Week 7 Recap: Escape From Oregon

There are days where soccer is truly the beautiful game, where a brightly shining sun turns the pitch into a green and holy stage befitting the most skilled of performers, the men who live to turn sport into poetry.  Turns out that those days generally don’t happen during February in Oregon.  Instead, our match against the Great Grey Owls would be played in the dreaded wintry mix- freezing, driving rain that left turned half the pitch to mud and the other half to ice.

Unsurprisingly, the defenders were able to make common cause with the weather, conspiring to drain all joy from the affair.  The Owls, a team that lives and dies by its defense even under the best of conditions, embraced the occasion, choosing to press and harry our more skilled players all over the pitch, sacrificing their own chances to score in hopes of creating a stalemate.  Why Owls would want a home draw that would effectively end their chances of a league title I do not know but, by gum, did they set their cap for one.

For most of the game, their plan worked.  Wanderers had a few half-chances here and there, but nothing that looked like scoring.  Then, in the 76th minute, it appeared that the Owls’ Fabian tactics would net them a staggering reward as their winger Luis Alberto Carlos was able to press Abel Jonas into a silly turnover in our own end.  Given their defense, it is no exaggeration to say that Carlos had the game on his foot, but his shot trickled wide.

Finally, in the 85th minute, Wanderers made the most of their reprieve.  Jonas atoned for his earlier error, muscling an Owl off the ball and sending a pass up the wing to Terry King, who heading the ball into the space behind the pressing defenders.  Alex Barton, somehow finding a burst of speed despite the mud, was able to beat their fullbacks to the ball, whereupon he calmly rounded the keeper to slot home the only goal of the day and, quite possibly, save our season.

Despite the win, SSW falls into second on goal differential.  Still, our destiny is firmly within our own hands.   We get Owls again this week, but this time at the friendly confines of Slingsby Lane, before heading up to the Bronx for the return fixture against Rusko.  Win both and we win the league.   Of course, it’ll still be February and probably still be raining, but at least it will be a good, wholesome New York City rain.

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