Saturday dawned cloudy and cool, no wind – perfect weather for soccer. However, the Strikers had one draw and one loss, and were playing in the “Pool of Death” – Fullerton, Dallas, Chicago and Weston. All these clubs are first class competitors, physically and mentally tough. It would take a supreme effort for our boys to advance to the second round.
The Strikers’ first game Saturday was against the Dallas Texans, a big, tall team with a physical style of play. Their strategy emphasized long throw-ins near the goal to take advantage of their size. The run of play was pretty even in the first half. Our boys struck first this time. The Texans countered with a long goal, and the half ended even. Once again, we dominated play in the second half, but could not score again. Our boys held the Texans at bay for a draw. Overall, our lads were once again the better team, but we just could not get the result. At this point, it seemed that we would not advance to the second round of play, although mathematically the Strikers still had a chance.
The final game of the day was against Weston FC, another physical team who threw everything they had at us from the kick-off. They scored early on a very difficult shot. However, our boys did not give up, and fought back hard on both ends of the field. The lads were rewarded with a header in Weston’s goal, followed shortly afterward by another. The Strikers took a 2-1 lead to half time, and once again outplayed their opponents in the second half. The boys had several shots on goal, and territorial advantage, but could not score. The defense held firm once again, and the Strikers took the victory.
With the win, the Strikers advanced to the second round of play. Few had rated the boys’ chances to emerge from the “Pool of Death”, but, to their credit, they fought hard and never gave up. The play has been very physical, and the team is nursing some injuries (nothing serious). The boys will give their best effort and will keep pushing ahead. The game tomorrow is at 9.25 am.