Monday, August 22, 2011

Ut med domaren och in med Nalle Puh

The upper-series began on Saturday when we played Tu-We at home. It was the first time this season we have played Tu-We but we were ready. The past two weeks we have been training hard to prepare us for our final 7 games. We began controlling the game early and creating a few good chances. About 40 minutes in we capitalized. Linda’s half volley beat the keeper and fell just below the bar. Only minutes later Totti collected her rebound and calmly put back. Going into half-time we were up 2-0. 
In the beginning of the second half we had a few good chances that we were unable to score off of. Tu-We was awarded a free kick near the corner flag. When I came out and parried the ball away, I then saw no one near the rebound, I came out and collected the ball. A Tu-We player challenged me late on the play and fell over me. After I already had secured the ball in my hands. The referee called a penalty kick!! This was the most absurd call I have ever faced.  I don’t usually get involved with the referees but this had me furious! There was still about 20 minutes left to play and he could change the game like that. I normally would understand if I made a dangerous play and legit did something wrong but Saturday there was no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I flat out made the save and the ref was blind! They converted the penalty kick and the game was now 2-1. The game played out and we finished 2-1.
There were many things that we could take away from the game. At times we played really good football. The team’s energy and confidence levels were up. We will go into this week’s training hard and look forward to our next match in Helsinki this Saturday. Our goal is within reach and we are taking it one game at a time!
P.S the title is a song my finnish mom taught me to cheer at games when the ref makes a bad call!

Hejdå för nu!

Monday, August 8, 2011

“The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.”

We ended the first part of the season on a high note. This past Saturday we won our game against FC Sport 3-2. We went down 1-0 early in the match despite holding the majority of the possession and creating better opportunities. We were able to tie the game minutes later and bring everyone’s confidence back to life. Just before half-time we were able to score a beautiful goal. Tess was able to find Emmi wide open and her shot was placed perfectly over the keeper and into the net.

The second half was played well and we were able to score off of a scramble in front of the box. While we were up 3-1 and controlling the game, Sport was able to score again off a similar situation. The field was slippery and caused some dangerous situations. Off a cross from the outside Sport finished and the game was 3-2. We were able to fight hard and hold them off for the final minutes. We fought hard and the attitude and motivation among the team was where it needed to be.
We now have a break next weekend before the final stretch begins. The series was divided into 2 groups; and the top 4 teams from both groups now make a winners bracket, while the bottom 4 from both make a losers bracket.  We finished 3rd and now have 7 games remaining with a chance to make it to the league. We have also eliminated the possibility of dropping down to division 2 by staying out of the loser’s bracket. For the next two weeks, its back to training as we will look each day to improve and become one step closer to our final goal.

Friday, August 5, 2011

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”

I apologize for the delay on my blog! Since we got back from Germany things have been pretty busy. Our team hosted a youth tournament that is the 2nd largest tourney in the country. Jackie, Kerstin, Tess and I were hired to work in a kiosk and sell t-shirts and some other tournament souvenirs. It was actually pretty fun and the time went by quite fast. Some people were surprised when they came to the counter and we were speaking English, but we managed well. The following weekend we were in charge of working in the kitchen. Here at tournaments the kids stay and eat in the schools rather than reserve hotel rooms and go out to eat at restaurants like back home! We served the meals to the kids and kept the cafeteria clean.
Jackie and Tess in the kitchen

We have hit a rough patch in our season. Since we have been back we played 3 games, 2 in the series and 1 cup game. The results have not been what we have hoped but there are some things that we need to improve on.  Ever since we had our season break we came back playing below our potential. We have one more game before the series restarts and we have secured our spot in the higher bracket despite our showing the past few games. The team is taking the right steps to regain our confidence and level of play and hopefully we will get back on track. I am confident that it will get better and we will contend to finish in the top 2 of the division.
Our next and final game before the series change is tomorrow at home. We look to improve on some things and take away something positive from the game before entering the final stretch of the season!