After another lackluster first half, the Kickers first team had to overcome a 2-1 deficit to keep their playoff hopes alive. With the wind at their back and the ball skipping ahead on the wet turf at Verrazano Park, the Kickers maneuvered the ball on three separate occasions toward the goal, each finding the foot of Brian Morris who calmly slotted all three home for the hat trick and the 4-2 win.
Manhattan Kickers Legends showed no let up despite having sealed the regular season title last week. Taking on a very skillful Doxa Legends team that needed points to confirm their playoffs position in cold wet conditions, Kicker Legends scored its fastest goal in history when Dylan Dodd thumped the ball into the net from 30 yards with his first touch around the 30th second of the game.
Unfortunately the lead was not to be enjoyed long as Doxa pulled off a similarly thumping shot also from distance, additionally wind whipped to flummox Tim in goal. Fortunately, minutes later, Wale was put through on goal for a one on one, which the keeper addressed by diving and tripping Wale with his hands, for which the referee gave a penalty without hesitation. Wale claimed and finished perfectly the PK he created.
In the second half, with the wind and rain picking up, Doxa threw bodies forward to make life difficult for the Kicker defense. But Tim, DuPuy, DJ, Kevin and Yadh prevailed and it was a matter of time before the Kickers’ counter-attacks bore fruit.
First Joe and Christian combined down the left for Joe to score for the 3-1 cushion. And then Joe connected with his head on the right side, ending a fluid movement down the left between Dan and Christian, with Dan providing the lofted assist to Joe for the 4-1 win.
The first 15 minutes could not have started any better for the Kickers. Nick Bill took the ball deep into Pancyprian territory, then found Abdi open at the top of the box, Abdi's missed shot fell to Ardian who hit a cross to Alex Petrovic who hammered home the header for the 1-nil lead. A few minutes later, Khouri Mullings took on the Cypriot defender forcing the hand ball in the penalty area. Khouri converted the PK for the 2-nil lead.
Those were the high-points of the match for the Kickers. The next 60 minutes tilted in favor of the Pancyprians. While the rest of the match was played in a steady cold rain, the Kickers found themselves playing mostly on the back foot. Mark Bau (MVP) was the hardest working player on the field running down the opposition, trying to slow the attack but when Abdi went down with a groin injury, the Kickers were essentially playing with 10 men the final 30 minutes. Once again having no subs (with 4 players pulling out just before the match start) was our undoing.