Lightning Strike FC sit atop the standings after week 2.
Emeralds vs Lightning Strike
With Emeralds coming off from a huge win in the opening week, it was up to Lightning Strike FC pull off an upset. The game began with Lightning stringing passes and creating chances, though none were converted. Lightning’s inability to convert in the opening minutes allowed Emeralds players to settle and they quickly pounced on a mistake which allowed them to score and take the lead. Credit to Lightning, they continued to believe in their abilities and were rewarded when Dillon Suresh headed in from within the area off of a corner. Emeralds were soon back on the front foot, and scored a second before half time. 2-1 Emeralds at the half.
Second half saw Lightning Strike FC coming out strong, forcing Emeralds keeper Kevin Bonner into multiple world class saves. Both teams then had golden scoring chances and it took a smart save from Lightning keeper Prathesh Senthil to deny Emeralds increasing their lead. This, however, provided lightning the spark, and Dillon Suresh scored 2 more goals in quick succession bringing the game to 3-2 Lightning. Seamus Lynott then sealed the victory for Lightning with a late goal. The game ended 4-2 for Lightning.
**There were lots of talking points for this game: controversial calls, players running off the field for no apparent reason, big saves from both keepers. Subscribe to Premium Pass for full match report, expert analysis, player interviews. First 5 subscribers gets a free signed T-shirt from any of the players.
Red Bulls vs Direwolves
While the bookies had this as a high scoring affair – the game turned out to be much tighter than expected. It was the Red Bulls who opened the scoring 10 minutes into the match as John Altinian and Mily Chen put pressure on Direwolves defense who coughed up the ball in front of Bonner. It was Mily who pounced like a cat on a mouse and slotted the ball on the bottom left corner.
A second goal followed soon after when Di Re found Ivan G open on the right side. Ivan fired a shot that was redirected off a defender and into the back of the net. They say that fortune favours the brave and the Red Bulls felt that they earned their luck.
John Altinian’s frustration was growing throughout the game as he failed to capitalize on a few opportunities. He did come good though and scored a third goal for Red Bulls. Direwolves committed a turnover in the midfield and a quick pass to Altinian followed by a powerful shot and the game was 3-0. Direwolves didn’t quit though and this game was a battle right until the final whistle blew.
Vaders v. Nightmares
The Vegas bookmakers favoured Vaders early on, but that would change closer to the kickoff. Almost a third of the Vaders team was not available due to purported OTPP off-site event. James Sharman of Sportsnet later revealed that certain players may have been sent down to the Vaders’ minor league affiliate, Vaders-905. Captain Fernando declined to comment.
The game itself began with heavy pressure from Nightmares. Crisp passes between Metin controlling the middle and Hans flying down the right wing side terrorized the opposing team. Vaders opted for the tried-and-true counter attack methods, with Andrew Winnett dangerously exploiting the Nightmares D on several occasions. Alas, both teams lacked the ability to finish. 0:0 at the half.
The second half continued with pressure from the team in green. Nightmares – hungry for their first win of the season – established a blitzkrieg in the Vaders zone, pelleting the opposing net with all the artillery they were able to sneak into the Hangar. Frankie stood tall, denying several opportunities, and displaying miracles, even at point-blank range. It was Vaders who would strike first: on a rare corner in the Nightmares zone, Mohammad delivered the ball on a silver platter for Fernando, who literally walked the ball into the Nightmares net. A tic-tac-toe, just like they practiced it earlier in the week.
Vaders defended heavily from that point on, clinging to the narrow margin by the skin of their teeth. Yet, it was not meant to be – with less than 2 min left in stoppage time, Natasha sneaked behind the Vaders defense and smashed the equalizer into the back of the net. Final score: 1:1