Benicia   Arsenal   FC  2000
 
If you weren't amazed w/ our girls after today's game, you clearly were checking your iPhone or Blackberry way too much and missed an unbelievable comeback marred by a bizarre, unfortunate ending to a great game.

First and foremost, Happy Birthday Antonia!!! We still owe you a big song... in the confusion at the end of the game we weren't able to sing for you and I apologize.

This third NorCal Cup Seeding game was coached by John. Just as Jason coached the second vs. the Mustang Sabercats, John drew the shortest straw (Ajax beat the Mustang Sabercats 3-1 earlier Sunday), but coached a great game adjusting the girls and giving breathers w/ the lone sub.

Kickoff was to start at 1:00pm in Modesto. Only nine of our girls made it, leaving us one sub on the sideline. The field had been extremely overwatered and as a result was intensely humid at field level. 

Normally I might say the girls looked sapped at the beginning of the game, but to start the game our girls strung together four (!!!) passes from the opening kickoff, which seemed not only promising but actually looked awesome.

That was just the beginning though, as w/i 3 minutes of the start of the game Ajax went up 2-0 w/ two quick goals.


After that, the girls got a quick one back and hung w/ Ajax, winning more 50-50 balls than their opponents, but not being able to create in the final third. By mid-way through the second half, despite great hustle and heart, our girls were down 4-1.

They could have given up. They could have gotten down on themselves and/or each other. But they did neither.

The last 10 or 15 minutes of the game were just a joy to see. Our girls found another gear and willed themselves back into the game. Zizou scored two more (all three for the day) and had her best effort of the year. She was a true warrior who just would not be denied against a clearly equal opponent in the Ajax central defense. Rocky played like her nickname... tough as nails, she never stopped exhausting herself working for the ball. She also made some of the best passes of the year against one of our toughest opponents, and deserves high praise for her efforts. O'Hara played her heart out too. She raced up and down the field, supporting the defense when necessary, and constantly winning 50-50 balls in midfield. 

But you can't say anything other than heroic about Solo's efforts in goal. Great save after save, great hustle coming out w/o fear to win 50-50 balls, just an outstanding effort.

Then "it" happened. A collision and some very inappropriate, unsportsmanlike behavior later by the Ajax player, and w/i a minute or two the game was over. Confusion.

Final Score: 4-3. If that game goes just a few minutes more the girls easily equalize, if not win. Bummer it ended like it did, when it did, as it took a bit of shine off the girls absolutely superior efforts.

What the girls did today was show tremendous heart... I am honored to be their coach after a game like today. They work together, win together, and today lost together, but they gave superior effort along the way, and that journey is what I am so excited about being a part of, more so after today seeing how wonderful they played.

Now if we could just get our entire team on the field again... (it'll be over a month come this Saturday)
 





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