TELLURIDE – A lot was riding on Tuesday night’s coed soccer match. The Freaks hoped it would provide a remedy to their so-far winless season by bestowing them that illusive first victory. Flubbadubba yearned for the win as a turning point to their recent losing streak.
As it was, both intentions were thwarted by a 1-1 tie – leaving both the Freaks and Flubbadubba equally dissatisfied, and ever more eager to accomplish the mission at hand in their next games.
The Freaks moved quickly into control mode Tuesday night, stringing together a series of early plays brimming with promise. Star goal-scorer Drew Ludwig let fly two on-target shots in as many minutes, but Dubba goalie Walter Kvale stymied each attempt.
Flubbadubba next found themselves achingly close to taking the lead, after a routine pickup by Freaks net-minder Brett Bagsby went dangerously awry, leading to an untended goal in Dubba forward Chris Esch’s line of sight. A fast-moving Freak defender came to the rescue, however, re-directing the oncoming disaster.
The Freaks made a late-half offensive push into Dubba territory, but every attempt was spoiled by Dubba’s hostile defense. Sweeper Johnny Haas was essentially impossible to get around, leaving Freak offense high and dry going into halftime.
Despite being confounded by Dubba defense throughout the first half, the Freaks were carefully optimistic at the halftime break. The key, players said, was to not give away a goal in the first minutes of the second half, as they’ve done the last few games. The key, they said, was to score a goal themselves to get the new period started right.
The Freaks got their chance right off the bat, with two back-to-back corner kicks in the first five minutes of the second half. Gaps in Dubba defense still didn’t pave a route to a Freak goal, however, and Flubbadubba soon regained their composure. Esch, on another fast-moving breakaway, missed just wide of the net – but the effort seemed to light a fire under Flubbadubba’s feet. Sean McCarthy dribbled through a sea of Freak pink to land an open corridor to the Freak net, a corridor that he took full advantage of with a hard-fired shot into the upper right corner. The shot was the most promising the team had seen the entire match; but a diving save by the Freaks goalie illuminated why his teammates call him Air Bagsby.
McCarthy eventually found his redemption, however, with another shot that this time escaped Air Bagsby’s grasp and put Flubbadubba up 1-0.
A flustered Freak defense tried to regain their composure, aware that the fast-moving Flubbadubba offensive train was hard to stop once it got rolling. Freaks on the bench noticed player Moises Carillo was out of position, playing forward instead of maintaining defensible space in front of the Freak net.
“Moises! Get back! Get back! You’re on defense!” they screamed, to no avail – the ball was headed in Carillo’s direction. He turned towards the Dubba net, suddenly moving from being in the wrong place to being in just the right place.
“Well, if you’re going to play out of position you’d better score,” a teammate warned from the sidelines, watching Carillo maneuver through an unsuspecting Dubba defense.
And score he did, to put the Freaks even with Flubbadubba 1-1.
With just four minutes to go on the game clock, Flubbadubba had its moment to shine; an offense on the run drew Bagsby out of the net and into a precarious position, on the ground and not on top of the ball. A Dubba player took advantage of the unchaperoned net, tapping the ball into the corner; Alas, the play was a minute too late, as referees had blown the whistle on the earlier play and the goal thus didn’t count.
The missed opportunity proved to be the last for Flubbadubba, with the game ending minutes later with the scored locked at 1-1. A rule of no overtime in the regular season meant the tie would remain.
Despite their inability to post their first 2009 season win, the Freaks were optimistic that their Tuesday performance was a promising precursor to what’s ahead for this so-far beleaguered squad.
“That was the best the Freaks have played this season – and when the Freaks play well, the Freaks play really well,” said defender Craig Wasserman. “Yeah, and when we play well it causes other teams to Freak Out,” said Nate Frerichs.
Soccer action will take a hiatus for Labor Day, resuming Tuesday with games scheduled throughout the week.