A busy and exciting day in international football—so what better focus for a blog post than the debut of my new futsal team, Albina Going FC?
The Going (named in honor of North Portland, the former freestanding City of Albina, and a cool little street therein; attempted homage: Accrington Stanley FC) stepped out on the new, cushy plastic pitch at the fantastic, just-opened indoor venue Portland Futsal last night for its first-ever match against Open Division opponents Real Sur. Suffice it to say we lacked a full squad—we started the match with the minimum five players, none of whom had ever played a minute of futsal. Real, on the other hand, called upon a four-man bench and some big, husky, fast dudes who sort of looked like they knew what they were doing. However, futsal seems to be an even funnier old game than the full-sided version, its teeny-tiny pitch, lightning speed and frequent quick reversals of fortune lending an air of entertaining uncertainty to just about every second.
As a measure of our roster desperation, I started in goal, and managed to surrender four. However, AGFC's four fielders seemed to adapt quickly to this unfamiliar, internationally recognized indoor variant, and we got three back. And then Big Nick, one of our goalscorers, decorously stepped out into the alley behind Portland Futsal's warehouse digs to vomit. We were off to the proverbial flyer.
Reinforced by the half-time arrival of Young Adrian, our token sub-thirtysomething, and the gracious volunteer service of Portland Futsal owner Paul Lomanto in goal, the Going seemed poised to make a real match of it in the second half. Unfortunately, I was now in the field. One Real goal glanced into the net off my arse; I was solely responsible for another resulting from a bumbling give-away in our defensive half. Between the triad I gave up as 'keeper and those two defensive beauts, I was individually responsible for the difference in the 7-3 final score. Ad astra! A pretty move, indeed.
Next week's match against Casa Futsal II (what—a reserve team? we'll moider 'em!) should see the Albina boys approaching our full fearsome strength. So watch yerself, futsallers—we may spray half-digested food at you at any time.
Meanwhile, in other news: The NYT weighs in with a typically opinionated and dyspeptic interview with erstwhile US Nats coach Bruce Arena. Now installed at New York Red Bulls, aka the crappiest franchise in Major League Soccer, Arena repeatedly unloads on former boss (and "longtime friend") Sunil Gulati, Prez of the US Soccer Federation. Interesting that Arena, who led the White Buffalo to its entirely underwhelming performance in Germany, believes the real problems with soccer in America reside above his pay grade. Who knows—maybe he's right!