On 28 January, a mild Sunday afternoon one day after we played indoor, we scraped together 11 guys from the team plus two guest players and faced Berliner TSC in an 11-a-side match on their turf in Prenzlauer Berg. The last two matches resulted in narrow losses, so we were motivated to try and win this time to get one back.
Unfortunately this motivation didn’t translate into punctuality. The opponent was surprised to see only two players arriving to the pitch after they had already completed their warm-up and were heading back to the dressing room to discuss tactics.
Pablo, who came to bring some organisation from the sidelines, decided to go with Kyle’s suggestion to play to our strengths and pick a dynamix formation with a back five, including two wing-backs who had freedom to get forward when we were on the attack, leaving just three at the back. We were confident this would suit Adonis’ strengths perfectly, giving him the freedom to run forward every time we got the ball. We also effectively fielded three strikers: a skillful and pacey trio of Hans, Miguel and Hernan, hoping we could offer more in attack than our usual lone striker.
Unfortunately we spent much of the first half pinned in our own half of the field as we were pressed by a well organised team. They hunted us down in numbers and we didn’t manage to find accurate passes in the congested area in front of our penalty area. The pressure led to us conceding free kicks and corners, which they used to their advantage to feed high balls into our box to their tall players. They took the lead quickly and went five goals ahead,many of which coming from these free-living and corners. We managed to pull one back though just before half time as a long Adonis corner kick found it’s way to an unmarked Diego at the back post, who was able to tap the ball in to make it 1-5.
We went into the break frustrated, having been unable to find a flow to our play and with few exceptions struggling to put together more than three passes or work the ball onto dangerous positions.
Pablo decided to switch back to a back four for the second half to try to help us to improve our play in a familiar formation and gain some confidence back to reduce the deficit. It worked, and we were able to put some passes together and put their defence under some pressure, which led to James (a guest player) scoring a second for us and Miguel adding a third with the help of the wind.
It was our turn to frustrate them as our back four, supported by our midfield, didn’t allow them many further chances. At 3-5 after more than an hour, we began to tire however and they started to cut through our defences more often with pacey players and long balls in behind our back four. We couldn’t withstand the pressure and they added three more goals, with the final score ending at 3-8.
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