All things considered, it was a game worthy of the occasion, the Final Four of State Cup. FC America and Florida Fire played six weeks ago in the first game of group play. It ended 0-0, just like it stood at halftime today. Both teams are talented and technical. Possession and half-chances matched the score, and a strong sense that a single mistake would decide the match was felt among observers at the half.
It didn’t take long, and it was actually two mistakes, both on set pieces. Poor marking, a flash of indecision and the Fire led 2-0. The goals were at most five minutes apart, and for a few minutes thereafter FC America teetered on the fence of giving up and fighting back. By the end of the second half water break, it was clear the fight back was on.
For the final fifteen minutes of their season, they pressed and pinned the ball in the Fire’s end of the pitch. With about ten to play, they pulled one back, and saw at least another five chances left wanting before the final whistle.
I watched the final fifteen with ironic admiration. We want our teams to fight back against adversity, but had we opened the game with this intensity, it would have been ours. We revealed both what we can be, and what we are; a deeply talented and potent team, but almost tragically disjointed and bereft of technical coherence. Our sum at times equalled, but never exceeded our parts.