BHS 2-1 LW
38th min LW goal
61st min Mia (Lillian)
75th min Leah (Mia)
So I enjoy the work of New Zealand actor, writer and director Taika Waititi, who is the co-creator of the dry, silly, and dark comedy series What We Do In the Shadows (Taika starred in the original movie of the same name, and also wrote, starred and directed the excellent Jojo Rabbit among many others). Taika's work is quirky and weird, and WWDITS is exactly that. The show is a mockumentary comedy about a group of bufoonishly absurd and ancient vampires living together in modern Staten Island. One of the main characters is "Nandor the Relentless," who before he became a vampire was an Ottoman warlord famous for his love of pillaging (no really, it's a comedy). When asked how he got his name, Nandor replies, "They would call me Nandor the Relentless (long pause)...because I would never relent." After watching our girls against a determined Lake Washington team on Thursday night, I'm thankful we have a team full of Nandors (without the vampire and pillaging part). We overcame a 0-1 halftime deficit against the Kangs, scoring two goals in the last 20 minutes to extend our perfect start to our season. We. Were. Relentless.
In the previous 6 Kingco games, we had won every matchday by identical 3-0 scorelines, with the only exception being the 5-0 Hazen result. So we hadn't allowed a single goal in league play this season. Until Thursday. Just two minutes before halftime in a game that we bossed for large parts of the first half, LW counterpunched, and counterpunched hard. Just two minutes before halftime, LW took a throw-in deep on our right side. The thrower got the ball back from a tidy one-touch backpass, took a few dribbles inside, and launched a howitzer of a shot from 30 yards that brushed the underside of the crossbar before bulging the net. It was LW's 2nd shot of the half, but that is irrelevant given the quality of the finish. If we were going to break our 6-game shutout streak, it was an honorable way to lose it. Full respect for LW for an excellent goal.
Despite conceding late, our halftime talk wasn't fire and brimstone. Our girls had played a very good half, in fact, our first 20 minutes featured some of the most flowing and beautiful soccer we had played all year. But we couldn't seem to find the final touch to beat a very good LW keeper. So my message was simple: No panic. Stay the course. Trust that the chances will come our way. Then take those chances. I was confident that another 40 minutes of similar quality from our girls and we would turn the game around.
And we began the half with solid and steady play, but with every minute that we failed to score, the LW team grew in confidence sensing that their lead might hold. And with this renewed LW confidence, we didn't control the game as much as we did in the first half. In fact, most of the second half was a see-saw, with chances and momentum shifting back and forth. Both keepers made amazing saves to keep the game tense and tight. But just when the see-saw metaphor threatened to get a little too real as we were working hard but going nowhere, the game abruptly changed. In the 61st minute, Lillian got the ball deep on the right side before cutting back a perfect low cross that Mia attacked and finished from 6 yards out. Pandamonium and relief. BHS 1-1 LW. And the see-sawing stopped. We became the heavier older sibling refusing to get off our side of the plank as our younger sibling dangled in the air as we pressed hard for a late victory. Despite the fact that LW had a BYE on Tuesday and we had a tough leg-sapping game against Liberty (plus homecoming), our girls ignored their heavy legs and tired bodies. Relentless. We flew into tackles. Battled and scrapped for every ball. Relentless. And then with less than 5 minutes left in a game that seemed destined to go into overtime, we found our winner. The LW keeper sent a goalkick toward midfield, Lillian rose highest and sent a header directly to Mia on the wing. Mia raced by her defender and into the box before squaring to a charging Leah at the PK spot, Leah took a touch past the desperate defender, and calmly passed the ball into the net. Re-lent-less. 2-1 Bellevue and we find ourselves the sole member of Club Perfect. 10-0-0 for the season. 7-0-0 in Kingco.
Statistically, it was the closest game of our season. We managed 14/4 vs. 8/1 shots/corners against LW, which reflected the overall balance of play. But as we all know, balance of play doesn't always equal victory. LW is a very good team. And I'm thankful that we got pushed as much as we did last night. Knowing what it takes to comeback against a good team will only help us in the future.
And now we rest, recover and prepare to go again next week. We host Juanita on Tuesday before traveling to Interlake on Thursday. With our result against LW, Juanita is in sole possession of 2nd place in Kingco. So motivation for both teams will be strong. Witth a BHS victory, we effectively lock up the #1 seed for league playoffs needing only a single point from our last 4 games to secure a regular-season title; however, if Juanita prevails, they give themselves a significant boost in the chase for a first league title. So all to play for. Like our experience with LW, I expect a much tighter game than our earlier 3-0 victory against the Ravens.