Fuego Quiet Rumble
September 28, Reston, VA
The Fuego put together a masterful team effort to defeat the powerful CYA Rumble on Saturday. Coming off a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Rumble less than a week earlier, the Fuego knew they needed a supreme effort to win the rematch, especially from their defense. They got just that, along with a strong performance from co-Frankenball winner Carolyn, who started in goal for the first time in many seasons.
The Rumble took the initiative early on, pressing the attack and trying to pin the Fuego deep in their end. But the defense, led by Kennia and co-Frankenball winner Robin in the middle, kept the Rumble from getting off any dangerous shots.
As the half wore on, the Fuego began to push up the field. Nina, Kristin (K-Tran), Halle and Kristin worked several give and go plays up the left side, while on the right, Morgan, Julia and Sabrine worked to push the ball up and into the Rumble zone.
But neither team dominated. That was to be the story of the afternoon.
Nevertheless, the Fuego got pressure, and a deflection off a beautiful free kick from Julia gave the Fuego a corner kick about midway through the half. Julia launched a perfect ball into the box. Kristin and Amanda both had a shot at it before the ball slid through to Morgan at the far post. Morgan hammered the ball into the net to give the Fuego the lead, 1-0.
Knowing the Rumble would come out hard, the Fuego defenders stepped up their collective effort, and took control of the game. Sarah, Halle, Beverly, Morgan, Kennia and Robin applied relentless pressure on the Rumble attackers, turning back every challenge. In the middle, Julia, Aby, Amanda and Kristin scrambled to win the ball from the aggressive Rumble mids, feeding the ball outside to Nina, Sabrine, Karina and Rhi to push the ball up towards Kristen in the middle.
The tactic worked and Kristen had several great scoring chances, including a breakaway, that could have put the game away early. But the half ended with no further scoring.
The second half was a war. Both teams had chances, both teams fought for possession of the ball, both teams pressed the attack, and both teams shut down the counterattack. In the middle, Kennia and Robin were spectacular, as they chased down every Rumble defender that crossed the center line, denying them any clear path to goal, while the outside defenders, Halle, Beverly and Morgan, were equally as terrific intercepting balls and deftly clearing the zone.
As the game wore on, the Rumble began to take more chances to try and even the score. Putting four attackers up front, they left themselves open at the back, and the Fuego took advantage, clearing the balls into the middle of the field, where, Aby, Kristin and Julia fed them to Amanda, Karina, and Morgan up front, and Rhi, Halle and Nina on the outside.
The result was end-to-end action that more closely resembled a hockey game. But as time wore on, the Fuego’s short, quick passing began to wear the Rumble down, forcing the Rumble players to chase the ball. With just a couple of minutes to play, the Rumble pushed everyone forward and had several late scoring chances. But Carolyn came up big time after time to secure both the shutout and the victory.
The victory over the Rumble was the most complete team effort to date. The Fuego played more as a unit than as a collection of individual players, and the results were impressive. Should they end up at or near the top of the division at the end of the season, they may look back at this game as the one that started their climb to the top.