Reported by: Shiloh Rodriguez
PORTLAND, Ore. – Irwin FC won the Winter 1 Sunday Coed League Championship February 6, defeating the Thundercats 9-5 at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center (MJCC) Indoor Soccer facility. The clash of the two undefeated teams was a mouth-watering fixture enjoyed by the many spectators in attendance. Irwin FC showed tremendous character by rebounding from an early 3-1 deficit.
Irwin FC manager/goalkeeper Nick Irwin gave his team praise after the match, “I could not be more happy for our squad, we showed grit coming back from an early deficit” He later went on to say, “the players left everything out on the pitch, this win is huge for the club and most importantly for our fans.”
The final was nothing short of entertaining with five lead changes. It was the Thundercats that found the back of the net first scoring shortly after the kickoff. Joe Fleckenstein (also know as Footy Guru in the blogging world) equalized for Irwin FC, striking a strongly driven low shot to the far post, leaving Thundercats’ keeper Max (hospital-ball) Schuetze dumbfounded. During the first half Irwin FC continued to pressure the defense creating numerous opportunities; however, this would soon backfire. The Thundercats punished Irwin FC for committing too many players forward scoring off of a counterattack and went into the halftime with a 2-1 lead.
At the beginning of the second half the Thundercats picked up right where they left off, capitalizing on the counterattack to take a 3-1 lead. It was at this point that Irwin FC seemed to hit a higher gear, essentially scoring six unanswered goals. The final score line of 9-5 does not accurately reflect the evenly contested match.
Irwin FC was collectively disappointed that star striker Steve Strand could not suit up for football on Super Bowl Sunday. “I blame our sluggish start on Steve’s absence, if he was here, it would have been an entirely different game,” Nick said after the game. Strand was in San Francisco over the weekend on a recruiting/business trip with adidas.
Striker Ross Schunk, who won the MLS Cup Championship with the Colorado Rapids in November, put on an impressive performance scoring twice (the league’s scoring limit for males).
Alissa Russell, the former Portland State University Women’s Soccer player, had her best game of the season netting four goals. Her critics were initially skeptical, there were rumors that she indulged in pre-game drinking; critics were silenced after her inspirational performance.
The club will continue its undefeated trek next week in the MJCC Indoor Soccer Coed League. Nick will announce what day the team will be playing in the next couple of days.
Irwin FC lineup:
Mike Fogg, Joe Fleckenstein, Jessica Ehlers, Bryan Irwin, Alissa Russell, Juan Mercado, Nick Irwin, Shiloh Rodriguez, Ross Schunk
· Jessica Ehlers has yet to take a shot on goal.
· Juan Mercado started the match off a bit sluggish; rumors suggest he ate excessively before the game, four bratwurst sausages to be exact.
· Mike Fogg (aka Fogg Machine) showed tremendous heart, taking a ball to the face causing his nose to bleed. He was forced to leave the pitch but returned moments later.
· There will be another team photo taken at the first match of next session to makeup for absent players (Steve Strand)