Rematches are never easy. The situation was not too favorable for our boys - travel to Vernon Hills to play a rolling Cougars team the day after a solid victory against another division foe. On top of that, the rematch also took away the element of surprise which meant that every goal will be earned.
That prediction did not disappoint. In fact, the game was so intense that I lost track of the game sequences. None the less, I will do my best.
It started out as expected. The Cougars had a little hop in their step. The Hawks were ready for the challenge. It took a little bit for either team to catch the momentum. Fortunately, our boys got it first when Markie broke loose and launch a bullet through the back of the net - literally. He kicked it through the small hole in the back of the net. The referee missed the call, but later changed his call to a goal after Steve "negotiated" his position on the situation. The Hawks kept attacking. A few minutes later, Matthew broke loose for the game's second goal. The score held that way into the 22nd minute when Alex (playing for Markie at Center defensive midfielder who was out with a shoe issue) took possession
of the ball on a short pass from Tommy and found a streaking Matthew (by streaking, I mean that he was running really fast. Nothing more) on a nice lead pass to set up his second goal of the game.
Halftime score was Hawks 3 Cougars 1
The second half started and you could tell that the Cougars got a little pep talk. They came out blazing. Their passing became a lot more crisp and they set themselves up well for a lot more offense than in the first half. Our boys bent, but they diid not break. On defense, we were pressured more. On offense, there was a lot less room to turn with the ball as their defense collapsed well on our strikers. The scoring was back and forth. The Cougars worked the ball very well with their passing game. Our boys created some passing sequences of their own to keep possession and create solid offensive pressure. The Hawks were able to
add some more points on the board thanks to a 50 second scoring binge by Aryan and a capper by Graham in the later minutes of the game. Those goals were needed as the Cougars just refused to go away.
By the 50th minute, the Hawks were gassed. Boys were struggling to catch their breath. They were trying their absolute best to keep the Cougars from closing the gap. They smelled opportunity and tried their absolute best to capitalize on it.
Final score: Hawks 6 Cougars 5
Credit the Cougars. They played a solid game and their studs Noah (#66) and Milan (#4) tried their absolute best to take over this game. As a whole this team has something that I want our boys to have, a solid foundation for possession soccer. They have a very high ceiling and they pay attention. Markie's only chance for a long distance free kick was blocked by the Cougar wall.
Let's call out some boys:
-Today's win was hard fought. No reason to feel down about this won. Win or lose, it was a fun game.
- Tyler: A little slow on the start, but in the 2nd half you made it extremely difficult for us to take you out of the game. Solid, solid play.
- Aryan: Much better with the passing game today in the 1st half.
- Marco: Even though you could not play today, you still came out, supported the team and listened to instruction.
- Matthew and Graham: You are getting there. Each week things look a little bit better.
- Voodoo Ninja: Your defensive ability is downright awesome.
- Did I see two 4-touch sequences in today's ball game? I think I did. That is a good stat.
Up next, we have Wednesday practice at 6pm. The focus will be on choreographing possession soccer out of the back field. Have the boys prepared to pay attention as we will be doing a lot of dry runs to start developing the habits. Yes, there will be a scrimmage, but only if the boys demonstrate that ability to stay focused on the Coach's instructions.
See you all on Wednesday.