Sunday, June 24, 2007
What was it I said yesterday? ""What a game!"" I think I spoke too soon. Today's game against the Kentucky State Cup champions United 1996 FC International came close to one of the most amazing and hard fought games I've ever seen my son and his team play.
United had some amazing players and the ability to step up the speed of play testing all of our offensive and defensive capacities. Magic entered the game with energy and a strong will to emerge victorious. Likewise, United pursued the same agenda. Magic scored first (I'm a mom, so I'll brag that my son scored off a very well place header from Bobby Novak). United worked hard to offset our attack, but Magic thwarted them and when we didn't quite succeed in stepping in front of their shots, United had the soccer curse of hitting the post. Magic had a few shots of their own that sailed over the net, or landed in the keeper's grip, but they kept their momentum going. Magic also subbed early in some cases, and often, but there was little change in momentum with new players on the pitch. In fact the team mounted some excellent offense. One of our early subs, Geoff Bowman, was responsible for our second goal. We ended the first half up 2-0. Then things got really interesting.
Both teams came on to the field to begin the 2nd half with renewed energy and the hearts of warriors. Despite some very heavy air and temperatures hovering around 77 degrees, the players on both sides ramped up their intensity. Unfortunately for Magic, United's intensity overshot ours for the opening moments. They scored a quick amazing goal off a set piece, and then were awarded a PK, which they nearly didn't make thanks to our quick moving GK. But alas it skidded out of the fingers and into the goal. Because of our tie with Nebraska Arsenal yesterday, Magic could not afford another tie. It was time to step up and give even more. The team dug deep, and found it in their hearts, their legs, their lungs, and their minds to pour it on.
With a long rip following a great run, Magic went up 3-2 and then on our own PK Kevin Bick slammed the back of the net with the clincher. With the whistle Magic had won 4-2, but the score didn't tell the story of how hard and well United fought. They made Magic strive harder because they raised the bar for soccer play. United maintained a fast pace, and didn't give up one second.
What I loved about this game was that every Magic player contributed on the field to the win. This was a win for the team and this was a win for each boy. I love when that happens. I know that a coach can tell the players that their support on the bench is as important as playing on the field, but I don't think anyone really believes that. Today, each player was needed, each player met the challenge, and each player fulfilled an important role in the win. I'm not sure I can take a game more intense than was played today, but I'm sure that if Magic expects to move on to US Youth Soccer National Championship they will find themselves reaching deep to muster the intensity needed to win. How often can I say ""What a game""? As often as I need to!!