August 6, 2007

End of the line

Unfortunately, the result didn't go our way in Seattle on Sunday afternoon as Oregon United took the U23 National Cup 2-1. It was an incredibly hard fought game, one that saw the Liga Lawrenceville guys have to play a man down for the majority of the second half.

After a 45 minute feeling out process, Lawrenceville was taking the game to Oregon at the beginning of the second half. However, that's when things started getting even more heated. An Oregon played on the ground kicked at Lawrenceville's right back, who then retaliated. They could've both gotten yellows, but Lawrenceville saw red and Oregon saw nothing. Then, a yellow was shown to a Lawrenceville player who was 30 yards away from the play, because the referee let play go on, but then couldn't remember who had committed the foul.

Oregon broke free on the right side and was somehow able to slip a shot in on the near post. Lawrenceville broke away a few minutes later and earned a penalty kick to tie the score. As the preparations were being made for extra time, a breakdown in the back allowed Oregon to slip through for the winner. It just wasn't Lawrenceville's day as they scuffed a couple of chances in front of the goal and hit two posts.

I wanted to post this last night, but wasn't able to get a wireless connection to do it. Here's what I wrote:

These things are hard to put into words. Feelings like this aren’t easy to explain. When something happens that hurts so much that you can’t speak, how do you explain it?

It’s impossible to explain the hurt in the faces and hearts of the players and staff who sacrificed so much to make this journey. I know I couldn’t when people called after the game, I could barely speak without welling up. I wasn’t the only one.

In a game that could’ve easily gotten out of hand, the Lawrenceville boys represented themselves with class and honor. After a long time mourning the loss, the smiles and love started to come back into this family (possibly with a little help from a few cervezas). It says a lot that every person that we spoke with, from all over the country, came to us after the match to tell us that we were the better team and that they loved watching our guys play. From USASA staff down to coaches and fans, everyone was loving the style of futbol that Lawrenceville delivered.

These guys, who I’m lucky to consider family at this point, were amazing in the way they conducted themselves and in the way they performed on the field. It would've been easy to pack it in when all the calls and all the crowds were going against us. All the families and supporters of the teams we played had to talk to us after the game to compliment us. It is people and players such as this that will change the sport in this country.

As I’ve mentioned, this group consisted of people from 12 different countries. There’s a huge range of backgrounds, families, economics, and support in play here, but all of these people came together for a common goal. They truly became a family. You could see it before the games and you could see it as they consoled each other afterwards. It is truly something that I will never forget.

I'm very proud of the finalist medal I received and the cup we're bringing home to Lawrenceville. Unfortunately, it's just not the one we set out for. Proud, but not satisfied.

1 comment:

jdr said...

Congrats, guys.... job well done. You've created a team (no small feat) and took them another step further this year. Next year will be the one. Keep up the great work!