Defeat has rarely looked so good. Nevertheless, the 2010 intramural campaign sputtered to a start for the Geo Joes Soccer Club, who succumbed 3-0 on Sunday, October 24, to the Vikings. A rigorous pre-season was evidently insufficient to gel the squad of formidable individual talent assembled by the Joes player/manager Joshua Poole. [See match report after the jump.]
The game began with the Joes flat on their feet as the purple-clad Vikings orchestrated two shots on goal within three minutes of the official’s opening whistle. Keeper George Skala settled the Joe’s game with an athletic save and the Vikings thereafter found the starting defensive line of Valerie Smith, Chris Mew, and Rebecca Nobles a challenge to penetrate. The Joes were within inches of taking the lead when center midfielder Jeffrey Brown’s blast crashed off the accidentally placed knee of the Viking’s rangy keeper. On the left side the Joe’s D.J. Fischer and Ashley White organized a series of dangerous attacks to no avail. An aggressive save by Skala maintained the even score line, as did the repeated failure of the Joe’s midfield to feed winger Danielle Day in open space on the right side. When Ross Walker came on for the gasping Andy Walter in the midfield, the Joe’s attack gained an energetic purpose, with White and Fischer combining nicely up front, but several shots could not find the back of the Viking’s net.
Controversy made a cameo appearance in the tight affair when substitute Michelle Rivera was chopped down away from the ball and the official could only find his whistle when Rivera’s damaged knee prevented her from continuing the game. With the Joes distracted and disorganized, Joel Lunsford's steadying presence was no match for the Viking’s skilled attackers, who took advantage, finding space 15 yards from goal and curling a shot past Skala in the final moments of the first half.
Trailing 1-0 and now chasing the game, the Joes began the second half with purpose. Poole, Brown, and Mathias Marabotto pushed the attack while Chris Camp and Noble fortified the backline. It appeared as if the Joes were destined to pull level until close misses by White and Marabotto foreshadowed a different fate. The game went pear shaped for the Joes when the Viking’s scored a second goal against the run of play. Urgency pervaded the Joe’s sideline and an array of offensively-minded susbstitutions followed. White, Day, Poole, Fischer, and Brown executed repeated sorties on the opponent’s goal but their valiant efforts were stymied at the other end when Walter, now in central defense, failed to recover an errant through ball, leaving the Joe’s replacement keeper Camp to confront three Vikings attackers. Trailing by three goals but with Walter safely ensconced on the team's bench, the Geo Joes did not send up the white flag, but time would not reward their fighting spirit and the match ended with the dispiriting trill of the official’s whistle. In the aftermath, player/manager Poole highlighted the quality displayed by the Joes and hinted at formational changes to be implemented during the upcoming week’s training sessions.