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.