In the first half, the boys started the game a little bit stronger than usual. They set the tempo early and created some decent looks on goal. At about the 10 minute mark, Guy broke loose into the penalty box and took a hard foul from behind. It created the teams' first real chance to score with a penalty kick. Markie is usually Mr. Automatic from this spot, but this time he came up short. His shot to the lower right corner was stopped by a spectacular save from the opposing keeper. The momentum then swung their way and they started pouring on the attack. This is when Tommy took over the game and put on a clinic. He made one incredible save after another and single-handedly kept our boys in the game. The halftime score was 0-0.
In the 2nd half, our boys kept fighting hard for the ball, but they began to lose their passing discipline and resorted to a kick-and-run game. This was a completely ineffective form of offense but the boys were running out of gas. The Magic's offense looked to adjust by going somewhaat one-dimensional and looking to get the ball to their stud player, Brooklyn Raines on every possession. It paid off as he finally broke loose in the 37th minute and took advantage of a broken play to score the first goal of the game. A few minutes later he scored again. In the 55th minute, Markie finally brroke the scoreless drought by putting one past their keeper from 30 yards out.
In the final minutes of the game, the boys went into desperation mode to get the tying goal, but Brooklyn once again broke loose and scored for a third time.
The Chicago Magic, to their credit, did give a tough, tough challenge to our boys. They have great talent at the top of their roster. Brooklyn is a unique talent who can do things with the ball that not many 8 year olds can do.
There are several positives to this game.
- Start with the obvious. Tommy played the game of his life in goal yesterday. It will be a long time before you see another performance like that from an 8 year old (unless you are there when Tommy plays in goal again). That was the gold standard of goalkeeping.
- The defense again had a tall task of defending against great talent and again, they were remarkable. The Magic offense had the boys on their heels, but the defensive effort neutralized the majority of them. Alex's header was pretty cool to see. Tyler was a boy possessed. Noah had by far his best game ever and Mateo is a tough, tough little mother....(I will keep this clean). Markie took on more of a CDM position on Saturday and quarterbacked another spectacular game.
- Because we were under a lot of pressure, the wing midfielders and strikers were in a lot of isolated situations. That is a very unfair situation for these boys because they could not get into any rhythm against such a good team. That said, I am proud for the way these boys kept their poise and kept applying pressure as much as they could. As you may recall, practice has been geared towards a disciplined defense, possession out of the backfield and offense through the transition game. This is the next coaching opportunity for us to focus on for the rest of the season.
- You can tell that the boys have been working on controlling the ball out of the air. Their technical skills are really starting to show up in games.
Up next, we are back on the pitch today at 3pm for our match-up against the VH Cougars. Game time is at 3pm. Be there at 2:30pm. See you then.