Iguanas Start 2014 Season with a Win
Iguanas Edge JAWA FC, 1-0Updated Tuesday May 6, 2014 by Eric Thompson.
Sunday, May 4 was "Star Wars Day".
Iguanas made sure that Monday, May 5 was not "JAWA Day".
The 2014 MRSL season finally kicked off for both Iguanas and JAWA FC. Although the game was technically being hosted by JAWA, it was played at Iguanas' home field in the Vadnais Sports Center due to the fields at National Sports Center in Blaine being unavailable.
The level of play in the first half reflected the fact that it was the first game of the season for both teams. Each side struggled to knock the rust off and quality first touches were hard to come by in the first 45 minutes. JAWA FC had a couple of promising runs but their shots failed to find the net or were smothered by Iguanas keeper Jason Radatz. Meanwhile, Iguanas seemed to be rushing their attack which resulted in only a few haphazard chances that went awry. Both squads were moving well but neither could capitalize as the game remained scoreless at halftime.
Iguanas came out from the break with a more patient, structured approach and were rewarded about 10 minutes into the second half. A nice series of passes in the back sent the speedy Emman Giddings streaking up the right side of the field. Giddings got behind the JAWA defense along the end line and sent a perfect cross to Brian Pearson making a diagonal run in the box. Pearson slotted the ball home with his first touch to give Iguanas their first goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.
About 5 minutes later it looked like JAWA would get their chance to equalize. Iguanas defender Eric Thompson was called for a foul in the penalty area while marking a JAWA forward making a run. Although the through ball to the forward in the area was at least 5 yards from the player and the contact was minimal, the referee still awarded a penalty kick.
There's an old saying in basketball: "Ball Don't Lie". It refers to when a questionable foul is called but a resulting free throw is missed as a sort of karmic payback for the bad call. While the phrase has been around in playground basketball for years, Rasheed Wallace brought it notoriety by often saying the phrase during NBA games.
Apparently the "Ball Don't Lie" maxim also applies to soccer, because the resulting JAWA FC penalty kick after the iffy call on Thompson was pushed well wide of the net. Whether it was the soccer gods righting an injustice or simply a bad shot, the score remained 1-0 in favor of Iguanas.
The final 20 minutes of the game were largely controlled by Iguanas. They continued to attack up the flanks and put pressure on the JAWA defense but were unable to get an insurance goal. Fortunately for the "away" team, their defense remained rock solid for the remainder of the game and nullified all opportunities for the JAWA FC attack. In 2013, Iguanas shut out their opponents a grand total of once the entire season. Just one game into the 2014 campaign, they have already equaled that number as the game finished a 1-0 Iguanas victory.
Getting three points was an excellent way to start the season but Iguanas know they have a tough road ahead of them. Their next fixture is a home game against Minnesota Flying Loons, a team promoted from Division 3 after compiling an impressive 15-2-0 record while taking runner up in the Division 3 playoffs a season ago.