In what was a rematch form six days earlier, a game in which the Flames came out the winner with the game winning goal minutes from time, the JAX Destroyers came to town this weekend with something to prove. Having not won a game all season, they were ready for revenge.
In conditions that were more akin to water polo, the game kicked off and as is often the case, the Flames gave up an early goal. "We always stress the importance of keeping games close in the opening 10 or 15 minutes. We want the players to get comfortable in the game and then go forward and play our game. But, as we always seem to do, we gave up an early goal and then had to struggle for the rest of the half. The conditions didn't help, but we came out flat, perhaps not playing for six days did that," said Head Coach, Ged O'Connor.
After some changes and listening to the players at half time, the Flames came out and played much better soccer, with Barbaresi having a number of chances from distance but unable to beat the GK. Again, the Flames gave up another goal and with the game at 0- 2, looked to be struggling. That is when the transformation started. Crisp soccer, one touch passing, and great movement off the ball created opportunity after opportunity and for the next 15 minutes, the Destroyers were simply defending. The Flames got back into the game with a fortuitous penalty that George neatly dispatched into the corner of the net.
Moving to a 3- 4- 3 formation, the Flames scored another with Johnson finishing a fine goal after a great move down the right flank, and all of a sudden, it looked like the Flames were going to get their second win in the space of a week. It wasn't to be, as the JAX Destroyers came back to score a third goal, admittedly against the run of play. What added even more salt to the wound was that the Destroyer goal scorer, Jen O'Connor, actually scored a hat rick, AND used to be a 4 year starter for Head Coach Ged O'Connor, at Saint Leo University. "It is always nice to catch up and get to see the alums in action, but this, not so much. There was a little bit of banter during the game between her and me, but I must have upset her when I asked her why she didn't play that well at SLU. I think I upset her."
As the game moved into the final period, Coach O'Connor moved to actually having only 2 defenders and 5 forwards at one point, but unfortunately, the pressure that was created would not translate to the tying goal. That is how the game ended, a 2- 3 loss to the Destroyers. "It is always disappointing to lose a game. The manner in which we come out in the first half is beginning to be a habit that creates problems for us as we continue to get into games. We make it so much harder for ourselves to play our brand of soccer when we are chasing the game. If we can limit the mistakes early in the game and come out quicker and mentally more ready to go, I think we will win more games. That said, the game is over, and we now prepare for next weekend with back- to- back games away from home."
The Flames next game is at Younts Stadium, SC, home stadium of Central SC Cobras on Saturday at 6:30pm. To order tickets for the next home game vs Atlanta Silverbacks on the 7th July click here.