The Kickers’ first team suffered their 2nd loss of the season after being up 2-0 in the first 15 minutes of the game. Goals from Gonzalo Trovato and Bryan Baracaldo where among the few highlights. In opening 25 minutes, the Kickers moved the ball well and controlled most of the half but a goal late in the half gave Ukrainians a breather; it wasn’t a game until then. Second half found the Kickers starting on their back foot after a penalty was conceded early on which tied the game up. Clearly some players were not ready for the game and they looked exhausted, balls were being given away and despite all this, we were able to get some clear opportunities but unable to put away. It was with 15 minutes left that our poor performance gifted a long range shot that caught our keeper off his line and although he was able to get a hand of the ball; it wouldn’t be enough to keep the ball from bouncing in. With our starting 11 on the field for last 15 minutes, we kept pushing forward and getting opportunities but it was not to be. The poor performance from guys coming off the bench would cost us staying on top of league. The Kickers now fall to 5th, 6 points behind league leaders Celtic.
The Kickers’ reserve team snuck away with a victory against an impressive Ukrainians side. While the Kickers did not play their best game, they still managed to control the tempo and maintain possession for large portions of the game. Numerous chances were created by both teams, however, with Marc Meny making a particularly great kick save to keep the game at zeros. with time ticking down, the Kickers switched to a 4-3-3 formation which lead to the defending Ukrainians staying extremely narrow. This allowed for a rampaging Diego Cholula to find space on the weak side and a beautiful pass from Rodolfo Domingo’s released him into a one on one with the keeper. Diego made no mistakes, scoring the game winner in the 88th minute.
With 11 players and a Colombian superstar GK between the pipes, the Kickers held off the Greek Americans and earned a well deserved 0-0 draw. Missing 4-5 starters and having no subs, things looked bleak at the start against the 2nd-seeded Greek Americans side. But the Kickers played tough defense with Mike Morozuk (busied ribs) leading the way, along side Mike Zabroski, Abdi, Stefan and Evan. The midfield anchored by Chris Doyle and Lucas Shanks disrupted each attack from the Greeks and looked to counter with ever opportunity. Alex and Stefan (fighting off the flu) ran the wings, while Anton (calming the middle) and Dimitar (prancing through the opposition defense) were the creators and strike force respectively. However, the story of the game was Chris Villegas in goal. Chris made several one on one saves and gave the team confidence that no matter what the Greeks put forward he would save the day and he would give us a chance to get one of our own. The Greeks also missed a few certain goal scoring opportunities as did the Kickers especially late in the match. But this one felt like a victory for the Kickers against a very talented and well-organized Greek side.
Kickers Legends continued their winning form as well as the make-things-harder-and-more-exciting-than-necessary form by eking out a 3-2 win over a fighting SC Gjoa side. Depleted by last minute absentees, Kickers had just 12 players at kick off and the novelty of DJ playing in goal.
SC Gjoa were clearly fired up as they took the game to a slightly shell-shocked Legends side which were kept pinned in their own half for the first 10 minutes. Kickers almost score on their first break away, but Joe’s laser cross from the far right to Wale two feet from the left post was tapped out in the wrong direction. As Kickers weathered the early pressure and began to take charge of the game, Joe was scythed down by an eager Gjoan and the referee immediately pointed to the spot. Wale converted the penalty easily despite trepidations from his last miss. Wale would be on target again few minutes later when Joe provided a brilliant back-heeled assist that left Wale with an open goal to shoot into for the 2-0 lead. DJ showed of his natural athleticism in goal by leaping and punching at the few balls that came his way to keep the clean sheet at half time.
In the second half, Joe was again fouled in the box, and he took the penalty himself, cleanly, for the 3-0 lead. It was at this point, of course, that Kickers, instead of romping off to a huge famous victory, decided to make it worthwhile for the few fans present; first by giving away a penalty, and then by allowing a free-kick to be scrambled in, to create the dramatic, tense and anxiety-laden last minutes.