Northwind lose IC17 opener to USA Revolution in greasy conditions
By Justin Robertson
Canada lose IC17 opener to USA Revolution in greasy conditions
A flat spot in the third quarter cost Canada's Northwind a win against archrivals USA Revolution in their International Cup (IC17) opener on Sunday.
In a tight, physical match where goals were as rare as hens teeth, the Revolution slammed on five goals midway through the third quarter in a scoring spree to open up a definitive 30-point lead. The decisive gap was too hard to close for Northwind who eventually lost the encounter 25-45 in blustery and greasy conditions.
Cody Royle, head coach of Northwind, said his US opposition kicked goals when the game was there to be won.
"Our group talk a lot about the little things in footy - manipulating space, sticking tackles, instructional talk - and we let those things slide and were made to pay the price," he said. "I think our guys actually got a lot of confidence from the game. Now that we've played a game and performed okay, the fear of the unknown is now gone."
In front of a lively crowd of more than a couple of hundred football fans at McAlister Oval in Melbourne, Canada scored the game's first goal through captain Justen Oertel , converting truly from a free-kick 30-metres from goal. But the first quarter belonged to the Revolution as they peppered the goals but squandered their opportunities, kicking one goal from six scoring shots.
Conditions were slippery under foot, early. The match started with light rain, accompanied with a with a three-goal advantage wind blowing to one end. Players from both teams were slipping over and found it tough to pick the ball up and tall options found it difficult to take clean marks. But as the match wore on, the weather improved and conditions became fine and dry.
Northwind's Adam Nash slotted through Canada's second goal in the second quarter from a neat set-shot snap and veteran Kyle Graham looked prominent up forward. Despite the bigger bodies of the Revolution, Northwind's fleet-footed runners were able to dominate without impacting the scoreboard. James Duggan on the wing got a lot of the ball, as too, Clay Lund.
By the main break, Canada held a slender 14-12 lead. But a handful of errors inside their defensive 50 cost them dearly as the Revolution converted five goals and opened up a match-winning lead with a 44-14 scoreline midway through the third quarter.
Torontonian and Northwind vice-captain James Duggan, 25, said the team was disappointed with the result and labeled the loss a missed opportunity.
"We have to ensure that we maintain a consistent work rate from the first siren to the last. Unfortunately we didn't bring the levels of intensity and smarts that we needed for a large portion of the third quarter and that's what ultimately cost us," the Toronto Dingos Football Club player said. "The beauty of a tournament like this is that you have a chance to redeem yourselves in three days."
Canada will have a chance at redemption in their next match against Great Britain on Wednesday Aug.9 at St. Francis Xavier College.