“If you lose this game, it won’t be because the other team beat you.”
That’s what I told Alex and Abraham on the way to the game. In other words, I said, playing a struggling team meant we could only lose by making mistakes, not because the other team was too good. So we won. 6-0. No big deal, right? Not much to see here, the other team just wasn’t that good, right?
Not so fast.
The win was important, and showed something might have changed in the team, even if we couldn’t yet see it (it’s always hard to see the forest for the trees, after all). Our opponents this game, Texas Rush, were one of three teams that were clearly weaker than the rest of the bracket (though they were the strongest of the three). We beat the other two teams 7-3 and 4-1. The point is that while we beat them handily, we gave up goals perhaps we shouldn’t have. So here, in this game, we beat the team by a large margin, and allowed no goals. Very solid, especially when you consider how windy the conditions were, weather that can play havoc on any team (see Robert’s flukey goal).
Soccer in Houston’s Three Stars of the Game:
- Victor Johnson – For the second game in a row, Victor put in a solid performance, providing no drop-off in quality when Robert went in to goal. Having multiple players who can play any position on the field makes for a much stronger, more flexible team. Strong work from Victor.
- Robert Navratil – Robert put in his usual good shift as a right back, then provided some time in central midfield before going in goal in the second half. Although Robert was not credited with any official saves, he did react well to cut out Rush’s attacks before they became dangerous, including an excellent punch on a cross to knock it away from danger. And then there was the goal from the punt. Flukey, yes—a result of the strong winds and poor positioning of Rush’s goalkeeper to deal with those winds (something I had worried about in the first half, when I cautioned Alex to not play as high as he usually would). But fun, too, and a good reward for his positive attitude about playing in goal to allow Alex some field time—and a goal he may well remember for a long time to come. Great job from Robert.
- Luis Aguilar – Luis of course provides great play—something we’ve come to expect from him, along with his two goals. But on top of that is a great attitude. Luis is playing for the team, not for himself. This was best evidenced when Alex, playing at forward, had to come out for an injury. Luis went on the field, but then Alex wanted to go right back in a minute later. Instead of being upset at having to go in and come right back off, Luis trotted back to the bench with a big smile on his face. Fantastic attitude from Luis.