Archive for August 27th, 2007

MISN – Summer Lachine game 15 (vs. Trakia)

Monday, August 27th, 2007

MISN? What’s this? 

Hello MISN,

On Thursday August 23rd we played game nº15 of the Summer 2007 Lachine indoor league, vs. Trakia.

The month of August had been a very rough one for MISN Impossible. After our great match form and the many consecutive victories of June-July, we had suffered a huge blow by losing our players one after the other for various reasons (holiday, work, and injuries). Our roster was effectively decimated, and our morale was at its lowest because of our recent streak of 3 winless games (2 silly draws and 1 huge defeat (1-6!) in which we effectively were ridiculed by our opponents).

However, the 2-1 victory against Ukraina last week showed that even against impossible odds the MISN spirit was still alive, and that we could rise to the challenge in very difficult circumstances!! The win gave us a much-needed morale boost for our next game, the match that would be key to decide the title winner of the 2007 Summer Lachine league! This week, we played against co-leaders Trakia!!

Summer Lachine 2007 - rankings after game 14

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In the table above you can see the team standings after 14 games (i.e. before today’s game). We were tied with Trakia on points, and with only 4 games left in the season (including today’s) it was capital to win this game tonight, also because of the much better goal differential our opponents possessed!

Attendance-wise, we continued our worst absentee-period of the season:

1) Absent long-term: Saad, Alex, Renaud, Güven, Can, Ludo, Santi, Denis
2) Injured long-term: Amer, Tevin
3) N/A this week: Nafee, Danny, Zaid, Imad, Simiso, Sami
4) Recovering from injury: Kevin

Yes, this week even the emergency substitutes were unavailable, would you believe it? Brace yourselves though, because attendance was going to be the least of our problems today. For anyone that’s read Homer’s Odyssey (the writer from ancient Greece, not the one on Fox) our adventure today was so ‘rocambolesque’ it had nothing to envy to Ulysses’ journey (or close).

Let us start from the beginning.

It was 6:00pm on Thursday afternoon (3 hours before the game), and I was peacefully going through my work shift at client services inside the McGill gym, when I receive a call from our keeper Jan. Given that most of our team is M.I.A these days, Jan is one of the few members of the team roster to have car available this week. So needless to say we are all counting on him to get us to Lachine (which is a good 20 minutes away by car) safely. Anyways Jan calls me, and tells me that his car broke down earlier in the afternoon. His mechanic says that he won’t be able to fix it until later next week, which means we are basically stuck without a means of transportation.

Oh but wait, one of our other players Bardia has a car!! He can take a few of us there, and then the rest of us can take the bus! Right?

Wrong! I call Bardia from work, explain the situation, and guess what I hear? “Oh shit man, Jan’s car broke down are you serious? Cuz mine isn’t working too great either, I was driving this afternoon and had to stop because smoke was coming out of the radiator. I put more water in, but I think there’s a leak”.

Great. Are we gonna have to walk or something?

Anyways, Bardia tells me the car will start, but he doesn’t know how long it can last. So I call back Jan, and we decide to re-arrange our car pick-ups. Me, Jan, Kevin, and Jon will go with Bardia, and Bruno & Abbes will take the bus. Sounds good? Good. I make all the necessary phone calls, and we’re all set.

It’s almost close to 7:45, the game’s at 9:00pm so we’re going to have to move soon. I’m wrapping up my shift at the gym (in which I had to train a new recruit by the way, which considerably slowed me down during wrap-up), and decide to call Jan before I leave. Change of plans! Jan tells me he’s running downtown to rent a car (he’ll need one anyway the day after), and so maybe he can pick up the others as well (those going by bus). Mmmmh ok, that’s a good idea… looks like our luck might be changing after all (oh, but I’m so naive).

Car problems…It’s 8:15, we’re at the meeting place where Bardia is supposed to come pick us up, and he’s not there. Guess he had trouble starting the car or something. We wait until 8:30, Bardia finally shows up, we’re on our way. We get to about the level of Atwater (for those that don’t know Montreal, that’s about a 5-minute drive), and Bardia’s radiator light starts flashing. Uh oh. Overheating? We have to make a decision now, and make it fast: can the car hold all the way to Lachine? Will it break down on the highway, leaving us stranded? Are we taking the chance?

Bardia decides not to. We stop the car at Atwater, and decide to take a cab. Fortunately, there’s a line of cabs right in front of the AMC movie theater, so we grab one, hop in, and tell the driver to push on it. It’s 8:40pm, and we’re finally on the highway! Meanwhile, our keeper Jan seems to have finally arrived at the car rental, fill out the paperwork, and leave with a brand new Chrysler PT Cruiser. He’s now on his way to pick up Abbes & Bruno at Lionel-Groulx, phew we might be able to make it after all!

But wait, there’s a catch (was going all too well right?): Abbes is stuck at work and won’t be able to make the game. Great, the only substitute we had is now gone, we’re going to have to play the entire game without subs.

On the highway, we are all cursing at the odds & possibility of two of our cars breaking down simultaneously!! But speaking of curses and breaking down, allow me to go on a tangent here… it’s not just us! It’s the whole city of Montreal!! Indeed, we just get news that there seems to be a crack in a pedestrian tunnel below the Maisonneuve street, with possible danger of collapse! This forces the city to completely shut down the Green line of the subway, and block the whole neighbourhood for as long as repairs last!

It’s decidedly not our week…

We get to Lachine (late), with barely any time to warm up. Our transportation adventure has just ended, but not our rotten luck. That would actually persecute us all the way into the game.

Here was our line-up:

Keeper:
Jan
Defense:
Kevin
Jon
Bruno
Offense:
Marco
Bardia
AC

The MISN players get ready for the game…

So here we are, 7 players on the field, no substitutes, playing against the team tied with us at 1st-place! Talk about ideal conditions…

Surprisingly, we manage to get the first chance of the game. A short pass from the right wing gets redirected through the feet of AC to the left, for an unmarked Marco (that’s me… for those reading this for the first time, I find it easier to talk about myself in the 3rd person during match reports). Our Italian winger goes for the one-time instep shot, which is fairly weak, yet accurate… but not accurate enough: it hits the post and goes wide! Darn!

In any case, the game is far from being overly dominated by our opponents (higher in numbers with several subs) like we expected: despite our limited resources we are holding our own, and even get a few chances to score! AC is pressing hard against the Trakia defenders, and Bardia is trying to work his dribbling magic to penetrate our opponents’ defense.

10 minutes into the game, we get another good chance. A great cross by Kevin from the right wing finds the header of AC on the 2nd post, but our Turkish striker can’t direct his effort and the ball goes over the bar!

On the other end, Trakia is keeping our defensive line busy as well. Kevin, Jon, and Bruno are holding tight, and when the ball slips through behind them Jan is vigilant in keeping it out of the net. However, remember that bad luck I was talking to you about? Well here it comes.

A series of Trakia shots from mid-range find Jan’s hands ready, but on the last shot our keeper can only parry the ball away. It rebounds from him in front of the net, in a good position where Jon can clear it. However, his clearance doesn’t go very far. Instead, it hits Kevin right in the face, bounces back, surprises Jan off his balance, and rolls into the net. For Trakia, it’s maximum value for minimum effort. 0-1.

The MISN supporters, cheering their team on… will it be enough?We don’t give in however, and continue to press forward. Eventually, we obtain our tying goal. A series of passes on the right wing eventually brings the ball to AC in the center, close to the penalty spot. Our striker goes for the rotating half-volley, and sends the ball low into the corner where the Trakia keeper can’t reach! 1-1!

The ref brings the half to an end, and up to this point, we can be satisfied of the scoreline and our performance. Our defense is holding together, we have created equal scoring chances as Trakia, and the only goal we conceded was an own goal from an unlucky bounce. There’s plenty of room to even win this game!

So on we go, back on the field for the 2nd half! We try to continue our overlap movements, shifting the ball with quick passes through the center and opening up our strikers on the wings. It’s hard though, because our opponents are more fresh and they keep marking us very closely. If the decider of this game comes down to stamina, we might end being on the losing end, so have to score quick! Unfortunately, it goes the other way.

We end up losing the ball in defense due to excessive dribbling, and on the counter the two Trakia strikers easily combine to blast the ball into the net. Two last-ditch saves by Jan cannot help, and we find ourselves trailing once again. An avoidable 1-2.

We’re about midway into the 2nd half at this point, and fatigue is starting to take its toll. Our passing and running isn’t as accurate, and the Trakia players are pushing forward more frequently which makes things even harder on us. Nevertheless, in a burst of energy and high marksmanship, we manage to pull level again!

A great 1-2 combination between Bruno and Bardia brings our Iranian playmaker forward on the right wing. With a Trakia defender closing down on him, Bardia takes aims and fires his shot precisely inside the first post from a difficult position! We tied it, 2-2!!!

However, lady luck is not being kind to us today, oh no she isn’t.

There’s about 5 minutes left into the game when Trakia obtains a kick-in from the left wing. The kicker decides to take a hard shot on net, which seems to be central enough that it won’t bother Jan. However, a foot deflection by Jon (standing as the lone wall player) gives the ball just enough spin to confuse our keeper yet again, and allow the ball to slip inside the post. 2-3. ARGHHHH!!!

Kevin’s return from injury wasn’t enough to keep the ball out of our net today…It’s a hard blow to our morale. We had come back twice in the game already, but with tired players, no substitutes, and only 4 minutes left it just wasn’t going to happen today. Trakia even obtains another goal as a pass in the center leaves one of their players completely unmarked, with no pressure whatsoever. The forward then simply has to adjust an accurate & powerful shot low into the corner, making it 2-4. That was the first ‘real’ goal of the game for Trakia, but the scoreline doesn’t discriminate on beauty, and we end up losing our big clash.

2-4 final score.

Scorers:
AC
Bardia

We did what we could boys. From the beginning of the day it seemed as if fate had set off a ‘conspiracy’ against us. Only 7 people ready to play, two cars breaking down, no warm-up time, and 3 stupid goals (2 of which were own goals). If someone was sending us a message that we weren’t supposed to win today, it couldn’t have been more clear.

Trakia‘s victory today leaves us in a very tricky situation in the rankings. We are now 3 points behind them, with 3 games left in the season. If the league rules are anything like last year, a tie for points in the final standings should result in a mini-faceoff game, in which the two tied teams will face each other in order to decide the League Champions. In other words, if we are tied with Trakia on points after game 18, we will be playing them again before playoffs to decide who is the Champion. However, for that to happen, Trakia will have to lose one of its remaining games, and I don’t mean to be discouraging, but they don’t exactly have the hardest of schedules.

Either way, our job will be to turn our next 3 league games into victories, no matter what! Some of our main guys should be back from holiday next week (and almost our full roster in 2 weeks), which means that even if we don’t win the league, we have to build up our momentum for playoffs, where’s it’s going to be a whole other balllpark! We’re going to face Trakia again, and when we do, we’re going to prove who is the better team!

Don’t let 2 own goals and a defensive mistake get you down guys, we are much better than this!

GO MISN!!!!

-Marco-