The Motel 6 did me few favors. The old school air conditioning unit generated an unpleasant arctic chill even on “low cool”, I spent most of the night lying in the fetal position unable to sleep. The same fortunately could not be said for Bryson, who by most accounts managed several spells of deep sleep. The alarm sounded at 6:15, I was in the cramped shampoo-less shower by 6:20, and on the way to the game by 6:55.
The field made for a surreal scene on arrival. The early hour and heavy clouds resulted in the field lights being illuminated as though we were playing a night game. There was considerably less dew on the ground, and the game started brightly for us with a spell of sustained possession. We were up for the challenge of a strong opponent, but conceded in the 12th minute after a slick set play from a free kick. Unlike so many moments in the last seven months, our heads did not dip and we played on.
The rain started falling before the half and reached full fury in the early part of the second half which coincided with a 7-8 minute stretch where the game was played in front of our goal. Resolute defending against our opponent and the elements kept the game at 1-0. It was a showing of character so absent in our team history. As they half wore on the weather didn’t relent and neither did our resolve. Fairly late, Bryson had a well-positioned free kick, but hit into the wall. At the final whistle, we lost, but didn’t fall. We will be in Naples in three weeks time to play again for a birth in the sweet sixteen.
I would be remiss if I didn’t rant again against the powers that be for our miserable scheduling. Within fifteen minutes of our final whistle the rain stopped, and thirty minutes after that it was difficult to describe to anyone who wasn’t there the conditions we played in. So not only did we play twice before th crack of daw, we did so in the only games effected by rain. Why? The answer is dark and whorish. We had the misfortune of living 2-2.5 hours from the venue. This put us on the outskirts of the range upon which it would make better sense logistically and economically to drive to the games, and but for the hour of our games this would have been a better option, a fact well known to the organizers of the event. Thus at their corrupt logic we were compelled to pump collectively a few thousand dollars into the local economy. It is my hope that a cancer of great pains seeps into core of their whorish existence for their crimes against decency and a soccer community the pretend to serve.
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