The Beginning of the End
A well balanced team will win out over one or two standouts nine out of ten times, especially when one of those standouts has to stand out on the sideline winded and – it goes without saying – whiny.
The mighty Gold team, the most medically oriented team in the league with four doctors on the team, had the prescription for success over White on Sunday and it was undoubtedly a bitter pill for White to swallow.
Captain Iyad "doctor heal thyself" started on the sidelines due to his still recovering ankle injury from indoor pick up, but within seconds of stepping onto the pitch put a shot into the back of the white net to put Gold up one-nil.
It was a nip-and-tuck battle throughout the game, with White equaling Gold at 1-1, then 2-2, and again at 3-3. The breadth of the Gold team benefited them through a continuous cycling of players in and out of the game which kept the Gold team fresh.
Dan Pittman and Daryl "Pimento Cheese" Berryhill provided constant coverage over the entire field, repeatedly anchoring the defense and then sprinting down to contribute on offense. Carling "if you can't get here on time, get here when you can" Schatzman showed up for the first time this season, albeit after the game had started to contribute on defense alongside last week's standout defender Chris Reeves, while Ahmad Al-haj was a continual threat in the box. Keven Barrere was a continual thorn in White's paw, threatening from the midfield.
All of those contributions would have meant little were it not for the stellar play in the net by Gold keeper Travis Clark. At the half, Clark commented that he "would like to not get tested quite as much during the second half." But tested he was throughout with great success, much to the chagrin of the White strikers.
The most exciting, no – most poetic – moment of the game came late in the second half. Bashar Al-husien had the ball on the left wing with two White defenders and the keeper between him and the goal. David Smith, on the back side shouted "Bashar! Bashar!" and time seemed to slow down. The Gold teammates on the bench could already see what was about to happen before it even started. Bashar popped the ball over the White defenders to Smith who threw a head onto the ball which sailed into the net to secure the Gold victory.
The game was the most intense regular season game that this reporter has witnessed in the previous ten seasons, with the likes of John Hughey flying through the air with high kicks and knocking opponents to the ground. There was never any quit in the White team, but to all who watched the match, it was apparent that they were outmatched.
The turning point for their captain can be identified as the end of the Spring 2012 season when his team was bested in the semifinal round and he failed to make the final game. It was fun while it lasted, but as strong as the remainder of the White team is this season, this is clearly the beginning of a long, painful slide to the bottom of the rankings for KM.