Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Matchday 30: Devastation at the Death

I’m back!


For those who care, sorry I was away for so long.  The internet stick at my house stopped working and I couldn’t figure out why.  I feel like an idiot now, because it turned out that I just needed to buy more credit.  I actually bought credit about two weeks ago, but instead of purchasing a one month unlimited package for 19.80 I just bought 20 in general credit.  As a result I had to buy a new monthly package.  I’ve had to effectively pay double for my internet access this month.  Not a thing I like to admit since I’m trying to live on as small a budget as possible!

On the way to Kuopio

I don’t even know when my last post was, so I’ll just talk about the match against KuPS.  For those who don’t know, we tied 1-1 in a game that felt like a loss.  That’s because we were up 1-0 for most of the game, but conceded a goal with three minutes left.  It was a tough blow to take and became tougher once we got back into the locker room and saw that Jaro had won their game.  That means that Jaro is now three points ahead of us with three matches left to play.  I don’t know what the tiebreaker is, but Jaro lead us pretty comfortably in goal difference.  If it’s head-to-head, then I think we would have the advantage.


The KuPS game was actually pretty good for us.  I know I might sound like a broken record, but we’ve been playing really well the last few weeks.  We dominated large parts of the first half and after 11 minutes scored a great goal.  It was the best goal that we’ve scored since I’ve been at the club.  It involved five or six players and looked like it came straight from the training ground.  It culminated with Jonne scoring a tap-in.  At halftime, we went in feeling pretty good about ourselves.


At halftime we spoke about a few things and pretty much we wanted to continue with what we were doing.  There wasn’t really any reason to change anything as KuPS hadn’t created much of anything in the first 45.  However when we came out, we played with fear and slowly fell further and further back.  By the last 15 minutes we weren’t even attempting to attack anymore.  As a result we invited a bunch of pressure on ourselves.  Long story short, right at the end they scored.


After every game, the home team awards 3 stars of the game.  I think this is something that the Finnish league has borrowed from hockey, since I remember hockey having 3 stars.  But I might have made that up since I remember it only from a hockey video game I had when I was a little kid.  Anyway I only mention it because in the KuPS game I was awarded 2 stars for my performance.  I knew I had played ok, but I definitely did not expect to be awarded one of the stars.  Jonne got 1 star and a KuPS player got 3 stars.  When someone gets awarded a star, they normally get some sort of prize/gift.  KuPS gave me something that can only be described as a pimp cup.  I took a picture and posted it below:

I'm such a pimp.

KuPS is a bit unique among Finnish clubs for me in that they have a couple players who are Americans: Johann Smith and Etchu Tabe.  Even though neither played, I had a chance to talk to them.  I literally only said hello to Johann who was much more interested in talking to Nana Attakora as they played together at Toronto FC in MLS.  I ran into Tabe though after the match and had a brief word with him.  He was suspended from a red card in an earlier match and so he didn’t dress for the game.  We just chatted about basic stuff about getting on living in Finland.  He seems to be pretty well settled where he is and enjoying himself.  Even though we only spoke for a short time I’m happy we spoke.  Any foreign players from the same country tend to be friendly with one another.  It helps just a little bit to make living abroad more comfortable by having another person who can relate to what you’re going through, even if you don’t ever talk to them.


In other news, I’ve started betting again and things are going better.  I won a 67:1 bet with a tried and true tactic: betting against Liverpool.  I won’t get into specifics of this particular bet, but pretty much I bet against Liverpool in one way or another every week and they never let me down.  My account started with $40 dollars and now I’m up to about $90 so I’m happy with how I’ve been doing.  One worry I have though is that I’m starting to make ridiculous bets just because I have the money to do so.  I bet on an FA Cup match last night between two teams I’ve never heard of.  I just looked at the odds and picked a team (and won, by the way).  I’ve also made about a dozen bets for the international games next week.  I don’t think I’ll get bored of sports betting the way I get bored of online poker because it’s much less hands-on and it’s a lot more fun to bet on games even if you lose.  Losing in poker just makes you feel bad about yourself.


We got back into training today and I’m encouraged by the mood of the team.  There doesn’t seem to be any panic or anger in the group, which is good.  We are in a very difficult position right now, but turning on each other isn’t going to help.  As long as we stick together and keep playing as well or better than we have been we should be ok when the final whistle blows on October 27.  I’m going to declare myself the star of today’s training, which consisted mostly of a small-sided match. My team won 7-5, with me scoring two goals and assisting four.  It was a rather difficult training, but perhaps that’s what we need to turn all of these draws into victory.  Juha is a great coach so I trust his judgment in designing the trainings.


Tomorrow we have training in the morning and then we’re off for three days.  I originally planned on travelling during this time, but now it looks like I’m going to stay in Valkeakoski with a few of the other foreign guys and train through the break.  I don’t want to skip the break, but I know that if I stay and train I will be better prepared to help Haka win the last three games and stay in Veikkausliiga.  If that means I miss out on a few days holiday, then I will gladly do it.


That’s all folks.  Here’s the meme:


  1. I read the article about you from Veikkaaja magazine, good stuff. Thats why I had to come and check your blog too. Its interesting to read some "behind the scene" stories about the Finnish and Swedish football leagues. It sure isnt easy to make it in the game, but I hope you do. Good luck with that mate. And good luck avoiding the relegation with Haka too. Im not a fan of the team, no way, but it would be sad to see an old and traditional team to get relegated.

    1. Thank you Matti! I haven't actually seen the article, but I'm happy you enjoyed it. It's also nice to hear that my blog was interesting. I try to make it fun to read, even if I'm not always successful. I appreciate the support and thanks for reading!