Raiders 0-3 Olympic
Another Friday night tie against a devilishly tricky Olympique proved to be, once again, an unfortunate result for Raiders, seeing us fall 3-0. Talk about mind games, push and pull, and a bit of nasty (both discrete and blatant) tackles, coming from both clubs.
Raiders started in what had been a very strong 3-5-2 formation, which had served them splendidly the previous matches. Yet, as Coach Colin the Calm warned us, yet again, we let the French get into our heads. We reacted like a temperamental and hotheaded 14-year old male who couldn’t convince Sandy to give him a reach-around at the Sunday matinee.
We knew going into the match we were a more skilled and fit side than Olympique, yet, we fell for their wind up merchant madness, again.
Raiders started out strong, seeing Mirko the Mild in nets, Collin the Calamitous, Scott the Anchorman, and Captain Jerry as the back 3.
Wonderful Wouter, Machine Mick and Nicolas the Nice played in the middle of the park, with Gary the Gasher on the left and Virile Vincent on the wide right.
Starting up front was Amusing Andy and Nico the Nice Guy.
Richie the Rapid, Danny Vicious Vo, Cool Hand Luke, Edwin the Enigma, and the fittest lad in Saigon, Sean Sweeney, were at the ready on the sidelines, rearin’ to go when called upon.
Both teams started out strong, although Olympique had a bit more of the possession in the first ten minutes, patiently working the ball around. Raiders were scrappy enough though, and got stuck in, winning balls and moving forward. Then, Raiders started taking it to ‘em, making the most of a very attacking formation.
As Colin had warned, the French side did an excellent job of holding a high defensive line, thereby condensing the pitch and clogging an already stuffy Raider central midfield.
Then, completely against the run of play, an Olympique midfielder caught all of us off guard, chipping Mirko from 40 yards out. 1-0 Olympique.
Moments later, an Olympique midfielder slipped a forward in behind, whence he chipped the ball of the crossbar. The ball bounced on the ground to Gary the Gasher. As Gary was preparing to boot the ball into the parking lot, he was MOST ASSUREDLY dragged back by an opposing forward, who then kicked the ball into an open net. 2-0 Olympique.
Both of these goals absolutely came against the run of play. It was all about how Raiders dealt with things from there.
Quite promptly, Cataclysmic Collin completely lost the plot and cynically went clattering into one of the French defenders. Crazy Collin and the Frenchman proceeded to engage in unintelligible French, among a myriad of other alien tongues. The referee promptly booked Collin for being a bit too cavalier. Coach Colin the Cool-Headed immediately subbed the highly agitated American off the pitch.
The Raiders most assuredly had more opportunities to score on the French, yet were unable to capitalize in the first half. The half ends Raiders trailing 2-0.
I don’t really recall the rest of the game, considering I am fuming on the sideline.
The final nail in the coffin came when we were all caught out much too high. The Olympique midfield slipped in two attackers. Several Raiders hailed for an offside call, which the linesman did not give. Mirko comes streaking out nearly 50 yards to make an attempt, whence the striker stroked it into goal from 40 yards out.
Yet again, this goal came against the run of play. Raiders held their own, but fell short, strained by a long season (plus some lingering rotgut from Beijing).
Colin was correct. We let Olympique get in our heads from the start, and lost our cool.
So, on to the next one we roll, fellas.
Let’s finish the season strong, marauding ourselves onward.
Have splendid day, Raiders 😉