Nightmares vs Lightning
Top team meets the bottom. A betting man would have picked the Lightning. Little that man would know that the Lightning was about to have a Nightmare. It was more like a Battle of the Titans rather than a one-sided affair. Before the battle, news from the frontlines came in. Seamus was out. So General Trabulsey devised a simple strategy: Contain Dillon, win the game. She assigned Lieutenant Nico Ress for the job. In war, you can plan all you want but sometimes the winds of chance can ruin the best laid plans. When the battle started, Nico was nowhere to be seen. So the Lightning drew first blood, and it came quick. Dillon (Now you see me now you don’t) Suresh headed a ball in making the Nightmare defense scratch their heads. It turned out to be a game of long balls for the Nightmares. And their secret weapon Major Jose sneaked behind the lines of the Lightning defense and shot a zinger. 1-1.
Nico joined the game keeping Dillon at bay. And soon after Jose got another long ball straight from the Quartermaster Sgt Mutlu and thundered another in. Things were going well for the Nightmares. When second half began, Dillon did his magic and put another one over the line. Guess who wasn’t on the field: Nico. After that as it happens every game, Nightmares started to run out of gas. The game started to tilt in favor of the Lightning. But Nico was a monster out there frustrating Dillon at every turn. He followed this up with a kick in for Colonel Metin who after having his shot blocked kicked it over the goalie. Then they parked the bus in front of their net, and deflated every Lightning strike. As they pushed, Lightning left their defense vulnerable to Jose’s bullseyes. And like the postman, he delivered. Another long ball, a quick right and left, he rammed a shot into the net, this time with his left. General Trabulsey would be proud.
Red Bulls vs Vaders
The prime-time game featured a mid-field battle between former teammates (and bff’s) Winnett and Di Re. With Captain Ivan missing (rumors were he was in Orlando recruiting Canadian national player Cyle Larin), the tactics were left to Di Re and, in true Italian fashion, he stressed tight defense and counter-attacks (with stud striker John Altinian). It was the Vaders however, that came out strong, with Winnett, Bob “the terror” Tian and Prem Chattani blasting shots on goal. Crisp passes and wonderful setups by Winnett were met by strong saves by Murat. The Red Bulls defense trio of Ted, Eddie and Wayne did not break (helped by Scott Tudo’s solid defensive midfield role). The Red Bulls caught the Vaders on a counter, with Raul Varillas setting up Gabriel Ajon in front of the net … 1-0 Red Bulls!
The second half started like the first, with the Vaders continuing to push and the Red Bulls relying on the counter. The midfields of both teams battled hard. Raul had a few chances to counter, however, they were met with bigger saves by Frank Alimena. Late in the game, Raul played the role as setup man again, with a give and go with Altinian … a slick move by Altinian and a nicely placed ball into the corner … 2-0 Red Bulls! Minutes later the whistle blew and the Red Bulls earned a hard fought 3 points.
-John Di Re
Direwolves vs Emeralds
Week 4 saw a preseason rematch of the Emeralds and Direwolves, both early season favorites, both starving for goals since week 1. Odds makers were helpless to predict this one. Direwolves were down to one sub and without their fearless leader Alex, the plan was short shifts and capitalize on mistakes from a hungry Emerald squad, that didn’t happen… Turns out the Emeralds were low on subs and had the same plan! First half saw both teams trading rushes with opportunities at both ends but nothing that Brad and Kevin couldn’t handle. Towards the end of the half (I think it was the first half, this goalie has a hard time paying attention when the ball is nowhere near him apparently) with Theo leading the charge the cross was made into the box for an easy tap in for Kaveh. 1-0 Wolves.
The second started with both teams starting to show fatigue, Direwolves desperate to keep the lead, Emeralds desperate to get back in it. With both keepers standing tall and maintaining the score, Neil of house wolf made a brilliant header only to be denied by the crossbar. Emeralds, inspired by the crossbar’s defence pressed the attack. Mario came up the wing and absolutely gave everything he had into a shot (and I mean everything, this report is being typed with one hand!) but Bonner kept it out. From the resulting corner Sam made the header towards the net, this ball had its eyes set on the far corner but Scott stood firm and headed it to safety. The pack was getting tired and the green diamonds were getting more and more desperate, Victor C made a charge up the wing, looking for a shot-pass the cross was denied by Hector which came right back into Victor’s face! He was down but thankfully alright (no word on his modeling career but word from the Emerald camp is “day-to-day” with an upper body injury). With Victor out, the Emerald’s were without sub’s and Captain Callahan took matters into his own hands. He charged down the wing at full tilt (no wolf was getting in the way of this freight train!) and cut in for the equalizing shot, Bonner was up to the challenge and managed to deflect the shot off his foot, but this ball was determined finding a path through the five hole, it wanted to cross the line! Equally determined to earn his first clean sheet of his career, Bonner reached back and secured that possessed soccer ball. When the ref determined he had seen enough action for one day and blew his whistle, the score stayed at 1-0.