We scored the first goal of the game!
Great stuff yesterday in the Opening Game. For most of match we were in control of the ball and playing popcorn soccer. Right off the bat it was pop pop pop over-the-top GOAL!
We started going forward right from the opening kickoff and took the ball over the top to Savanna to grab a quick 1-nill lead. Diane and Izzy took control of the ball in mid-field and spotted the oportunity and delivered a brilliant ball to Savanna, which she calmly drilled between the posts for a quick lead.
PJPG, like all good teams, came storming back, and quickly knotted the score at 1. The equalizer came off an early mistake in the back and a scintillating top 90 strike from the PJPG midfielder. Maxx Rice, opening in goal, had no chance on the shot. 5 minutes in and it looked like a shoot-out was erupting, both teams going forward and scoring great goals.
Then Izzy and Diane began to dominate the central mid-field. Catherine and Gracie opened the wings. The five mid-fielder alignment simply dominated possession and carried the game to offensive third with sharp quick touch passes that only great goal keeping and good defening held off. On our second corner kick at 22 minutes (looked like a Brazil) Gracie cleaned up a rebound off a Demee strike for a 2-1 lead which we carried to the half. The pace was fast and furious and our conditioning began to tell on the other team. It is hard to chase and our passing and skills kept PJPG doing just that. The possession sessions on the training field were paying dividends.
The second half brought more of the same. Our defenders started to control the back line, learning to organize themselves as the match progressed. Alex directed them brilliantly, like Wellington at Waterloo, and we turned back some early pressure from PJPG. Sarah performed magnificently in the back, often bringing the ball forward with devastating effect. The mid-fielders came back to defend well providing double teams to the ball. Our second defenders took over very well when the initial defender was beaten. Katie came into the game to play in the goal and made some creditable saves, though the defenders keep her from being seriously tested.
After weathering PJPG's attemts to push forward early in the second half our mids took back the game for us and again dominated possession. The outside mid-fielders in both halves opened up very well and brought the ball into the center with crushing effect. Only great goal-keeping kept PJPG in the game. Diane took the game into her hands, which great players so often do, and got the ball to Gracie for a great goal and a 3-1 cushion. Diane then frosted the cake with nice goal, with help form Liza Wood. The final score of 4-1 was a fair result.
We played a good team, with two matches already played, and yet we dictated play almost from the start. That is what good teams do, especially to other good teams.
We have things to work on, however. We are still getting used to each other in the back, and that will improve as we train together. Our starting backline had only two training sessions on the field with each other and they developed a repor as the game wore on. Training will help that. So will playing in the games. Remember, when we have the ball everyone attacks. When they take possession EVERYONE defends.
We had great fluidity of motion today and the whole team moved together which is why everything seemed to work. Only once did PJPG come in on goal free. Alex did a great job directing things in the back which is what a central defender needs to do. There was some confusion at times but that will happen. We need to make it happen as little as possible.
We also need to work on our through balls on the grass. The over-the-top ball was working today so we might have stayed with it a bit too long. A great note from my point of view, is that we did not dribble much through the mid-field but passed and passed and passed. We made some great grass passes to the touchlines and we need more of thoses. We also need to make the other team defend centrally. Our front runners need to stay a bit more central and start making diagonal runs from off the ball through the heart of the penalty area. We will play keep away keep away keep away.
A great opening victory!
First Star- Diane and Izzy
Third Star-Sarah, Alex
Again, a great opening victory. We now have a chance to win two in a row.....lets do it!