That was a bit of a nail-biter.
When the boys got to the field, they were loose and ready to go. The start of the game showed our boys in good rhythm and pushing the ball up the field with some consistency. The efforts paid off early as Markie's free kick on goal in the 5th minute was blocked, rebounded nicely by Graham and put in for the first score. The Hawks made it 2-0 just moments later when Matthew did his usual thing and was able to convert on high pressure in the opposing third. This was the difference of the game as from this point, the Palatine team woke up and began putting pressure on our defense in isolated attacks. I will admit, this was something that I did not see coming. The scoring was back and forth. They transitioned up the middle a lot and were able to create clean looks on goal. Our boys continued to counter-attack, creating free kick opportunities in the middle third of the field. Markie would put it home on the set piece. At halftime, the score was 5-3 in our favor.
The second half was more of the same. Give credit to the boys on defense they played well against the Celtics press. Their bend-don't-break approach was enough to get the job done. The final score was 7-4.
Gotta hand it to them. The team from Palatine really kept the pedal down and gave our boys a run for the money. They transitioned out of defense well and were able to create some good looks on goal, converting on a high percentage of chances.
While there were several coaching opportunities that came out of this game, there were a lot of positives to take out of this one.
- I am seeing a lot more possession in the midfield than just 4 weeks ago. With all seven goals coming from midfielders, this is a good sign that things are going in the right direction.
- Marco. Nicely done! You are impressive.
- The strikers were limited on their shot opportunities, I was pleased with their ability to consistently pressure the opposing defense.
- Markie's ability to score on free kicks from 25-30 yards out is flat out amazing. His skill from long range (and make it look easy) is something that is not common at this age.
- I am sending a shout out to my own son today. Alex's game this season has been solid. He is doing a great job in not only defending the ball, but being able to control it, have the patience to look at his surroundings and make a good pass to the midfield to start the transition.
Up next, we have the final game of the "4 games in 9 days" marathon. The game is at Vernon Hills. After last week's game, they will be gunning for us with a more aggressive game plan. Time to get ready.
We will go with the all white uniforms. Game time is at 5:30PM. Be there at 5pm.