Archive for July, 2018

2

Jorgensen Out!

The great Eduardo Galeano once wrote “the manager believes soccer is a science and the field a laboratory, but the genius of Einstein and the subtlety of Freud is not enough for the owners and the fans.  They want a miracle worker like Our Lady of Lourdes, with the stamina of Gandhi.”

In the case of David Jorgensen, his first two years as our manager contained enough miracles to satisfy even our most restless supporters.  Combining a pragmatic defensive approach with a penchant for inspiring the lads to perform above their abilities, Jorgi transformed SSW into a side that no one wanted to play- a well-drilled machine capable of turning matches against far better sides into stalemates, squeezing out draws where we should lose, and even stealing the occasional match with a well-timed counter attack.  And the results followed- we somehow managed to make a relegation qualifier in a division we had no business earning a point in then, after a heartbreaking defeat in said qualifier, rallied the side to promote straight back up with ease the following year, and made consecutive runs to the fourth round of the US Open Cup, not to mention a Golden League Masters appearance.

Last year, however, the magic ran dry.  Whether he became jaded following a dust-up with erstwhile star forward Rolando Blackmon-Thomas, or whether the players had simply heard all his speeches before, his ability to motivate the side notably waned.  In addition, his defensive approach seemed to begin to hold the side back, turning a team that had previously been a scrappy underdog into a lousy favorite, as we dropped two matches to a deeply inferior St. Croix Destroyers side and drew several other games they should have won.  Worse, we started to pale in comparison to sister side Racing Winnebago, who scored buckets of goals and progressed further than we did in the Masters.

Pressured by an impatient fandom, the Board acted, consigning Jorgensen to the Outer Darkness of professional punditry and anointing baking enthusiast Ruggero Panero a new savior.  Panero, for his part, has attempted to restore faith by promising a more expansive, midfield-centric approach, shipping off malcontent Janos Pailing and making three new signings: utility defender Kurt Krenski, maverick Vietnamese winger Le Chieu and, most shockingly of all, an actual forward in the person of one Gabor Horvath.  Panero even stated that we might play with more than one up top for the first time in over a year!  Clearly a revolution is afoot.

Still, while the fans and ownership are thrilled with our new messiah, at least until we actually play a match, I can’t help but to feel a twinge of regret for Jorgi, who took us to new heights and kept us there, and to wonder if he had a point when he stated that playing a more aggressive game would put us at a disadvantage to our more-established league mates and put us at risk of heading back down to V.  I sure hope not.

0

Weeks 10-14: Road to the Fourth Place Trophy

Apologies for the longer-than-anticipated gap in coverage.  Unfortunately, events sometimes conspire to prevent even a humble club secretary such as myself from updating this journal.  If you must know, the conspiring events in question were the Mad Magyars, Jonas Pailing and Abel Jonas, who somehow snuck a sheep into our dressing room, requiring me to source extra janitorial help, those hair-clipper things used to shave sheep, a shochet and, finally, a suitable mint jelly provider.  Let us never speak of it again.

Anyway, for those of you interested in the non-ovine aspects of the last stages of the season, Week 10 saw us go on the road to take on Cavaliers VFC, one of the better teams in our league.  Perhaps in response to the widespread criticism of his Fabian tactics, manager David Jorgensen abandoned his beloved counter-attacking strategy and ordered SSW to actually contest midfield.  For much of the match, it seemed like this gamble would be successful, as we took a 1-0 lead (courtesy of a Denzell Koszarek goal) into the latter stages of the match.  However, disaster struck in the 84th minute as the Cavs grabbed an equalizer against the run of play and we were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw.

After a comfortable 3-0 win over already-relegated San Jose Sharks, we then trekked cross-country to take on league leaders Celtic SFO.  The lads battled hard, but just couldn’t get enough possession of the ball, leading to a frustrating 1-0 defeat that put us into the relegation qualifier spots and led the chairman to give Jorgensen a deeply unconvincing vote of confidence.

As a result, with the season on the line and the #JorgensenOut movement reaching a fever pitch, we headed down to Kentucky to take on then fourth-place Reddinrdboyz with the season on the line: win and we had a lifeline, while a loss or draw would have us (ok, me) printing up tickets for a qualifier.  With such a critical match before us, it was an open question how the young Wanderers would react.  Fortunately for us, things got off to a good start as, 15 minutes in, Jonas put aside thoughts of sheep-related capers and got loose on the wing, finding Alex Barton with a cross that he slotted home for a 1-0 lead.  Koszarek added a second, but they pulled one back just before the half, to the disquiet of our travelling support.  At such a critical juncture, Jorgensen abandoned his usual team talk pursuits of trying to draw up 0-0-10 formations and eating tins of those dry little Danish butter cookies, instead deciding to try to motivate the lads for once.  It worked.  After a nervy few minutes, Jonas was able to to beat his man and scored to make it 3-1, at which point the ‘boyz collapsed.  Barton, Nick King and Freddy Krug all scored late and we left as 6-1 winners.

Still, all would be for naught, if we didn’t get a result against Amish Wife Collectors, the best attacking team in the league, and a group who figured to come to Slingsby Lane guns a’blazing as they had a chance to nab the league title with a win.  Finally, the moment for our defend-and-counter tactics had come.  We bunkered in, parked the bus, put another bus on top of that bus, and whacked the occasional long ball in the general direction of a winger.  This actually paid dividends for us in the ninth minute, as Terry King got in behind their high defensive line for a 1-0 lead.  However, Carlo Hopp, AWC’s golden boot winning striker promptly equalized, and we went into halftime tied.  During the second half, our fate hung in the balance as we desperately staved off attack after attack.  Finally, in the 82nd minute, central defender Chopper Sellers took off down the field in defiance of all reason and common sense, catching most of the AWC defense upfield.  A quick give-and-go with Barton later, and he smacked in the winning goal, and fourth place was ours!

Of course, there are many questions facing us this offseason.  Will the last two weeks be enough to save Jorgensen?  Will he even want to stay?  Can we knock it off with the defense training already and start playing football again?  Can we sell those two sheep-rustling so-and-so’s?  Where did they find a sheep in Manhattan anyway?  Perhaps, in defiance of all precedent, we’ll get some clarity this off-season.