Diving Headers, Bicycle Kicks & Sliding Tackles

Today’s topic is a discussion of the amazing plays that are not allowed in OCASL games.

The bicycle kick, if done properly, is one of the more exciting individual plays in the professional game.  And there is no doubt that there are some players in OCASL who are capable of executing the play without danger.  But… we disallow all bicycle kicks and award an indirect free kick to the opponents, regardless of how dangerous or safe the execution is.  We are worried about head and neck injuries to the kicker, either from collision with the ground, or collision with a teammate or opponent.  And we are worried about the possibility of injuring players with the high boot on a ball that might conceivably be played with the head by another player.

Similar problems with the diving header require us to ban those as well.  Playing the ball with the head on a ball that is below the waist can be dramatic, but can also lead to terrible head or neck injuries when a teammate or opponent attempts to play the same ball with his foot.

So to be clear, a diving header is just that – the player employs a diving motion to play the ball with her head when the ball is at waist level or lower.  The restart is an indirect free kick for the opponents.

Next, the slide tackle.
Sliding is legal. Sliding to play the ball is legal. For what it’s worth, “Toe poking” is also legal. But sliding to tackle the ball away from an opponent is not legal. So, if no opponent is nearby, slide to your heart’s content. If there is an opponent nearby, then stay on your feet.
If your slide tackle connects with an opponent, the restart is a direct free kick. In fact, if your opponent goes to ground trying to avoid your slide tackle, that also, is a direct free kick. Slide tackles that don’t connect with the opponent are restarted with an indirect free kick. Remember that fouls occurring inside the penalty area that would normally be direct free kick restarts are restarted with a penalty kick.

Watch the first few slide tackles in the video, then watch the one that starts in the 34th second. Most OCASL referees will not consider that one to be a slide tackle; it is more of a toe poke because the defender reaches out with one foot and pokes the ball away from the attacker.
One final note: you may legally play the ball while you are on the ground, as long as you don’t put yourself or anyone else in danger. This isn’t special to OCASL, it’s consistent with FIFA/USSF. Most referees will stop play if you are in the way of an opponent trying to play the ball. That is, if a nearby opponent can’t get to the ball without going through a player on the ground, then the player on the ground has committed a foul (indirect free kick restart).
We don’t allow slide tackles, bicycle kicks and diving headers simply because we just don’t have so many players that we can afford to lose any. Stay safe, play hard, have fun…

Game Recap: Eurosport FC vs. T-Birds

A penalty kick made the difference in Saturday afternoon’s matchup between Eurosport FC and the T-Birds. Eurosport defeated the T-Birds 2-1, with Tim F. notching the second and critical goal in the fifty-third minute. The win evened up Eurosport’s record for the fall with one game left to play in the season.

The two teams fought until the last minute of the game on the unseasonably warm afternoon. The momentum initially favored Eurosport, who scored the game’s first goal. In the seventh minute, Eurosport’s Tim F. fed a corner kick into the box. The T-Birds defense fought off the attack and cleared the ball.

Eurosport’s Tyler J., however, was waiting just past midfield for the clearance. He collected the ball out of the air, took a touch, and drove a beautiful arcing shot into the back of the net. The T-Birds’ goalkeeper stood no chance against the shot and Eurosport took the lead in the seventh minute.

From here the two teams traded opportunities. The T-Birds’ Nathan T. almost evened up the score in the sixteenth minute, skimming a header just past the goalpost. Darius L. acted as a driving force for the T-Bird offense, making aggressive runs and challenging the Eurosport defense.

Each team’s respective defense and goalkeeper held strong, though, and kept the ball out of the nets. Organized defense prevented any offensive flow or passing plays. The T-Birds’ goalkeeper came up big twice in two minutes, stopping one-one-one challenges by Eurosport’s Aidan H. and Kevin D. The half ended with Eurosport ahead 1-0.

The second half kicked off as shadows started to stretch across the field. Neither team established an immediate rhythm, but an aggressive offensive drive in the fifty-third minute earned Eurosport a penalty kick.

Tim F. stepped up to take the shot. The whistle blew and, with two bouncing steps, Tim struck the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal. The T-Birds’ goalkeeper dove left and Eurosport claimed a 2-0 lead.

The T-Birds’ Nate C. countered right off the center kick. He drove down the left side with a burst of speed, then fed a pass to Darius L. Eurosport’s defense stymied the attempt. Nate continued to demonstrate an impressive combination of hustle and foot skills throughout the half.

Rallied by shouts of encouragement and instruction from Mark A., the T-Birds scored in the seventy-first minute. Eurosport’s defense was attempting to bring the ball out of their zone, but Michael B.’s offensive pressure proved to be too much. Michael stole the ball, fought off his defender, and ripped a shot. The ball sailed over the goalkeeper into the upper-left 90.

It was 2-1 with less than twenty minutes left. A beautiful passing play between the T-Birds’ Will H. and Justin R. almost tied up the game, but Will’s shot sailed just over the crossbar. On the other end of the field, Eurosport’s offense continued to challenge the T-Birds’ goalkeeper. Aidan H. forced the goalkeeper to make an incredible reflex save with seven minutes left to keep the T-Birds in the game.

Suspense continued to build as shadows almost conquered the field. The T-Birds felt the pressure of the impending whistle as calls for “one more push” came from the sideline. However, Eurosport held the ball in the T-Birds’ defensive zone for the game’s final moments. The whistle marked Eurosport’s victory at ninety minutes.

Both teams play next on November 5 to wrap up the season. Eurosport looks to establish a winning record in their game against Spice Boyz II Men’s Wearhouse of the Rising Sunny Side Up. The T-Birds can bounce back from Saturday’s defeat when they match up with the Lead Zeppelins.

Game Recap: Spice Boyz vs. Chapel Hill FC

Spice Boyz II Men’s Wearhouse of the Rising Sunny Side Up defeated Chapel Hill FC on Saturday afternoon with a 4-2 victory. The score was by no means decisive; the two teams grappled, fighting for every ball and trading leads, for the entire ninety minutes.

Defense reigned for the first fifteen minutes. Adam H., wearing red for the Spice Boyz, held off an early Chapel Hill frenzy. His strength at center defender held the score tied at zero.

The Spice Boyz began to build offensive momentum. Tic-tac-toe passing plays tested Chapel Hill’s highly organized defense. The Spice Boyz’ Gonzalo A. broke through and notched the game’s first goal in the nineteenth minute. A triangle passing play between Gonzalo, Sunwoo H., and Zachary M. brought the ball up the field. When a rebounded shot placed the ball at his feet, Gonzalo did not hesitate to crush a shot into the left upper-90s. One-zero, Spice Boyz.

The lead lasted less than a minute. Chapel Hill attacked right from the center kick, drawing a foul just outside the box. Gregg A. stepped up to take the kick. Facing a wall of red, Gregg took two long strides and drilled the ball, skipping it along the ground into the bottom right corner of the goal. The score was knotted once again.

The next twenty minutes were scoreless but not quiet. Both teams proved their extensive foot skills, dancing through the middle before playing long balls to their attacking teammates. Each team’s respective goalkeeper made impressive saves; oftentimes it was only fingertips that prevented a shot from breaking the tie.

Chapel Hill grabbed their only lead of the game in the forty-second minute. A quick drive up the field by Gregg disorganized the Spice Boyz’ defense; Mike D. found himself alone in the box and called for the ball. Gregg fed his teammate a perfect cross and Mike took advantage of the opportunity, volleying the ball into the back of the net.

It seemed as if Chapel Hill would carry the advantage into the second half. Yet with less than a minute left before halftime, the Spice Boyz evened up the score once again. A long ball from the left corner flag floated the ball across Chapel Hill’s defensive box. The Spice Boyz’ Gabriel B. attacked the ball the moment it touched grass. From a sharp angle, Gabriel drilled the ball back across the goal and into the left side netting. Two-two.

The second half began similarly to the first: Chapel Hill’s green jerseys claimed the early momentum. A flurry of blocked shots and corner kicks proved Chapel Hill’s desire to score. Yet, once again, it was the Spice Boyz who scored the half’s first goal.

The Spice Boyz’ Zachary M. and Gonzalo A. demonstrated offensive chemistry throughout the game. The pair struck this time in the fifty-fifth minute, scoring their team’s crucial winning goal. Gonzalo carried the ball down the right side of the field, beating multiple defenders before laying a pass off to Zachary.

Zachary slipped past his shadowing defender and calmly slid the ball into the goal. Five minutes later, Gonzalo scored his second goal of the game, strengthening his team’s lead to two.

Chapel Hill responded with resiliency and strong morale. Cheering from the sideline encouraged the green jerseys to “just keep shooting,” and the players abided. Consistent offensive pressure kept the Spice Boyz’ defense busy.

In the fifty-second minute, Conner K. had a chance to bring Chapel Hill within one. He took an indirect kick on the edge of the box, but a rigid Spice Boyz wall stymied his attempt.

The two teams continued to trade opportunities. Clever footwork and quick breakaways – the main themes of the game – carried through the ninetieth minute. At the final whistle, though, the Spice Boyz claimed their victory.

The red jerseys look to start a winning streak next Saturday morning against Legion FC Yellow. Chapel Hill also play next Saturday, facing off with Eurosport FC Light Blue.

 

Game Recap: Oldcastle United vs. Old Man City

Crickets’ chirping and the buzz of insect wings are a hallmark of Carolina summer evenings. But on Tuesday night at Homestead Park, these sounds were drowned out by demands for the ball and shouts of encouragement as two highly organized teams faced off. Strong communication and clever passing plays marked the evening’s game between Oldcastle United and Old Man City.

Oldcastle claimed victory with a five-to-one win, scoring four goals in a dominant second half. Despite the uneven score, Old Man City competed every minute of the game. Old Man City donned blue jerseys while Oldcastle wore black.

Oldcastle got off to a quick start; their first offensive drive, immediately after the whistle, was stymied, but another effort in the second minute gave them an early lead.

A passing sequence between the black jerseys brought the ball through the middle. Quick give-and-go’s kept the blue players from getting a touch on the ball. Oldcastle’s Christopher G. received the ball at the top of the box and calmly slid it into the bottom right corner of the goal. One-zero.

The two teams traded opportunities for the rest of the half. Oldcastle showed great discipline moving the ball around the back and working it up to the offensive zone, but was unable to finish. Old Man City countered these attacks by playing long balls up the field, often to the feet of attacker Kevin Y.

Old Man City’s best opportunity to tie the game up came in the twenty-eighth minute. A clearance found Kevin in the midfield; he flicked the ball on with his head to Quaye T., who juggled the ball in the air before laying it back off to Kevin as he ran down the sideline. Kevin played the ball back into the box, but his teammate’s shot was blocked and Oldcastle held onto their lead.

After the start of the second half, neither team was immediately able to claim momentum after the break. Five minutes in, however, the breakout began. It started with the goalkeeper.

After stalling an Old Man City attack, Oldcastle’s goalkeeper Bill B. played the ball out to Eric D. Eric heard the calls of his teammate Phillip M. and fed him the ball. Phillip ripped a shot that was blocked but ricocheted perfectly to William M., who stood alone in front of a wide-open net. William calmly headed the ball into the goal and increased his team’s lead to two.

Old Man City had an opportunity to cut this lead in half a minute later. Stacy L. was fouled in the box in the forty-sixth minute, but did not convert the penalty kick.

Oldcastle stretched their lead to three when John H. drilled a one-timer into the right corner of the goal. The ball skimmed the goalkeeper’s outstretched fingers, but Old Man City found themselves down by three in the fifty-fourth minute.

Despite the deficit, Old Man City stayed in the game. Matt M. kept the blue jerseys’ morale up with encouragement and instruction both on and off the field. Stacy L. fought hard in every part of the field, stalling the clever footwork of Oldcastle’s Scott W. on numerous occasions.

Old Man City’s efforts paid off in the sixty-fourth minute. A patient offensive build-up brought the ball to Rob D.’s foot at the top of the box. Rob held onto the ball for a moment, waiting for the perfect moment to shoot. He struck the ball, beating the keeper on the ground and notching his team’s first goal.

Now down by only two goals and with fifteen minutes on the clock, Old Man City tried to ride their momentum. The blue jerseys almost scored again, immediately after their first goal, but the shot skimmed over the top of the goal.

Old Man City’s surge was smothered when Oldcastle’s William M. scored in the seventy-second minute. William solidified the black jerseys’ victory after a long clearance found him in the offensive zone. He brought the ball down and calmly beat the goalkeeper one-on-one.

Two minutes later, Oldcastle notched their final goal. A foul in the box brought Bill B., Oldcastle’s goalkeeper, up the field to face off with Old Man City’s goalkeeper in a penalty kick. Bill took a two-step run-up and drilled the ball into the back of the net. Five-to-one.

Old Man City looks to bounce back from this defeat on September 6 against the Timeless Heroes. Oldcastle faces off next with Stroke City, also on September 6.

 

Game Recap: NYC FC vs. Durham FC

Wednesday night’s matchup marked the season’s third meeting between NYC FC and Durham FC. The teams were familiar at this point. They knew each other’s playing styles, strategies, and names. Most evidently, though, they knew how to score on one another.

The game saw sixteen total goals, with Durham claiming eleven and NYC scoring five. Durham’s victory meant that NYC remained winless on the season.

The first minutes of the game did not foreshadow the high score. Neither team established a consistent flow; the opposing team always managed to anticipate through balls and break up passing plays.

In the seventh minute, NYC, clad in blue, found a way to break through. Sam Y. received a long, looping ball over the top from his teammate, beat the keeper on the fifty-fifty challenge, and pushed the ball cleanly into the goal. High crosses would prove to be an important strategy for NYC.

NYC’s only lead of the game lasted for seven minutes. In the fourteenth minute, Durham’s Davis B. ripped a shot that rebounded off the keeper. Jim B. was in the right place to receive the rebound alone in front of the goal; he calmly knocked the ball into the net. All tied up.

Durham, wearing black, kept up the pressure. NYC’s defense, led by center defender Douglas D., showed great strength backed by assertive goalkeeping. But by the twenty-third minute, Durham’s Jim B. had a hat trick and Durham was up three-one.

The scoring cooled off for ten minutes; sparkling saves and a barely-high shot from NYC’s Norbert O. kept the ball briefly out of the net.

Three rapid-fire goals recharged the game’s intensity in the thirty-third minute. Durham’s Daniel G. scored, but NYC’s Walt C. pulled the score back within two almost immediately. The moment surged back toward Durham again, as Davis B. struck a long shot in the thirty-fourth minute. The shot floated six inches off the ground, sneaking past the goalkeeper and into the net.

Durham’s Nate J. scored before halftime to push the score to six-two before the referee’s whistle.

NYC came off the sidelines strongly motivated to score. They kept up the attack and forced Durham’s goalkeeper, Richard K., to make impressive saves. But their early efforts were stymied; Daniel G. scored again for Durham in the forty-fifth minute.

The teams traded goals for the remainder of the half. NYC’s Brian H. brought the combined number of goals to double-digits in the sixtieth minute off of a cross from Amy L. The half also saw two more goals from Durham’s Jim B., and one apiece for Durham’s Davis B. and Paul M.

Davis B.’s goal came off of a free kick, facing a post-to-post wall of blue jerseys, in the seventy-second minute. Davis’ foot skills – namely, his ball rolls – demonstrated talent and touch throughout the game. Paul M. scored his goal on a rebound with minutes left in the game.

Douglas D. and Martin S. scored NYC’s last two goals in the second half. Douglas D. received a drop pass from Sam Y. in the middle of the box; he calmly placed his shot into the left side netting in the sixty-seventh minute. Martin S.’s goal a minute later was a product of trickery: He had Durham’s goalkeeper leaning one way, but ripped his shot into the opposite corner.

NYC’s attack was grounded in the efforts of Sam Y., who ran up and down the field and generated numerous opportunities for his team.

In the end, after eighty minutes and sixteen goals, Durham came off the field victorious. The black jerseys face off next with Motorco FC on Wednesday. That same night, on the other side of Cedar Falls, NYC FC will look for their first win of the season against Team Tomo.

 

Humor: Team Barbeque Results in Food Poisoning, Forfeiture of Match

When Jordan F. proposed a barbeque before the team’s most important game of the year, he did not foresee the disaster he was organizing. His team, Neverton FC (NFC), was set to play for the top spot in the division on Wednesday night. On Tuesday evening, Jordan put together a team-unifying cookout at a local park.

The plan: good grub, cold beers, and a few games of cornhole. The result: seven cases of food poisoning and a forfeited soccer game.

Four NFC players showed up to Wednesday’s game. After the referee, Marty Q., made NFC forfeit fifteen minutes after the scheduled kickoff time, Jordan checked his email for messages from his teammates.

He said he was angry and suspicious when he found six last-minute emails from players claiming sick.

“My guys are a punctual bunch, this was wholly out of character,” Jordan said. “But I was also pretty angry. This was a big game so I immediately called one of my buddies who didn’t show up.”

According to Jordan, the teammate’s wife answered. She said her husband was “indisposed” and Jordan could hear desperate pleas for more Saltines in the background.

As Jordan checked the list of sick players, he noticed a trend: Every sick player had eaten at least one hot dog at the barbeque. (One unfortunate soul had been dared to eat as many hot dogs as possible in three minutes. He was unable to comment and probably won’t be for a while.)

Jordan did not reveal the name of the player who brought the brats. He said part of this is due to privacy, but also due to an ongoing investigation.

“I can’t rule out sabotage,” Jordan said. “There were some pretty high stakes for the game, and everybody has a price. Who knows if the other team could’ve flipped him to their side.”

The investigation will involve questioning his teammates about the packaging of the hot dogs and to what level the suspect was pushing the dogs.

“I’m especially suspicious that he chose to bring hot dogs because he knows that our best player can’t turn down a good dog,” Jordan said. He added that this star player, Stewart B., ate two hot dogs during the barbeque.

Most of the – intentionally or unintentionally – poisoned players are recovering well. Hanna O. said a two-day diet of Spaghetti-O’s and ginger ale cured her right up.

Jordan does not know what this will mean for his team’s unity. He said that the catastrophe, which intended to unite the team, bred “mistrust” among the players. But he believes his team can bounce back.

“Maybe not with another barbeque, though,” Jordan said. “Maybe a team bowling night! No one ever got sick from bowling alley food, right?”

 

Player of the Week: Sam Y.

In Wednesday night’s game against Durham FC, NYC FC’s Sam Y. was everywhere. He was on the right side, hunting down a through ball. He was in the box, laying off a drop pass for teammate Douglas D. to score. He was in his own defensive end, chasing down a runaway Durham player.

If needed, Sam could have been between the posts as well. He usually plays goalkeeper for NYC, but the team did not have enough players and needed him in the field. Sam stepped up.

He enjoys playing both goalkeeper and field; he always signs up for more than one OCASL division so he can play goalkeeper for one team and field for the other.

“It’s two very different games,” Sam said. “It’s fun to play both types.”

Against Durham FC, Sam’s field presence proved to be crucial. He scored the game’s first goal and had multiple assists. Furthermore, his constant hustle motivated his teammates despite the heat. This harks back to Sam’s playing style, which he describes in one phrase: “Leave it all on the field!”

Sam’s favorite player is fellow goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who minds the net for Bayern Munich and the German national team.

In the fall, Sam will continue his stalwart goalkeeping and on-field dominance as captain of Skittles. Sam said he likes the “people” of OCASL, more so than of other leagues in which he has played. But most importantly, Sam joked, he appreciates the jersey he gets to wear for Skittles.

“We’re the hot pink team . . . They’re the best jerseys in the history of ever,” Sam laughed. “They’re amazing.”

Before the start of the fall season, though, Sam and NYC FC have one more game. They take on Team Tomo next Wednesday at Cedar Falls.

Humor: What Would You Do on Your Day with OCASL’s Golden Spoon?

When the National Hockey League’s season culminates in the Stanley Cup Finals, each member of the winning team spends a day with the Stanley Cup trophy. The players can do anything they would like with the Cup; some players, for example, eat cereal out of the Cup. It is an iconic aspect of the NHL, one that adds to the prestige of placing first in the league.

OCASL is borrowing this model: The league recently decided to award the top teams of each division the OCASL Golden Spoon. Every player on the winning Rec 1, Rec 2, Rec 3, O-30, and O-40 division will have a day with the Spoon.

The goal of this decision is to draw more players and distinguish OCASL from competing leagues. In addition to the super-cool photos with the Spoon that players can post to Facebook (estimated “likes” per photo is about 12.7), a day with the Spoon offers players a chance for creativity. They can contribute to the Spoon’s legacy.

Numerous OCASL players were polled about what they would do with the Spoon.

“I’m going to take the Spoon to Waffle House and use it to flick bits of waffle at other customers.” – Matt K.

“I’ve had this itch on my back for days that I just can’t reach. All I can think about it using the Spoon to scratch it.” – Lizzie M.

“If my team wins, I’m going to eat an incredible bowl of lobster truffle oil chowder with the Spoon and make my brother watch. He plays for one of the division’s other teams and there’s a bit of a rivalry.” – Kirk P.

“I don’t have any plans because I know it’ll just end up in the garbage disposal. That’s where all the spoons wind up. And then my wife will nag me about it. On second thought, I don’t even want the Spoon.” – Blaine F.

In addition to a day with the Spoon, each player’s initials will be carved into the handle. This is, however, creating questions about the size of the Spoon. One league official claims the Spoon will need to be about six feet in length.

“It would make it harder for players to carry around. Maybe we’ll just make the initials really, really tiny,” the official said.

The Spoon also raises hygiene concerns. Who will be responsible for cleaning the Spoon between players?

“We’re sure as anything not going on the honor system here, I’ve seen a player share a popsicle with his dog on the sideline after a game,” another league official said. “OCASL is going to have to budget for some sanitization equipment.”

Despite these concerns, the addition of a trophy is widely accepted. Players are excited about being rewarded for their efforts in practice and games. For some the idea of an award harks back to the glory days of high school and college soccer.

Either way, OCASL is moving forward with the decision. Players can expect the trophy to be awarded after the fall season. In the meantime, players can continue daydreaming about their day with the Spoon.

*Feel free to comment with that you would do with the Golden Spoon should your team win its division*

Player of the Week: Colin S.

The twenty-four feet between the goal posts was unfamiliar territory for Colin S. Yet by the end of ninety minutes, Colin looked comfortable with goalie gloves on his hands and shots hurtling toward him.

Colin usually plays center defender for OCASL’s Team R, but when Still Chillin needed a goalkeeper on Saturday morning, Colin stepped up. Still Chillin was facing the undefeated Spice Boyz II Men’s Wearhouse of the Rising Sun; the Spice Boyz averaged more than four goals per game in their first seven matches. Colin held them to one goal, scored in the game’s eighty-third minute.

The Spice Boyz’ lower-than-average scoresheet was a reflection of Colin’s goalkeeping, not of the Spice Boyz’ attack. The Spice Boyz put shots to the corners that required Colin to have quick reflexes and sure hands. Long through balls forced Colin to come out of his box on numerous occasions.

Colin attributes his goalkeeping ability to his center defender experience and his love of basketball. He is used to challenging attackers one-on-one; this translated into a “dominating” style of goalkeeping, according to Colin.

However, Colin hopes he does not have to play goalkeeper again. He prefers playing center defender and has developed a definitive playing style.

“I play with speed and finesse,” Colin said. Colin’s favorite player, Germany’s Marco Reus, boasts a similar style. Reus plays attacking midfielder for Borussia Dortmund and is known for his “versatility, speed, and technique,” according to Wikipedia.

Colin said he appreciates the overall quality of play in OCASL games. He likes that each game has three referees, which adds an “official” feel to a recreational atmosphere. However, he also likes that the main priority is enjoying the game.

“The play is really good, but most people are just trying to have fun,” Colin said.

This atmosphere was evidenced in Saturday’s game, when the heat had both teams huddled together – joking and sharing water – under the limited shade of a canopy. But Colin was out on the field the entire game, protecting his goal and his team’s lead.

 

Game Recap: Still Chillin vs. Spice Boyz II Men’s Wearhouse of the Rising Sun

There is a common belief in soccer that being up two-zero at halftime is the most dangerous lead for a team. Yet on Saturday morning, Still Chillin carried their two-zero lead past halftime into a three-one victory over the Spice Boyz II Men’s Wearhouse of the Rising Sun.

The heat was a major concern throughout the game. Each half was broken up by a water break, frequent substitutions attempted to keep players fresh, and there was talk of ending the game early. But the teams chose to play on, maintaining a fast pace and strong morale.

The game marked the first loss of the season for the Spice Boyz. The red jerseys had allowed only four goals in their first seven games. Yet Still Chillin’s Sefton D. managed to break through the Spice Boyz’ strong defense and notched the game’s first goal in the twelfth minute.

A Still Chillin passing play worked the ball up the right side of the field. One of the teal jerseys switched the field, finding Sefton on the left side of the box. Sefton ripped a shot into the back of the net; the Spice Boyz’ goalkeeper had no chance of stopping it.

Still Chillin almost doubled their lead less than a minute later when Frank M. received a cross from Sefton, but Frank was unable to put the ball on net.

The momentum swung toward the Spice Boyz. Matteo B. helped the red jerseys create numerous opportunities, but aggressive Still Chillin defense and goalkeeping kept the Spice Boyz off the score sheet.

Shortly before the first half’s water break, Frank M. gave the teal jerseys a little more cushion in their lead. Frank received a long ball coming out of the defense, and, with a great first touch, turned and beat the Spice Boyz’ defenders. He slid a simple shot past the goalkeeper, off the far left post, and into the back of the net.

Despite this setback and the increasing temperature, the Spice Boyz did not give in. They kept up the attack for the rest of the half. The Spice Boyz’ Zach M. had a breakaway in the forty-fifth minute, but his one-on-one with the goalkeeper was interrupted by the halftime whistle.

The Spice Boyz carried this momentum into the beginning of the second half. Gabo B. created two opportunities in the first ten minutes: a direct kick snagged out of the air by the goalkeeper and a header that skimmed barely wide.

Frank M. increased both his own goal tally and his team’s lead in the sixty-third minute. He found himself with the ball near the Spice Boyz’ end line, surrounded by red jerseys. He dribbled his way out of the jumble, found a few inches of space, and beat the goalkeeper from a harsh angle. Three-zero.

At this point in the game, short passing plays reigned. The heat discouraged long through balls; during the second half’s water break, each team’s captain was asked if they would like to shorten the game. The players decided to finish out the last twenty minutes.

The Spice Boyz took advantage of this decision, making a game out of it in the eighty-third minute. The red attack was attempting to break through Still Chillin’s stalwart defense; Michael G., through a creative individual effort, danced his way through the defense and curled a shot into the left side of the goal.

Down by two goals with seven minutes left, the Spice Boyz pushed forward. Their undefeated season was on the line. The heat had driven both teams into close quarters under a single canopy’s shade and the tension was thick.

For the remaining moments, the Spice Boyz attempted to mount a comeback. Consistent offensive pressure earned the red jerseys a free kick. Matteo B. lined up to take the shot, but the Spice Boyz were out of time. Matteo’s shot was unsuccessful and the referee blew the whistle shortly after.

Still Chillin was victorious, in large part due to the strength of their goalkeeper Colin S. They look to round out of the summer season with another victory next Saturday against Chapel Hill FC. The Spice Boyz will try to bounce back from their first defeat when they face off with Internationals next Saturday.