It was a searing hot day in the Twin Cities as the Old Boys lined up to take on Centennial in the last match before the Memorial Day break.
For the first time this season, the boys in blue took the initiative early and pegged Centennial back. Good work down the flanks won a corner and after Jon Bisswurm’s finely struck ball was imperiously headed into the bottom right corner by Dan Hoedeman the Old Boys found themselves with a 1-0 lead within five minutes.
Whether it was the heat or the shock of the early lead, Centennial was able to take advantage almost immediately after the goal. A long ball over the top eluded Mark Schmitt and left the Reds with the easiest of chances, which they duly put away.
Late withdrawals had hurt the SOBs. Both Robbie Peichel and Alex Haueter joined Jon Scott and Holger Meiser on the bench as late scratches. Compounding the issue, Brandon Overlie limped off with a quarter of an hour gone.
The rest of the first half was a fairly even affair, though the Old Boys were clearly not at their best. Centennial was using their speed to good effect, and showed glimpses of attractive one-touch passing. Their attacks were foundering against a wall of blue, but despite the defensive solidity Old Boys struggled to use it as a foundation for attack. All too often the ball was played to nobody and picked up by a red shirt.
“I am not going to blame the booze-fueled fun fest that was the Twins-Brewers series this weekend,” said Manager Jon Bisswurm, “but I am going to say that I and a few others were clearly not at their best and it may have had something to do with a drinking contest featuring Minnesota and Wisconsin beers. Whatever the cause, this was our poorest half of the season.”
The Old Boys opened the second half with an impressive passing display, connecting on ten passes in a row before Cole Erickson fired a shot just wide of the far post.
Despite the solid opening and a good twenty minutes of pressure, the Old Boys found themselves restricted to long range shots by a solid rear-guard action from Centennial and, in the withering heat, it looked as though both teams would be satisfied with a draw. Not that either team stopped looking for an opening, with the best chance falling to Bryan Larson attacking down the left. Larson found himself through and only needed to drag the ball across the six-yard box for a certain goal, but was unable to.
Dan Erickson was forced off with an ankle knock on the hour, resulting in a reshuffle of the ever-dwindling deck. With Erickson’s departure, Centennial had their best spell of the second half and found opportunities on either flank yet they too were left to snatch at chances from distance and never really challenged Ryan Horstman in the Old Boys goal.
A final push in the dying minutes from the SOBs brought pressure and chances, with Erickson again fizzing a shot wide, but the heat had taken its toll and the game ended with honors even.
“It was a frustrating day today,” said General Manager Nick Sindt, “for whatever reason we just couldn’t get it into gear and dropped points to a team that we should have dominated. And then the only beer that was left for the post-game was from Wisconsin. Disappointing performance from start to finish, though we did show character to grab a draw on a down day.”
“We always knew that our first season would throw up obstacles,” said Chairman Dan Hoedeman, “and once we get fully gelled as a team this is a result that we’ll grind out. Until then, I’m stuck with some crappy Miller and the thought of two points that should have been ours down the drain.”
Stegman’s Old Boys (4-3-1-2): Horstman, Erzberger, Hoedeman, Schmitt, Savitt, Polukeyev, D. Erickson, Bisswurm, Overlie, Tesch, Sindt
Subs: C. Erickson, Campbell, Johnson, Gorrell, Hanscom, Larson