Week 1 Recap: The Journey Begins

After all the drama of the off-season, Steeple Sinderby Wanderers returned to the pitch this week.  For us, as a newly promoted team, anything better than auto-relegation back to Division V qualifies as a success this year.  Realistically, our survival depends on beating out two of the other three newly-promoted teams, with any points we can take from the more-established sides a greatly appreciated bonus.

To make matters worse, we have no chance to ease into the division this year, as we play last year’s top three teams in our first three matches.  This week’s opponents, the misguidedly affectionate Amish Wife Collectors, last season’s third-place finishers, are an all-out attacking juggernaut, with an offense that would not be out of place in the MLS and a midfield stronger than anything we could hope to match.  Notably, our manager decided not to try and fire up the lads overmuch.  Instead, we would stay cool, collected and organized, allowing the five at the back to soak up the pressure as best they could, and try to hit them on the break.

The key to this plan was the two newest Wanderers:  Ronald Sellers was responsible for marshaling our backline, making sure that none of their star forwards had the time or space necessary to work their magic, while keeper Chris Masters would need to be at his best in order to turn away the chances they did get.

In any event, the Wife Collectors unsurprisingly controlled the early going, and their defenders naturally began to keep a higher and higher line.  This proved to be their undoing when, in the 22nd minute, Sellers was able to send a long ball down the left flank, setting up a footrace between the Flying Typo, Luis Aldair Misarscabame, and two shocked Polygamist defenders.  There could only be one winner in that scenario, and Misariscabame finished off the move by rounding the keeper and slotting the ball home, giving SSW a shock 1-0 lead.

For the next few minutes, we had the giants off balance, and the chances started to come.  Koszarek had an open shot from the edge of the box, while Jonas was able to get on the end of a free kick.  However we could not get the second goal and, by halftime, there was a sense of an opportunity lost.

By the second half, it was clear that the Polygamists had righted the ship, and it seemed like nearly the entire 45 minutes were played in our end.  After a couple top-notch saves from Masters, the inevitable breakthrough came in the 59th minute, as Victor Molleda got free on the right and was able to knock in a cross for the equalizing goal.

However, that equalizer would be all they would get.  We were able to play with a composure belying our youth and choke the remaining life out of the game, holding on for what may well be a critical 1-1 draw.

 

 

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