It was like watching Barcelona.
Stegman’s Other Boys had more than 60% of possession in their first ever Monday night game. The team, re-constituted from last year’s Sunday team and sporting an almost completely new-look set of players, took the Lone Lake field against Half Time Rec looking to make a statement.
With a 2-0 victory that easily could have been much more, consider the statement made.
“I had to punch out a corner once” said goalkeeper Trevor Stemm, reflecting on the game. “But Tim [Kletti] and Travis [Pennings] were so solid defensively that I didn’t have a lot to do. At least it was a nice night to be outside.”
The statistics showed that Half Time Rec recorded a meagre two shots on goal, neither of which challenged Stemm.
On the other end, the goalkeeper was considerably busier. He made save after save, including an acrobatic flying save to deny Andy Delain – who somehow already has one headed goal to his credit – from scoring a tidy header.
“We were a little bit slow in the final third” said Delain, the captain, “but that is just a factor of us bedding in as a team. This was our first match, after all.”
Joe Waln and Brian Moen dominated the midfield, using their size and technical ability to keep the ball moving and, on the rare occasion it was needed, to win back possession. It was an imperious performance from the midfield duo. And with those two in the engine room, Graham Campbell continuing his scintillating form with hard running down the wing, and Travis Pennings marauding in Beckenbauer-esque glory up from center back, the surprise was not that the Blues scored but that it took so long.
Ilijas Zimic opened the scoring after the opposition goalkeeper somehow turned away a fierce shot from Moen.
“We signed Ilijas from BH United” said General Manager Nick Sindt “so, having played with him, we knew his quality. What we didn’t know is that he would continue to up his game. Getting off the mark in the first league match just shows his quality. He scores in big games, it’s just what he does.”
“It’s true, that’s what I do” said Zimic.
If the first goal was a bit scruffy, the second was a thing of beauty. Travis Pennings, in his first month already becoming an SOB legend, intercepted a loose pass in the midfield, strode forward and powered a sledgehammer of a shot into the top corner from all of 40 yards. The goalkeeper was able to get a palm to it, but such was the power of the shot that he had no chance at keeping it out of the back of the net.
“It might be the goal of the season, it was that good” said Delain “and if my header would have gone in, it would be a very close second.”
It is hard to think of many better opening performances that this, though the team will have to ensure against complacency for the visit of Pure Luck FC next Monday.
“It’s good to grab a W” said Pennings, the vice captain, after the game “but we’re not getting carried away. Yeah, we have belief that we can take the league title but we’re not taking anything for granted. Yet.”
Welcome to the Monday league, Other Boys.