Wandered And Lost
Grilled Birds were defeated 0-2 by American II.3 club Steeple Sinderby Wanderers in The Global Trophy this day, as New York City's premier side rode an impregnable defence to ultimate victory. Their young Portuguese head coach Arnaldo Vaz demonstrated impressive tactical flexibility in essentially inverting the approach that had seen them see Wick Academy F.C. off last week, with the most important common factor in both wins being probably former national U-20 midfielder Freddy Krug.
Gone was the forward trio of Jeb Williams, Seran Campos-Molinas and Zeferino Bento Costa that had seen them put six past the Wicks, with only Costa remaining at the head of a 4-5-1; Włodzimierz Słodowicz would be a role-player alongside Krug as Wanderers made no bones about defending from the middle, as captain Denzell Koszarek dropped into defence alongside the returning Maciej Jamrożek.
While a regular free-kick taker for the club, Jamrożek had not quite been known for scoring from open play, yet that was exactly what he did in the second minute, as the Wanderers went at an unready Birds team. The Grilled players had evidently expected a passive introduction after their opponents' formation was declared, only to be taken aback as Costa went for the jugular from kick-off. His support wasn't shappy either, and Jamrożek would get his shot in, after Webb shoved Nick King out of the way.
The Birds were simply unable to get into their groove following that, and for all their possession were hardly able to manoeuvre their way into putting Patrick Rask on notice. Instead, it would be Jānis Salmiņš
being busy from beginning to end, as he had to contend with a tricky set-piece arrangement from Jamrożek in the seventh minute, before Słodowicz and King made credible attempts a minute apart, in the middle of the half. King wasn't done, getting a big save out of Salmiņš on their next counter, and the Birds would have to live with Alex Barton crashing a long shot off the crossbar next.
It was almost remarkable how Grilled were getting battered despite holding north of sixty percent of the possession, by the official stats, and Kalki Parvathaneni
took it upon himself to make a breakthrough two minutes after Barton's strike. This was perhaps Grilled's most electrifying move of the game thus far, as Kalki rushed past Lê Chiểu, and then evaded Koszarek's challenge in quick succession, but even that wasn't enough to properly test Rask, as Krug arrived with the block.
Indeed, Freddy Krug had contributed as much to the Birds' toothlessness as anybody else in the Wanderers team, with many a Birds attack halted in its infancy by the former Moab Potash youngster's nonstop pressing. His raw energy was overwhelming at times, with Moey Xin Seng
and Salah Kamel
- both noted for their dynamism - falling prey to Krug's harrying early in the second half.
This would indirectly lead to the Wanderers' second goal in the 56th minute, as Moey's square pass under Krug's herding, would be picked off by Słodowicz. A full-blown flood down the right flank ensued, and Alex Barton's low cross went straight through for Nick King to finish, at the far post.
That would prove the high point of Steeple Sinderby Wanderers' match, but for some reason, Grilled could simply not lift themselves sufficiently to threaten the opposition goal. The arrival of Wu Jinglong
, and then Chu Xin Lee
, would not change this sad reality, and the referee wouldn't wait long before signalling the end.