In contrast to the goalfest of the spring game, this time the score was a miserly 2-2, in no small part due to the contributions made by the two team captains. Past President Peter Burke lived up to his ’Cat’ billing with an outstanding performance in goal for the Black team while current President John Madeira insisted on playing as striker for the Red team.
Peter’s influence also spread to the rest of the field (and probably beyond - at least Red Robin knew when the game was over) with his stentorian commands both exhorting and directing his team. Conor and Brendan Burke - there are now at least 16 coaches who sympathize with you.
Early on the Red team threatened to run away with the game but John entered into the spirit of the occasion by converting only one of the numerous chances which came his way. Portugal may have struggled without their twinkle-toed talisman Ronaldo on Saturday but our PASC import again showed that it’s not just the good looks he shares with his compatriot - not least the leisurely jog back to ’help’ with defense when an attack broke down.
Those early misses came back to haunt the Red team, however, as the Black team battled their way back into the game and, prompted by dynamic bursts from midfield by Travel Coordinator Jim Fell, tested Red ’keeper Jay Varrato more and more. Eventually they tied the game at 1-1 before the law of averages again proved its worth with John Madeira tapping in a rebound.
Once again, however, the Black team made their superior fitness (journalistic license) tell and came back to tie the game 2-2. Indeed they had what looked to be a good shout for a penalty in the closing minutes but referee Matt Guetzlaff (thanks for doing a great job, Matt) ruled Vinnie Herczeg’s tumble more in keeping with the high board than the soccer field. Not even rolling around in apparent agony for several seconds was enough to earn Vinnie the decision - though we might still see him on the Hollywood red carpet.
Anyway our thanks to all the guys who played (and the gals, Nancy Reightler and Christine Guenther - thankfully none of the guys had hair that was long enough to pull) and families who came out to support us, particularly the kids who provided such perceptive advice to their coaches.
Plans are already in place to repeat the game again next spring - not least because we need to give another past president, Bert Mukkulainen, plenty of time to check with Mrs. M. that he will be free that night.