On a crisp, clear Wednesday night at Thunderbird Stadium, a substitute-sparse Octopi Vancouver squad went down 4-3 against a very chippy The Scoring Machine “team” – other accepted synonyms for “team” in this description might include “gang” or “hooligans” or “Postmodern Peles” (the last one is my personal favourite).
The Octopi squad began the game with vigour and urgency, hitting goal posts, crossbars and narrowly missing the corners of the Scoring Machine’s net. About 10 minutes into the first half, John Horn, making a great run down the left side in the third-person, crossed the ball squarely on to the foot of dashing right-winger, Jessica Pautsch, who expertly looped it into the top corner, away from the sprawling – and quite talented as well as handsome – keeper.
The first half wrapped up with Pautsch on a break-away – if there were actual referees (perhaps Kinesiology students from SFU or UBC, you know, to tackle youth unemployment and student debt in BC while simultaneously providing meaningful experiential learning opportunities for the future leaders of our healthy and happy community) I’m sure that the play would have been allowed to carry on – but the non-game-specific whistle blew and Jessica wasn’t allowed to snipe her second goal of the match.
Still 1-0 Octopi.
The second half saw Octopi drop into a 3-2-1 defensive formation, which was a dumb idea, as The Scoring Machine earned a quick tally following a strong run down the left-side by one of their nicer players. In between their first and second goal, The Scoring Machine’s centre defender, Long Sleeved Black Shirt, absolutely throttled Octopi’s star striker, Erin Loxam – again, if UrbanRec employed referees the gentleman might’ve been asked to leave the game at this point.
After a blazing goal kick by The Scoring Machine’s handsome goalkeeper, All-Urban-Rec defender, Matt Kieltyka, whiffed on the ball and one of the opposing team’s players sprinted in for an unopposed goal.
2-1 The Scoring Machine.
Following some intense pressure by Sustainable Stewart Burgess and Prautsch, a The Scoring Machine pass, deflected by Prautsch, found its way to Horn’s foot – the striker made no mistake, burying the shot in the back corner. As Horn said to Kieltyka later, “karma was on our side, man – they caught a break, and so did we, because the universe wants us to win.”
2-2 Octopi (yes, we were winning).
On the heels of their second goal, some great passing between Kurt Heinrich, Kieltyka and Roger Hosking finally got the ball to under-appreciated/utilized star striker, Loxam, who promptly netted her 27th goal of the season with impressive aplomb.
This is where things got weird.
First, there were the antics from a bald and bearded talker from The Scoring Machine side – in no more than three minutes he took an illegal shot on goal from the post-score-kickoff, attempted to throw the ball into the net (it was a legit throw-in, but still weird), yelled at the Octopi team for diving and whining, proceeded to dive and whine himself, knocked down Burgess and Hosking at least twice, and started a goal-mouth scrambled that resulted in The Scoring Machine’s third goal. Following this experience John Horn, talking in the third-person, loudly referred to the gentleman as “The Postmodern Pele” – #amazing.
3-3 The Scoring Machine (they had the momentum and, thanks to their ample substitutes, the legs).
Only moments later, Heinrich made a stomping run down the right side and sent a perfect cross to Horn, who was waiting at the far post. Horn, in the third-person, chested the ball down and sent a cracking half-volley at the goal, which was expertly stopped by The Scoring Machine’s keeper.
The chippy play continued with Long Sleeved Black Shirt sweep-kicking the ankles of star striker Loxam – again, if there were referees in the game this player/goon would (a) not have even been in the game at this time and (b) would have been put in his place by an official, instead of an Octopi player, making a call – when Loxam said “you fouled me” the player/goon responded “no I didn’t, you slipped; now stop whining and get up.” #notaclassact #payforrefs
With little time left, Postmodern Pele got involved in another goal-mouth scramble and, somehow, the ball crossed the touch line in spite of a great effort from League MVP David Willinsky.
4-3 The Scoring Machine.
The Octopi Vancouver squad wrapped up the season with an impressive 5-4-2 record and a fourth place finish in their first season together. Other teams in the Urban Rec league best keep on the lookout for this up-and-coming
soccer football powerhouse. And the Urban Rec organizers/management best be on the lookout for a strongly worded letter and pending petition that addresses their knowing sacrifice of health, safety and fun for slightly awesomer profit margins.