JADE TREE UNITED SMASHED

Jade Tree United met 2nd placed FMC on Sunday, January 8 in a match that tested both teams’ skills and patience.

Recent Leyton Orient transfer Mike Hoffman wore Orange for the first time as he made his debut in front of the curious and eager JTU fans. Word of his transfer coming through had long been considered hearsay among JTU supporters.

FMC opened the match with a goal in the opening minutes. JTU responded as Mike Hoffman opened his account for JTU mere minutes into the match with a scorching left that drove the ball dead center into FMC’s net.

FMC were quick to regain their lead and the score quickly stood at 4-1, where it stayed until Casey Gallucio took a cross from Hoffman and netted his second goal of the season.

Mike Leyva had two shots saved by the FMC keeper, who also blocked a goal bound drive from Victor Alvarez.

Leyva finally saw his hard work pay off with a beautiful shot that sent the FMC keeper to the floor and the ball hard right into the net, all as he was fouled to the floor.

FMC kept on JTU, dividing the defense and giving the offense little room to operate. This tactic kept FMC up 4-3 before Mike Hoffman drove down field, faking the FMC keeper into the left corner and sweeping his second goal of the night into the net.

All level just before the end of the half, FMC were able to get back on top 5-4 as the game broke into halftime.

The second half started unevenly for JTU. The team pressed forward but just couldn’t get in position. Second-half goals from FMC in quick succession inflicted more woe on the last-place United team, which remains without a win this season.

Tim Owen got on the board 45 minutes in after he picked up on the FMC goalie’s mistake, punishing him by getting one back for JTU and lifting the team spirit.

Darren Walters was subjected to a brutal tackle that led to a two-minute yellow card suspension of an FMC player. As JTU surged to capitalize on this advantage, they just simply weren’t able to make the plays that they needed to in order to turn the game around.

Tired, beaten and sore, JTU fought to the end, but it just would not be enough. Ultimately, FMC beat JTU a sound 11-5.

Halfway through the season, the JTU teams finds themselves bottom of the table same as last year. However, the performances and teamwork have been much better in 2006, and there’s still a chance that JTU can turn things around before season’s end.

JADE TREE BEGIN THE YEAR WITH A DRAW

The night of Tuesday, January 3rd saw the return of Jade Tree United to the pitch.

After nearly two weeks off, the JTU squad was ready to get back to action as they looked to secure their first win of the season, as they faced off against WL Gore.

The first half was a drab affair for JTU and Gore. Both teams just couldn’t seem to get going. Instead, it was more of a cautious affair in which, at times, soccer even broke out – but only briefly.

Finally, Gore began an earnest attack, but they were still unable to find the net. But that wouldn’t last for long, as the JTU defense became unraveled and Gore was able to fire two shots into the JTU net in succession.

Those goals went unanswered as the JTU offense struggled to move its way up field.

A questionable handball decision by the referee gave Gore their third goal of the night, bringing JTU closer to despair. Although JTU finally began to show some spirit twenty minutes in, by the end of the half, Jade Tree would be down 4-0.

Coming into the second half, JTU looked more determined and took to attacking immediately.

Their efforts were rewarded when Forward Alex Milne rifled in a wide shot that left the Gore ‘keeper breathless.

The young winger Mike Reed nudged ahead of the Gore defense and slipped by them, enabling a follow up to Milne’s goal within mere seconds, bringing the score to 4-2.

JTU was now blazing with passion and the team pressed forward at every opportunity, throwing everyone forward as soon as JTU ‘keeper Jim Brooks released the ball back to his team.

Winger Darren Walters, so frustrating at times, recovered a rebound in front of the Gore net and took but a few steps before placing the ball squarely into the net to get JTU’s third goal of the night.

At this point in the match JTU looked unstoppable as Alfredo Agra, Tim Owen, and Victor Alvarez all took skilled, yet unsuccessful, shots on goal but ultimately forcing the Gore team to play a more defensive game.

Gore was able to take advantage of a JTU defensive miscue to get a goal as the game ticked away into the final minutes, putting them up 5-3. Jade Tree, however, was far from calling this match over.

As the match was in its final two minutes, JTU’s constant pressure once again paid off, as Alex Milne nipped in ahead of Gore’s defense and brought the ball down with a deft first touch, then turned and shot towards goal, sending the ball in over the line and making it 5-4.

Mike Reed had already struck the post for the third time in a row before Victor Alvarez provided him with an opportunity that he could not miss.

Alvarez had two chances on goal before he emerged from a series of tackles to flick the ball into the path of Mike Reed who put it away three seconds from full-time, setting the Fighting Orange up for a 5-5 draw and winning Jade Tree United’s first point of the season.

Jade Tree United are finally finding their legs and playing entertaining soccer to say the least. If the team keeps this up, they may just find a few more points coming their way this season.

DAVID BAZAN ANNOUNCES SOLO RECORD & PLOTS TOUR

PEDRO THE LION’s TW Walsh has decided to leave the band and take his life in a different direction, returning to his career as a software engineer. "Dave and I are still buddies," says Walsh, "I wish him the best, and I know that he’ll continue to thrive and grow as an artist on his own…I think his best work is still ahead of him. As for me, I’m thankful for all the experiences that my tenure with the band provided, but I am sure that this was the right decision for me and my family."

With TW’s departure, Bazan has decided to drop the PEDRO THE LION moniker and forge ahead under his own name. This is not to say that the PEDRO THE LION name will never be used again. But for now there will be no new releases or touring using the band name.

Bazan plans to work on a new studio album in the spring and summer that will be released by Jade Tree in early 2007. Says label co-owner Darren Walters, "I’m excited that David Bazan will continue to make music with jade tree, no matter what moniker that he chooses. David is a talented artist and has a unique perspective lyrically. I’m positive that whatever he creates, it will be nothing short of spectacular."

TW will continue work on his new project, , and will release a debut sometime in 2006.

In related news: David Bazan, Vic Chesnutt, Mark Eitzel (American Music Club), and Will Johnson (Centro-matic, South San Gabriel) will be touring together as the Undertow Orchestra in February. They’ll all be on stage together, taking turns performing songs while the others back them up on various instruments. Don’t miss your chance to see these four amazing artists perform together for the first time.