Archive for March, 2014

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The Rivalry of Orange Crush FC and Rising Tide

I’m writing this special post today because later tonight, I will be facing Rising Tide, who is my arch-rival to my team Orange Crush FC. Rising Tide’s owner is my brother and we have had some historical clashes the last 3 seasons. Ever since we started our second teams in South Africa 3 seasons ago, we have claimed every title in the division. Rising Tide claimed the Season 40 title, and Orange Crush FC has claimed the last 2, Season 41 and currently Season 42. We have had a great time competing against each other the last 5 matches and tonight the 6th match could be the last for a while. If I win tonight, I will auto-promote to Div.3. A draw possibly could get me there too, but a loss most likely will put me into a tough qualification match to get to Div.3. Here is a brief history of the rivalry of Johannesburg and how it has evolved the past 3 seasons.

1) May 19th, 2013- Rising Tide 2, Orange Crush FC 3

Our first competitive match against each other with our new teams. Both our teams looked terrible as we tried to figure out what each other would do against the other. I know for this match, I just fielded my best team to see how we would compare. My guess is Rising Tide did the same thing. We both came out in a 3-5-2, which is pretty normal. I bossed the midfield more which gave me enough opportunities to slide a 3rd goal by him. I attacked the wings, feeling it would his weakness on the day.  I barely escaped Riptide Arena with 3 points, and the rivalry was born.

2) August 18th, 2013- Orange Crush FC  2, Rising Tide 1

A moral victory since we were the only team to beat Rising Tide all year, and we did it twice. It was the reverse leg that ended the season, since we started the year with 3 points and took 3 more points away from Rising Tide. But the title was already decided, and Rising Tide, even though lost, were celebrating with a trophy. They marched through the division and claimed the title by 3 points. It was still satisfying beating your rivals, but we finished that year in 2nd. Orange Crush FC Arena was sold out and the fans at least gave us the support that we craved. We came out in a strong 3-5-2 while Rising Tide changed there tactics and went with a 3-4-3. It seemed like a comfortable victory in the end, but again Rising Tide had nothing to lose.

3) September 8th, 2013- Rising Tide 2, Orange Crush FC 2

A very hard fought battle as we were able to steal a point to start the new campaign. The champs were a very tough team, growing in confidence, but for us to go to Riptide Arena and grab a point was huge for our title aspirations. A very sloppy game as Shaheem Maja was red carded right before halftime, and his defender Nathan Ailstock was injuried in the 66th minute. The game was a back and forth affair. I was scored 2 in the first half, he scored 2 in the second half. We both came out in our best 3-5-2 formations. In the end, no one really won the midfield a draw was probably the right result.

4) December 8th, 2013- Orange Crush FC 0, Rising Tide 1

This was a massive blow to our Season 2 campaign. We rolled into this game with 34 points, already have won our first title and had a shot at auto-promotion. This was the time where the club was growing at a ridiculous rate and had all the confidence in the world. A victory at home against our rivals would seal us a shot at Div.3. As the match played out, Rising Tide played a little more defense then in past matchups and came out in a 4-5-1. We came out in a 3-5-2, looking to attack. In the end, the match was bogged down in the midfield, with only 3 opportunities for either team. Rising Tide converted on their only chance and crushed our dreams for auto-promotion. We still won the league by 1 point over Rising Tide who finished 2nd, but now had to go into a qualification match with our confidence low. We would eventually lose that match as well 1-0 and began the off-season with a goal of at least repeating as Champions of DivIV.6

5) December 29, 2013- Orange Crush FC 4, Rising Tide 1

This was the most lopsided match to date. We took care of business to start the season and took our 3 points at home. Exactly what we needed to do if we wanted to win the title this year. We scored on every possible opportunity that we could. We both came out in a 4-5-1, playing very defensive to start the match. Thank God the injury to my defender did not hurt us in the end as Lisimba Mangobe was gone by the 27th minute. Again the midfield was bogged down and nobody had clear possession throughout the match. In the end, the chances were put away by my players and a valuable 3 points went to us, as the rivalry was intensified.

6) March 30th, 2014- Rising Tide v Orange Crush FC

A huge match tonight. We already have claimed the title this year, our 2nd in a row. Rising Tide will finish the year in 2nd. We have finished 1-2 the past 3 seasons. And our matches never fail with excitement. As I’ve scouted my opponent all week, now all I can do is hope my players execute tonight. Another loss would force me to play another qualification match. A draw, and I might squeak my with auto-promotion. And a win, well would mean more than auto-promotion, especially for the Orange fans of Johannesburg.

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Training 3/27/14

We had a very productive training session this past week. We chose to work on passing and had 6 players improve in that category. Passing is a very underrated skill in Hattrick and we will always look to train passing whenever feasible. We will again train passing in the last week of the regular season. The two off-weeks, we have decided to go with Set Pieces. It’s always a good time to work on those, considering you usually only have one friendly during the week, and everyone gets training for that week. It’s a good time to work on a skill that could win you a game at some point. Overall, I’m very pleased with our training was for the year. We made a lot of great strides to improve our players overall skill, and hopefully this will pay off not just for this week, but future weeks down the road.

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Orange Crush FC v FC German Springboks (1-1)

A very disappointing result this weekend. We drew 1-1 against an opponent we have been able to handle in the past. It went the same way as our other draw during the season against SAB Miller Mooks. I won midfield comfortably and had many, many chances to put away plenty of goals. Unfortunately, we die not take care of our opportunities and only scored one goal. Of course, there one chance was a penalty that they easily put away. Again I was very disappointed with the result, and our chance for auto-promotion is very slim now. We still have a slight chance if we draw, or even a better chance if we win against our rivals Rising Tide in the last week of the season. This could be the biggest game in Orange Crush FC’s history next week as we have already wrapped up the division, auto-promotion is on our minds. It will have to be a monumental effort to go to Rising Tide and get a result. Training will be critical this week, along with form and hoping for no injuries in the mid-week friendly. It’s all hands on deck against our bitter rivals. It will definitely be a sell-out and should be watched by everyone in the area. I will be writing a special post this week about our rivalry with Rising Tide and our history over the last 5 matches. Again, thank you for everyone who follows Orange Crush FC, and supports us.

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Training 3/20/14

We had an amazing week of training. We had 3 players pop in our last week of defending training. Chris Grand, our best player, Elphus Mamoepa and Kristian Snape all improved this week. Chris Grand is our best player with TSI skill and overall defending ability. It was a very nice surprise that he jumped another level at the age of 20. Elphus Mamoepa, who is turning into a very versatile backup who can play multiple positions, also saw an unexpected jump. It is very nice to have the non-regualars improve because you never know when you will need these players because of suspensions, injuries, or just form in general. Kristian Snape finally jumped a level. He is our newly promoted youth player and at 17 you need players to improve as quickly as possible as its easier to train players while they are younger. I really wasn’t expecting any players to improve this past week, so this is Christmas come early as we wine down season 3. We have shifted our focus in training to passing. As we want to improve tactically and play different styles, passing becomes more and more important. An even more important note, Hattrick has decided to change our team staffs our put together. This will be critical for next season as we try to come up with the best way to put our staff together as we take training into consideration.

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Mental Shooters v Orange Crush FC (0-9)

We officially clinched the title after thrashing Mental Shooters at there place. We now have won back-to-back titles and accomplished one of our goals going into the season. We pretty much knew we were going to win, so we came out in a different formation then normal, 4-4-2. We got some valuable experience with it going forward and more importantly no injuries afterwards. Winning the title with 2 weeks to go is a huge advantage as we set our goal now to auto-promotion. We now have the ability to go “all-out” and try to win at all costs, knowing the result will not effect our standing. It looked as if this week has given the club some relief as we played well yet again, and actually used some substitutes during the match. We have hit almost every one of our goals this season, which is a great accomplishment, considering I had lofty goals for our club this year. The rest of division saw some lop-sided victories, as Rising Tide took care of FC German Springboks (4-0). SAB Miller Mooks looks like they played Match of the Season against 3Monsters and blasted them 5-0. While the two new teams hooked up, killer pirates and Soccer Teltow 75, with killer pirates winning comfortably 4-0. Even with these results, our division seems to be getting stronger, which is a very good thing. Better competition, only improves your team and makes yourself better. Next week is our last home game of the season against FC German Springboks. I would love to sell out and have the fans party in the stands as we celebrate our new trophy and hopeful victory.

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Training 3/13/14

We had another very successful week of training defending, as 3 players popped. Isaiah Elias, Jongilizwe Neimand, and Mxali Marengo all improved another level. We have had great sessions with defending the past 5 weeks and continue to improve overall our ability as players on the defensive side. Elias and Neimand are starting inner midfielders and Marengo is a winger. These improvements all go to show we are building our team to be very multi-skilled; more than just one-dimensional. This also gives us the flexibility to play players at different positions based on what is needed for the match ahead and makes up less predictable on what formation and tactics we would use for the week. More multi-skilled players who can play more than one position, means less players on the roster, which in turn means less payroll and more money into the coffer of Orange Crush FC. With only 3 weeks left (and 2 off-season weeks), we will train defending for one more week and then concentrate on passing for the last 2 weeks. Passing is the most underrated ability in Hattrick and it improves your team’s ability greatly, especially if you want to play special tactics. Hopefully we can get at least one more pop for defending before we change our training once again.

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Orange Crush FC v Soccer Teltow 75 (5-0)

A very nice result today as we take care of the boys Soccer Teltow 75. The 5-0 result continues our place on top of the table with 31 points. We both came out in a 3-5-2, to try to dominate the possession. We pretty much felt like we had the game in had from the beginning, and I was very happen with the ratings that our club put together for the game. We continue to get better as a club and we definitely showed it today. We continue to have that magical season that could very well put us into Div3. Two shocking results from the weekend, as Rising Tide fell to 3Monsters 4-0. A very surprising result considering the way Rising Tide has played against 3Monsters in previous matches. 3Monsters came to play though, as their ratings showed during the match. That result has now put 7 points in between us and our rivals Rising Tide. A win next week at Mental Shooters will clinch us the title, and give us back-to-back titles. It would be a nice going away present for Coach Tsie who is coaching his last season. Other result that was a bit shocking was killer pirates handling SAB Miller Mooks 4-2. The win for killer pirates was a nice one considering it was only their second game in the league, and a very disappointing result for SAB Miller Mooks who fall to 5th place with the loss. The league has only gotten better with the inclusion of 2 teams which have instantly improved their teams. A competitive division will only make our teams and everyone else’s better. The only bad result coming from the match today was Hemang Rao getting injuried late in the game. He will be out 2 weeks, which could be a blow going forward if he’s not ready for the big rivalry game with Rising Tide at the end of the season. It could be quite the celebration after next weekend, so hopefully you will celebrate with us, as we continue to try to become the best team in South Africa.

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Training 3/6/14

We had a slower session with training this week, but still effective. We had only one player pop, but another young starter named Bob Reid. Our defending training this year has been amazing, as we have had multiple people improve significantly over the past 4 weeks. Because of this, I’ve decided to train defending for another 2 weeks. We continue to see our players and ratings go up in our defensive sectors in the last couple of weeks. In season 1, our defense was our worst part of our team, with numbers of players and skill level. I believe now its one of our strengths going forward, especially when we think about putting 4 or even 5 players at the back. With these improvements to our players on the defensive end, it might force me to change my strategy on the type of coach I want to buy next season. Before I was dead set on getting a defensive coach, but after evaluating my team and skill levels, with sector abilities, that might not be the way to go. I will only have a couple more weeks to decide, as we get ready for season 4.

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killer pirates v Orange Crush FC (1-6)

A very nice victory on the road this past week to get a very important 3 points. We were somewhat concerned with the new team killer pirates, since we haven’t played against them at all, and at this point of the season, need all the points we can get to win the title. We both came out in a 3-5-2 and we both tried to control to flow of the game. With the recent players acquired by killer pirates, their team is pretty formidable already. But we still controlled the game and the scoring chances, and were able to place 6 goals away with again multiple players at different positions. It’s nice to get goals from everywhere on the pitch. The win keeps us on top of the table with 28 points. Rising Tide easily disposed of ALLY CAT FC and won 10-0 to stay 4 points back. We have a very nice schedule the next 2 weeks, playing against the 2 bots, ALLY CAT FC and Mental Shooters. We should be able to boost our goal difference to a point where we won’t have to worry about auto-promotion. It will strictly be based upon points, if we win the league. On a nice side note, Shaheem Maja registered 7 stars in our last match, which is our greatest output to date. We continue to grow as a club, all-around, which is a great sign to see since we are looking at auto-promotion. We should see more youngsters in the next 2 weeks as we have easy opponents, which should help continue the growth of the squad. I’m very glad to see that we are coming close to hitting almost all of our goals this year.

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Training 2/27/14

We had a very productive week of training again for our club. We had 2 players improve a level in defense, Pat Darcy and Thilivhali Ralekhetla. Pat Darcy continues to improve in every category and is turning into a very good all-around winger. Darcy, who will turn 19 in a couple of days, is already a constant starter in the lineup, and has the honor of being the first ever home-grown player for Orange Crush FC. If he continues to grow, the sky is the limit for this kid. Thilivhali Ralekhetla, 18, improved a critical level this past week despite getting banged up. We have decided because of his quick specialty, to convert him into a winger.  He will get more than his fair share of training in the next couple of weeks and will most likely get the start this weekend for the suspended captain Simphiwe Mutakanyi. The improvement is another step in the right direction for Orange Crush FC. We will continue to improve on defending since we keep getting excellent results in training.