Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Another (depressing) Loss and Celia Visits

EDIT:  I've added a link to the match highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVOd12SysNg

Hey everybody, I’m back.  Sorry for the delay, but my very pretty friend Celia came to visit for few days so I didn’t want to take the time I normally would to write the blog.  We went to Vasteras and also became sadly familiar with Sweden’s public transportation system.  In news you may actually care about, we played our fourth game and sadly suffered our fourth loss.  Let’s recap:

I’ll start with the match because that’s what most of you will care about.  Normally I don’t go much into games, but I will talk a bit about this one.  We lost the game, 4-2, to IK Frej.  I’ve now played three games this season, and they’ve been against the teams in 1st, 2nd and 3rd of the current table.  And guess who’s in 4th? None other than our next opponents, BK Forward.  The first two games were probably deserved losses, even though we had chances in both.  The past game though hurts a lot because I think we should have won the game.  We were winning the match 2-1 with about 25 minutes remaining but then got a red card and pretty much fell victim to that.

The reason the loss to IK Frej was so depressing was that it was entirely avoidable.  I rarely blame a referee for a loss, but I have to pin this one on the ref.  He handed out 7 or 8 yellow cards to us in addition to the red card.  IK Frej had maybe one or two.  He also ejected Siggi in the first half.  Even I got a yellow card, the first of my professional career and only the third or fourth I’ve ever received.  I don’t know if the ref had a bad week or maybe he broke up with his girlfriend because he seemed very eager to show that he was in control.  He called fouls at a pretty equal rate between both teams, but only our players received cards.  As a result it made it very difficult to commit to tackles since by halftime most of our team had cards.  It changed the way we played and made the game more difficult for us than it needed to be.

On another note, I actually played pretty well yesterday.  I created the first goal with a free kick that hit the crossbar and was headed in by Kerim Mrabti.  The picture on the right is my free kick hitting the bar.  I also played a less significant role in the 2nd goal.  I lost possession of the ball, but sprinted back 30-40 yards and nipped it away, which sent the left back, Robert Kjellman, forward.  He ran forward about 30 yards then sent in a great low cross that Erik Andersson finished really well.  Those two goals gave us 1-0 and 2-1 leads.

Aside from the crazy referee, the loss sucked because we had such bad luck.  When we were up 1-0 I made a good run to the endline and laid the ball back to Daniel Alund, but his shot from about 10 yards hit the post.  He had the keeper beaten and was literally six inches away from putting us up 2-0.  Unfortunately from that same passage of play IK Frej took the ball down the field and scored to tie the match 1-1.  Later, when we were up 2-1 but down a man we did a good job of holding our lead for maybe 5-10 minutes.  We were keeping an okay amount of possession and doing a good job keeping them away from our goal.  When they finally did get a chance they hit the post, only for the rebound to hit our goalkeeper and go in the goal.  It was a terrible bit of luck.  Ironically, had the shot been on target our ‘keeper probably would have saved it.  Later, with the score 2-2, I had a good chance from a corner kick, but my header hit first the goalie, then a player on the line before being scrambled away.  The goalie knew nothing about the save; he just threw his hands up at the right place at the right time.  The pic above shows the play.  The guy on the post with his eyes closed ultimately made the save after the goalie deflected my header.  All of these factors I mentioned worked in unison to deny us any points from the match.  The fourth goal came with the last kick of the ball while we had our whole team pressing for a goal.  It made it 4-2, a very harsh scoreline based on how the match was played.

Moving on from soccer, my friend Celia came to visit this weekend.  I initially met here years ago in Baltimore when I was playing for CPB.  She was studying at a college there at the time as part of a student exchange program.  We kept in touch and have seen each other a few times since then.  Last year she visited me in Harrisburg while she was vacationing with her friends in the US and then a few months later I visited her in her hometown of Sway, England.  I’ll use this opportunity to throw in a picture or two of me in London.
That's me punching a bust of Hitler.

Anyway, Celia was only here for like two days, so there wasn’t so much we could really do.  I went to get here in Vasteras which is the closest city to Enkoping with an airport.  Unfortunately once I got to Vasteras via train, I learned that there were no airport shuttles running.  That meant I had to take the city bus to the closest stop and walk the rest of the way.  The closest stop was over a mile away!  Once I got Celia at the airport, I had to pay 200SEK to go back to the train station, even though the airport shuttle would have only been 50SEK.  Since there were no shuttles running, I was forced to pay the taxi price.  Anyway we spent a few hours in Vasteras before finally heading to Enkoping.  The next day I wanted to show Celia the town so we walked into the city center and found that some sort of festival was happening.  Actually it was more like a huge flea market with a carnival at the end of it.  Still, it was great that so much was going on.  Celia is living in London now, so I’m happy that Enkoping showed a little hustle and bustle while she was here.  The carnival was notable for one ride, which scared me to even look at.  Why anyone would get on a ride like this when it was installed literally a day earlier is beyond me.  It did lead to a big crowd watching though.  Sadly, there wasn’t much more to Celia's visit since she was here for such a short time.  We did learn however that bus tickets to Vasteras are twice as expensive as train tickets, even though the bus takes twice as long to get there.  I assume the train system must be subsidized to allow their prices to be so much cheaper.

In my final piece for today, I’ll mention that I’ve started the “classYfication" of my room.  I bought some wallpaper and that’s going up now in a quite cheap way.  I don’t want to buy wallpaper glue so I’m just taping the wallpaper up with the tape you use to tape ankles along with some clear tape.  Laugh if you want it’s working well!  I also now have a working stove AND sink-gate is over after roughly two weeks.  Still no shower, but I bought a shower sponge that I can use to clean myself easily from the sink.  It’s not ideal, but my place is getting better everyday!  I've also been paid, so that's great.  Less than I wanted but more than I expected so I can't complain.

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