The Portuguese Man ‘O War

So I haven’t been updating for a while…big whoop wanna fight about it?  Anyway, after starting the season with a loss and and a tie we have now reeled off 4 straight wins, including beating 1 of 2 unbeaten teams in the league and trouncing the league leading team. I’ve said it before, this is the best team we’ve ever had while I’ve been here.

Onto the latest victory.

For the second game in a row we had good numbers, and that is always promising.  Bradford showed their polished offense early and often, but within 5 minutes of the kickoff Hugo “Fuzzy Neymar” Vicente got the ball, undressed two guys like they were at a party at Will’s house, and calmly finished to put us ahead.  It was a real atmosphere setting goal, with Bradford realizing their mistakes would be capitalized on, and the skill level that Hugo possesses.  Did anyone else notice how they rarely challenged him while dribbling thereafter?

From then on it was back to the usual with Bradford generally controlling the play but not able to crack the defense to break through.  With about 15 mins to go in the half Nelson “#3” (by far their best player) ran on to a through ball and collided with Steve, who went down with a knee injury.  He went off, and it did not take long for them to capitalize on our defensive disorganization.  Another passing play and through ball resulted in a breakaway which they finished.  We went to the half tied 1-1.

Bradford took the field early to start the second half, and we lingered, perhaps nervous, but also getting our strategy down. They heckled to get us on the field…which was their big mistake.  It awoke the Malt within us (for those new to the team he’s a bit of a legend from the past couple years).

Early in the second half Hugo again had the ball in their zone a drew a penalty with a daytime Emmy winning performance.  Perhaps not Oscar worthy, but hey, he got the penalty.  His second in as many games I might add.  Mark “The Merciless Meatball” Bramhall stepped up and pounded a shot past the keeper.  It was another tone setting goal, because they always had to play catch up, aka keep Nelson “#3” on offense.  Cuz he’s a bit of a defensive monster as well.

From there, it was back to the usual; Bradford attacking, us eventually stopping and clearing, and then they would regroup and attack again.  Eventually we gave a corner and when delivered there was a bit of a scrum and it went to Johnny 82 who deftly showed his crossover dribble and passed to Lee “Why Are You There?” Sweet, who passed to Iain “You. Complete. Us.” Hill who smartly lofted one over an out of position keeper.  Given Johnny 82’s slick manouvers, Bradford was a bit upset.  There was the usual carrying on, except this time the ref actually red carded a guy on the side for F bombs.  Don’t poke the bear I guess, especially after the bear warns you about poking prior to the game…

I subbed off then, and things looked a bit chaotic.  Bradford was pressing, and you knew what was coming.  They soon pulled one back with what looked like a broken play on the side, despite Chris “Draymond Green”  Sattler recording the first shot block of the season moments earlier.

I subbed back on, and the game continued with Bradford getting more and more desperate, and leaving their defensive line open.  A while later Meatball The Redeemer took a pass, deked a player,  slotted one in the corner, and then struck the pose that gave both the nickname and the title to this post.  It was classic.  I kinda want that pose after every goal now.

With precious few minutes left Bradford went for broke, but again an outlet pass to Iain resulted in him setting up a streaking Johnny 82 who deked the goalie and scored the nail in the coffin goal, if the one prior wasn’t.

It was all over.  We move on after a 5-2 victory, 2-0 in round robin play, and a +9 in goal differential for the cup so far.  We are the best team in the league this year boys, and don’t you forget it.

As an aside, I would like to mention the contributions of guys who didn’t make it into the write up.  Will was awesome, as always.  He’s the best in the league and with him we always have a chance to win.  Kyle was great at shutting Nelson down.  Ryan had some excellent defensive covering and offensive moves, Tyson and Mike C had excellent positioning and instincts making key stops when we needed to.  And without mentioning everyone else, you guys played your heart out.  We have a had a synergistic effort the last couple games where guys are playing really, really well across the board.  Even I am shitting the bed less than normal.  Let’s keep it up, and hey, we might as well win every game from here on out.  Cuz this year, we are the kings of this league.

Man of the Match: Hugo “And the Academy Award Goes to…” Vicente

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