It may have been a friendly but defeat still stings. And it's becoming all too familiar.
It was a fun friendly and day as a whole, all things considered. Both teams gathered at local favorite Dooley's Pub for the Champions League Final, won 1-0 by Real Madrid over Liverpool in Paris. Both teams then made the short trek to Bollinger Fields for the game.
We fell behind 2-0 early after losing one of our 13 available players (including a trialist and our assistant coach) to a concussion. With Assistant Coach Josh Ranft forced onto the pitch, Goalkeepers Coach Grace Frank took the lead from the technical area. When all seemed lost, we rallied by scoring the next three goals through David Ripplinger, Tye Kreutzfeldt, and the trialist. Hope restored.
The lead would not last forever, however. As our team tired and eventually ran out of steam, the Togolese took advantage and scored three goals between the 70th and 80th minutes. Chalk it up to tired minds and exhausted bodies. Our friends from Minnesota would close out the game with a 5-3 win over an overstretched Bateaux squad.
Yes, it's only a friendly. Having less than 11 players available is far from ideal even in the context of a friendly. It's disrespectful to our opponents who traveled to play a meaningful game. We need to do better than this and we can only start with our next challenge.
We'll be back in full strength against Poskin Jets FC this weekend in our return to league play. We'll need to be at our best to avoid what seems like an endless string of losses.
STARTERS: Brotzman, Martinez, van Nelson, Ranft, Helms, Schwartz, Smith, Ripplinger, Tepole, Nunn, Kreutzfeldt
SUBS: Mullally, etc.
GOALS: Togolese - 10', 14' 70', 73', 76'; Bateaux - Ripplinger (unassisted) 33', Kreutfeldt (Nunn) 39', Trialist (Ripplinger) 56'