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Oct. 26th, 2003: Hawks 0 Emerald Knights 1
Just wasn't the Hawks day yesterday, but that is the way it goes sometimes. First off, congrats to the Emerald Knights for the important victory. The field was abysmal, one of the worst I have played on in the WISL, which made it very difficult for the Hawks to play our possesion game and build attacks. The field was very narrow, about 60 yards wide and 100 yards long. It was clear that Emerald Knights, having played several games at Ridge Road, had a better strategy to get the win. While the Hawks struggled to play their passing game and build attacks, Emerald was playing the long ball to their speedy forwards and attempting to use the counter attack. With a tremendous wind at their backs in the first half, the Emerald Knights kept sending balls into the Hawks defensive zone. The Hawks had a hard time after recovering possesion to build their attack as normal due to the extra time that it took to gain control of the ball and the untrue surface of the pitch. We indeed spent a large portion of the first half in our defensive zone. Second half, the wind seemed to die down a bit, but the Hawks never adjusted their strategy to fit the field. While the Hawks played better in the second half, it was not enough. The game was ugly, it was not fun to play in and was not good soccer. The tale of the game was the difference in the approach to the match by both teams. While the Hawks struggled to build on their passing game, the Emerald Knights relentlessly played the long ball. For the most part, the Aegean Hawks defense was up to the challenge. Emerald had few clear opportunities to find net and the Hawks defense won all their one vs. one battles with Emerald fowards. However, many free kick opportunities were earned by Emerald at the edge of the box. Mostly in the first half, but the goal came off a free kick in the second half from the edge of the box. The Hawks probably erred by placing three men in the wall for the free kick, leaving an opportunity for the tall Knights to take advantage off the set play. The cross off the free kick was sent in and the Knights defender had the inside line to knock it in for a header. Again, hats off to the Emerald Knights for the victory which they earned fair and square. Perhaps we will meet again soon on a nicer pitch....I like our chances in that one. --

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