Adding Three Points
A few Sundays ago, we played another Fox Soccer Channel game against Bay Area. This time it was on our home turf. My good friend plays on Bay Area that played with me the past two summers with SoccerplusCT Reds and some time with the U-21s, Kristen Graczyk, so I met her for dinner the night before. It was great to catch up on all of the changes in our lives, past and future. We could not believe how quickly the season has gone.
It is tough playing a team more than once in one season, but it is even harder to play against an opponent six times. So far we were 4-0 against the Gold Pride (2 preseason scrimmages and 2 regular season games). This gave us a little confidence. However, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. It can be anyone’s game on any given day and the Gold Pride should not be taken lightly.
We were able to score two great first half goals to give us the lead going into half time. In the seventeenth minute, Martina, our Canadian center back, volleyed a Bay Area clearance off of our corner kick into the goal. Camille followed up with a slide to make sure of it. A few minutes later, Marta received a great pass from Boxxy, dribbled into the box and blasted a left footed shot past the keeper.
In the second half, we pressured Bay Area with our possession in their own defensive half. Although we created some chances, we were unable to put any more away. Fortunately, we were able to hold on to the 2-0 lead, thwarting any kind of Gold Pride attack, and continued our winning streak.
A Little Magic
One of the perks of living in the Los Angeles area is the possibility of running into a celebrity. However, that chance increases when one of your neighbors is someone famous. You wouldn’t recognize him if you saw him. And you probably have not heard of his name. But our neighbor is well known for many reasons.
The team that he owns, the Pittsburg Penguins, just won the Stanley Cup, so he had a celebration at his house on Saturday afternoon. KK officially got the invite from Ronald, but it was extended to our whole house. Unfortunately, we were going to miss most of the party due to training in the morning (why does soccer always get in the way?!), but we were able to catch the end.
Walking up his driveway (guarded by at least 15 valet and security guys), we were impressed by the landscaping and grandeur of his house. Through a hallway and into the backyard, we cautiously inched forward on the patio, taking it all in. Pushing KK in front of us (she is the more outgoing one), we thanked Ronald for inviting us, and timidly walked over to the Stanley Cup.
As we chatted around the Stanley Cup and took pictures touching the precious trophy (can’t say that everyday can you?), we glanced over our surroundings, stopping at faces, trying to decide who was who. One familiar face caught our attention. “No, it couldn’t be,” we thought. “Yes it was.”
As we whispered, “That’s Magic. Magic Johnson” to each other, Ronald came back over to our circle that we formed to talk to us about the season. Magic eventually politely joined in the conversation. After a few jokes, we took some pictures with Magic. He was definitely twice as tall as Aya. I was very intimidated just looking at him, but he was the nicest, most genuine guy/athlete/legend (take your pick).
Magic and Ronald promised to come to one our games. I just hope they make us a sign. After all, what are neighbors for?
We Are Definitely From California
The day after the Bay Area game we flew to St. Louis to play the Athletica. The moment we got off the plane we melted. It was so humid that I think my lungs refused to work through the thick air. After grabbing our bags, we reluctantly headed outside into mugginess to find our bus.
The next day for our training session was just as humid. I felt like I was back at home in CT. After a good warm-up, Coach Abner had us work on our attacking shape playing in a 4-5-1, a formation we don’t usually play.
Despite our new attacking formation, we were unable to create any dangerous chances on goal. At right midfield, I tried to join Marta, our lone forward, as much I could. For the second half, we changed back to our normal 4-4-2 formation. I moved back to my usual right back position.
Coach Abner’s halftime chat must have ignited the passion that had been nonexistent in the first half. Within the first five minutes, Han Duan helped us get on the board. Hanny (my new nickname for her) juggled over an Athletica center back and half volleyed one into the back of the net. Marta added another goal about 25 minutes later. Aly Wagner headed a ball down to Marta who struck one with her right foot (we were surprised by this rare occurrence, that Marta actually used her right foot) into the side netting. Her celebration? She picked up her right foot and gave it a little kiss. She should use her right foot more often.
Right after our second goal, the Athletica pushed on and played more direct. Their efforts paid off, and they were able to slip one by KK. However, we were able to stop any more chances. We were happy to have made it out with another win to add to our streak.
After the game, I was able to talk to my good friend and fellow sports writer JSL. I had heard him taunting me during the game, so I wanted to get him back, although he did make me laugh a few times. He is a big fan of the Athletica and a part of their loud cheering army, so it was hard for him to secretly cheer for me too.
Part 2 of We’re Going Streaking
My next blog will include the Chicago, DC, and St Louis game highlights; a guest appearance; and remembering MJ.