Written: Tyler Whitesides – Pictures: Destiny Fernandez
In what was a packed house, FC Denver had their opening match of the season against the Skyline Eagles. The environment was loud from the onset and had the aura of victory. Prior to stepping on the field, Luke Elbin pulled the guys aside and outlined the plan for the evening. “We need to be smart and effective…,” he said. The boys in green seemed to take to heart the message of applying pressure to the Eagles, who are new on the scene of the PASL-Premier league, Rocky Mountain Division. Anyone could tell that the evening was going to be full of adrenaline, emotion, and excitement; the feeling was palpable. As the boys began to take the field for warm-ups, Big Ron’s drum could be heard over the crowd. This noise set the tone for the match; it was going to be a battle.
Tactically, FC Denver wanted to keep it simple. The idea was to press when they needed to, and track back on defense. This league is no joke, so they knew they would have to come out with some serious fire power. The first period was pretty frenetic, but FC Denver got on the board early with back-to-back goals from Grant Lunberg and Dillon Robles. Both goals had quality finishes. The goals came after around five minutes of FC Denver keeping possession and Skyline dumping the ball and running after it. Midway through the first, there was a notable left foot by Jesse Woodworth, who exclaimed after the match when asked about that “mean left,” “I am amazing in my co-ed league, you should come and see!” Luke declined the invitation, sadly. Ryan McAleer put Denver up 3-0 to end the period with a well-struck shot that was saved, but the ‘keeper coughed up a rebound and he coolly slotted it with his left.
The second period was more of the same. High pressure put Skyline under for most of the period, with spurts of attack during. The goal of the match (my opinion) was scored in the second period when Matt Zaremba finished a full volley off the boards from a Joel Miller smashed shot. Grant Lunberg put away his second of the match in the second in the top left corner; the Skyline ‘keeper had no chance, as the ball was passed across the face of goal to the wide-open Grant. While FC Denver dominated through two quarters, both teams’ ‘keepers were tested and both seemed to come up really big for their teams. Wally Fink made a beauty of a save to his left from a rocket through three defenders; he was on this night.
The third quarter was a lackluster performance, to say the least. There were no goals from either team, and although there was a ton of possession by the boys in green, both seemed to be struggling keeping possession of the ball. The third had a few power plays and a lot of mistakes that I am certain Luke and the team will want to rectify for the coming weeks. The final quarter was back to a much better Denver side possessing and wearing down the Eagles. Grant came up huge again putting away a spinning header for his third of the match. Dillon also got another one in the match, one that I think the supporters will not-soon forget. He put the goal away and ran to the supporter’s section.” They, of course, went crazy and banged on the drums in excitement. Shortly after Dillon’s goal, Skyline put one on the board, slotting a nice, low shot past Wally on the right. Denver held Skyline off until around two minutes left when the Eagles put a second on the board. With the match all but over, no one was questioning the win, but it was surprising to end the match with the other team scoring last.
Overall the match was a success. FC Denver got the win and is 1-0 after the match. For match number two, Denver goes out to the home of the Skyline Eagles, where the Eagles look to exact immediate revenge against the boys in green. This should be a fun rematch, with Denver driving the four hours to get there.