leg swept a powerful shot straight at a wall of defenders in front of the goal. It rebounded and I suffered a cramp in my calf keeping me on the ground for a half a minute.
It was a tough physical game - a top of the table clash as we were playing the top team. We ended up with a 1-1 draw, both goals coming from penalties caused by accidental handballs in the box. The referee was a bit intimidated and made poor decisions in both cases. The second one (against us) was actually against the linesman's call who saw clearly that it wasn't a hand ball, but I think the ref wanted to balance out his previous poor decision. That sux. Still a draw isn't a loss.
I am enjoying playing centre back, in that in my 20 odd years of playing soccer its a position I have never played before this year. However I am relishing in shutting down my opponents by playing tight marking and readng the play better than them. In the first half the centre forward had one kick of the ball when I let him run and he actually hurt himself doing it. In the second half he hung back a lot and I ended up marking a much faster player, who got past me a few times. The only two times it matter I made saving tackles. I even got close to having a fight with a bit of an argy bargy and I ended up with a cut tongue when he clocked me across the jaw. Thankfully I could see the ref watching and refrained from decking him. I then beat him in the next two tackles and that showed who was the better player.
This team will be a good team to play in a grand final. They have only one strategy and that is for their midfield to hang back and then try and kick long balls for their forwards who all try and head it on to each other. It is easy to read and easy to defend against. AS soon as they look like doing it I dropped back 5 metres and in most cases picked up the ball from their header, or we were able to make tackles while they were trying to control it on the ground. In contrast, our team mostly plays balls to feet and short snappy passes, meaning we were able to beat them skilfully on the ground. They didn't like it when I started mentioning it out loud each time they tried their silly header thing. Sometimes they would have 2 or 3 headers in a row but by then they had used up all their options and we just cleaned up.
More news after the indoor final on Sunday.