Thursday, November 18, 2010

Games games and more games

This past week we played games on Sunday, Wednesday and again on Sunday. After getting our first win against Kampong that first Sunday, I was excited for the rest of the week. Not only had we got that monkey off our shoulder, our games on Wednesday and Sunday were against Klein Zwitserland and Pinoke, both winnable games. KZ is right down the road in Den Haag and was sitting at the bottom of the Hoofdklasse with just 2 ties. We had known their pain until a few days prior. We weren’t ready to let up though. In fact, we were just getting started! As we took the pitch Wednesday night under the lights, we came out strong, dominating the game and taking a 1-0 lead . Despite our commanding play, we once again were unable to generate a lot of return in our attacking zone. Then, with 10 minutes left in the game, we got a yellow card- just like against Kampong. This time though, we did not hold our composure as well. We got another yellow card just minutes later. With only 9 players on the field, KZ took advantage of our 2-man deficit and earned a corner which gave them the game-tying goal. With just minutes left to play, we were not ready to give up that easy. We fought, despite a player down, to create opportunities, but the time and the 3 points we were chasing seemed to just slip away. It felt like another loss. Although we still got a point in the standings, we knew we let an important win get away from us.

Frustrated and disappointed, we still had to take away the many good things we did in the game. We have to keep playing like that- but for a whole 70 minutes, and we will get results. At times we need to be a bit smarter in attack, including earning more corners and quality shots. Also, we need to be a bit smarter about game situations and the time of game. In other words recognize when we are winning, when we are player down (or 2), and when we need to stay composed to manage the clock.

The last Sunday we played Pinoke, who traveled to our home turf from Amsterdam. Although I thought we were ready to keeping taking a step forward from the last two games, we came out flat in the first half. We gave up a goal off a corner to leave ourselves with a 1-0 deficit going into halftime. Even with a second half surge, we couldn’t find the back of the net. Once again, we left the field empty handed. It can be mentally difficult to see yourself at the bottom of the league, when you know you have the skill to be in the mix of things, competing with everyone. But, it is a team sport, where everyone plays a role, and the discipline and effort must be given for a full 70 minutes. Every team is good in the Hoofdklasse, and no one can be overlooked. That is the beauty of it. You must show up to play every Sunday.

This coming weekend we play at Den Bosch. They are currently vying for the top spot and they have won the majority of the championships in the past 10 years. But we have nothing to lose. We have no expectations. We are the underdogs, and we are going to continue to fight!

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