BCS XI: 1 Carico FC: 3

We were very excited to finally take part in the McKenzie Cup, named for Ucal McKenzie, and get to play against his former team and latest cup winners, Carico FC. From all accounts they are one of the best teams in the Bay State Soccer League and most people probably expected us to get crushed. We feel that the game was even closer than the scoreline suggests. They were the better team, no doubt, but we did not roll over; we stood up and competed.

It was a gray, rainy day and the start was delayed a few minutes because of a lightning strike 30 minutes prior, which gave the head ref and the slowly arriving Carico time to assemble. We started the game with defensive tactics in mind and it paid off. We were organized, composed and doing a great job communicating with one another on the field. We know doubt surprised everyone, perhaps even ourselves when on a counter attack, Owusu slotted a through pass to Joe who got past their defense and delivered a low strike to the far post past the keeper. 1-0 to the underdogs!

It felt great to get a goal, and especially to score first. We deserved it as we had been playing well and moving the ball around. We continued with this kind of play through most of the half. Every one of our boys on the field was playing smart, intense soccer. Through some great defensive play including some nice saves by our keeper Dave we managed to hold them off for most of the half, though they definitely had some chances coming from good crosses and close headers. We felt a bit unlucky when Carico lined up a free kick about 20-25 yards out on the left side and sort of bungled the ball across the line after a good delivery.

After they equalized we had another great chance from our own free kick given about 10 yards inside their half, which Darren took quickly. We caught them off guard and Joe once again was through their defense and sent a similar shot toward goal, but didn't manage to get quite the same power on it and the keeper made the save. It was a close one that we all thought was going in, but we settled to go into the break level at 1-1.

We started the second half much like we'd done in the first, but after about 10 minutes we fell into a lull. We just seemed to lack the intensity that had been there before and it was during this time that Carico took the lead for the first time in the match. A low shot from distance was tough for Dave to keep a hold of, especially when their player came crashing in and practically kicked it out of his hands and into the goal. We were shocked by what had happened and that the ref had done nothing about it. Though, we really should not have been shocked by the ref's decision [or non-call] since he'd missed calls for much of the game going both ways. There were definitely a few bizarre situations with the referees during the game, but that's how it seems to be for BSSL, at least in Div4.

Now, loaded with confidence Carico began their best spell of the game where the difference in class really looked the most evident. They moved around with 1 touch passes creating and pressing forward. Despite this, and our continued stretch of poor form they never really managed to get behind our defense and it was another hard, low shot from distance that took a tough skip and snuck past our diving keeper.

Their 3rd goal seemed to snap us out of our malaise and after nearly going up 2-1 but now finding ourselves down 3-1 we really wanted to get something back. For the final 15-20 minutes we pressed hard kept them on their half of the field for a good portion of the time, though we couldn't manage to get another one in.

So, it ended 3-1, but it was a close game and a hard fought match. We feel good about the way we competed and are especially happy that through the whole game our defense didn't really break down. If we continue to play like this in our league matches we'll have no trouble getting promoted.

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NonLeague America

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