Written by Eric Fulton – Pictures by Corbin Elliott Photography
FC Denver made the trek to Grand Junction Colorado this last weekend with plenty of momentum at their backs. They had beaten this same Grand Junction-based Skyline Eagles team the weekend prior and looked forward to the challenge of the away game. They brought a deep, but fairly new squad, as many starters from the previous week had already begun their Winter Vacation. The game would test the depth of the FC Denver roster in a new and unique environment. And that is exactly what happened.
The arena was a bit difficult to find tucked away off a frontage road behind a Autozone, but all the players made it safely and in plenty of time to get acquainted to the unusual arena size. The field is the the shortest in the division at about a third less length than our home field. This will greatly change the style of play, but at the end of the day, both teams play n the same field. FC Denver was ready, but started the game slowly as they were adjusting to the speed of play in the smaller arena. Most of the first quarter was spent chasing the opposition markers as everyone, including forwards were pick up marks. FC Denver fell behind 2-0 in the first quarter behind quick and or scrappy Skyline Eagles goals.
The 2nd Period saw much of the same but FC Denver started to find a bit more of the game by quickly pressing the Eagles players, which caused them to dump the ball to FC Denver to to start another attack. The possession in this quarter was all FC Denver, but the terrific work of the Eagles keeper kept FC Denver’s many shots from hitting the nets. Skyline slipped in a 3rd goal to make it 3-0 going into half. At half, interim-coach Eric Fulton told the team to calm down and to trust themselves. That their was plenty of time left to score as many goals as needed, it was just important to get the next goals so the scoreline didn’t become too large to come back from.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened as Skyline got the 4th goal making it difficult for FC Denver to catch them the rest of the way. From there the game really opened up and saw FC Denver get on the board through Ryan Mcaleer on his way to a FOUR goal performance. Each time FC Denver broke back in the game, Skyline would get a goal to quell the momentum. And in Indoor Soccer, momentum is such a critical factor. The biggest heart breaker was when FC Denver scored it’s 3rd goal to make it a tight game again at 5-3, only see the opposition score directly off the kickoff as a powerful shot went in the upper 90 of the goal.
After that Skyline poured in a few goals to open up the lead to 9-3 with 5 minutes left. President/Interim Coach Eric Fulton called a timeout sensing that the guys needed to refocus to finish the game with some positive momentum. And the team responded strongly with a three goal effort in the final minutes to make the score a respectable 9-6 and to end with pride moving forward.
MVP: Game MVP was Ryan Mcaleer as he almost singlehandedly kept FC Denver alive in the game with his 4 goal performance.
NEXT GAME: Home Game vs Defending RMD Division Champions Colorado Blizzard on Sunday January 19th at 4:30pm at the Westminster Indoor Center.