Week 9 Recap: Rumble in the Bronx

Forget all the platitudes, all the mealy-mouthed statements about “taking it one match at a time,” and “not looking past [insert bot team here].”  This was it.  This week’s match against Rusko Team United was the fixture we had circled on our calendars ever since it became clear in the early part of the season that the winner of this derby match would not only have local bragging rights, but would also be the presumptive league winner.

Given the importance of this match, many of our fans journeyed up to the Bronx, so it was unsurprising that Rusko were able to sell all 45,000 seats at the Nou Can Caralleu.  However, in a dastardly display of cheating (or “gamesmanship” when we did the same to them), most of our support were denied entry, ensuring that our lads would take the pitch faced with a deafening and implacably hostile crowd.

However, while this might have cowed our young side in the past, it had no effect today.  Our manager, David Jorgensen, gave the pre-match pep talk of his life, tearfully relaying the words of little Billy Jorgensen who, on his deathbed, begged his beloved uncle David for just one more Wanderers victory.  Afterwards, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place, and even I was willing to run through walls for SSW, even though I was the one charged with keeping the “miraculously healed” Billy out of sight until he could be loosed on the post-game spread.

Of course, the other guys must have had a fradulently comatose second cousin or something, because Rusko was up for battle as well and probably would have overrun us but for the heroic man-marking efforts of Janos Pailing who left an indelible, cleat-shaped impression on their best midfielder.  As it was, unlike the cagey, tactical skirmish of our first meeting, this was simply a firefight, a coruscating, end-to-end roller coaster ride, as we spent most of the first half trading haymakers, but unable to draw blood.

Finally, in the 35th minute, a breakthrough!  Our strongest player, Rolando Blackmon-Thomas, simply out-muscled two Rusko defenders to get to a rebound and slam it in for a 1-0 lead.

Rusko began to claw their way back into it, but a second goal right after halftime by The Notorious R.B.T. (as our marketing department sadly insists on calling him) took any remaining win out of their sails.  Terry King neatly headed in a corner kick to add an insurance goal, and we left as 3-0 winners.

With the win, SSW is well set-up for the rest of the season, with four bot games and a home game against the 4th-best team in the league.  The next major question is whether we will face a qualifier to get back to Div IV.  We’re currently level on points with the cut line, but 20 goals back in terms of goal differential.  Between attrition and all the bot games, we can probably close the gap by the end of the season, but it’ll be a close-run thing.

About geigerted