Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Injury Crisis

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post.  Well, actually it’s not been that long, it just feels like a long time because so much has happened. We've had so many injuries that I guess I can say that even my blog had to sit out a week to injury.

Since I last posted, we’ve played four games, everyone has gotten injured and Celia has come to visit.  We even squeezed in a day to play with little kids and a meeting with the big wigs of VPS.  Also, shit got real on Game of Thrones, but that’s all I’ll say about that so that I’m not a spoiler!

I’ll briefly go over each of the four games and then list who got injured.

RoPS W 2-0.  We played pretty terribly in this game and made almost no combinations in the entire game.  I came on after ten minutes and played striker until the last few minutes and then finished the game as the left winger.  Fans of VPS will recognize this type of performance since it was the mirror image of the early games last season.  Injuries: Steven Morrissey, broken arm.

IFK Mariehamn L 0-1.  This game was pretty one sided as well.  We had a good spell right after I came on and looked most likely to score in the last 20 minutes, but then a fuck up/miscommunication on my part allowed a MIFK player a free header and he scored the winner in the 90th minute.  Injuries: Frido Nganbe Nganbe, hamstring.
I'm taking pictures of all the locker rooms.  This is Mariehamn.  I can't find the RoPS picture at the moment.

FC Lahti L 0-1.  Second straight game without scoring.  Or maybe it could have been better classified as a clinic than a game.  We don’t have the advanced metrics for this game like we get for league matches, but I’m sure we had less than 30% possession across the 120 minutes.  We showed great heart playing with 10 then 9 then 8 players against 11, but eventually a set play did us in and we didn’t get the chance to steal the game in penalties, although at the pace we were going we’d probably have to pull people out of the crowd to have five players healthy enough to take the penalties.  Injuries: Timi Lahti, no idea.  Cornelius Stewart, hamstring.  Sebastian Strandvall, ankle.

TPS W 1-0.  We got back on the winning track.  A deserved win, although TPS did have 3-4 good chances.  I felt like a draw would have been fair, but our winning was also a fair result based on the game.  I played in my favorite role as a striker next to a hold-up striker in Lasse and it only took 5 minutes in that position for me to create a goal.  I will readily admit that winger is my most natural position based on my skill set, but the position I have played all my life and have the most understanding is what would be termed as a “second striker”.  VPS doesn’t really play a formation that uses that precise role, but we did against TPS after Jarno went off and it got us the winning goal.  The closest I normally get to playing as a second striker is when I play on the left wing.  It’s worth noting that 4 of my 5 goals from open play last year came from the left wing position that I effectively just took the initiative to make into a second striker role.  Injuries: Frido Nganbe Nganbe, hamstring.

Moving on to life, I went to see Steven a couple of days after his surgery and he was in good spirits.  I’ve since seen him multiple times and I can relay to everyone that he’s doing well and itching to get back on the field.  I don’t want to say much more about his injury as it’s his private business and not really subject to a public blog such as this.

In between the Mariehamn and Lahti games, we took a morning out and hosted a clinic for the 5-8 year olds of Vaasa.  While I like kids and can reasonably handle groups of them (I substitute teach kid aged 6-12 every winter in Indianapolis), I absolutely never again want to deal a bunch of kids playing soccer.  Oh my god what a nightmare.  I was partnered with Jesper Engstrom and we couldn’t get any of our groups to play the (very simple) game that we were running.  All I’ll say is that those kids were lucky they were so cute!

She said she wasn't posing, but we know the truth.
Later in the week Celia came to visit and that was really nice.  I haven’t seen her in months and that time has sucked so I was happy to see her again.  We could have had more fun, but everything in Vaasa seemed to be closed the entire time she was here.  I had made plans for things to do, but we ended up essentially just doing the same things I do everyday when I’m by myself.  We did however have a long walk around Vaasa so I got to see a few areas that I’d never gone to before.  I also finally got a win in front of her.  She’d been to maybe 4 or 5 of my games and I’d lost all of them until last weekend against TPS.

While Celia was here, a couple of us guys got together to celebrate Keithy Simpson’s birthday.  It was nothing big, just a nice little celebration.  It’s so important, especially for the new players, that we take time outside the pitch to get together and enjoy each others’ company.  I’ve embraced my time with my teammates this year and it’s made the 7 weeks I’ve been here thus far go by really quickly.  Hopefully Keithy is enjoying his time and not having such a rough start to Finnish life as I had in Valkeakoski.

That’s it for now.  We have a tough test ahead tomorrow against MYPA.  They’ve had a good start to the season and will feel full of confidence.  We’ve also had a horrendous time whenever we’ve gone there so any result will be a boost.  If we get something from the game, then we’ll have 7 or 9 points from 4 games that include the three longest road trips. That’s the kind of start to the season that we’d have taken if you offered it to us last month.

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