Monday March 26th
Woke up beat to hell but forced myself up and skipped breakfast (no time). Left hotel at 9:30 am to walk to turf field across the street from Camp Nou for coaches course with Jordi Vinyals and Arnau. Coaches ran sessions and they critiqued them to improve. Paul and I went to Barca offices to secure tickets for Stadium Tour, Athletic Bilbao game, and Milan game.
1pm – Went on the museum tour again, took pics, and enjoyed seeing how excited the kids and parents get.
Went to eat with Arnau and Mikel.
4pm Bus departed hotel for our first game against Junior. Our boys are mostly 2002’s with a few 2001s and were playing against Alevin B which is composed of 2000s and 2001s. This was the boys first ever 7 a side game after 2 ½ weeks of preparation to adjust from playing 8 v 8. Our transition was not ideal and main deficiencies were our outlets after goal kicks in build up since we have no wide mids that they are used to playing to on the sideline in 8 a side. The other one was our outside backs not pushing high enough defensively when opponent switched the point of attack to the weak side.
First 15 minute quarter line up was Joel – Rivaldo, Jeffrey, Jona – Romario and Ima – and Lebron up top. We scored first off regular corner when Lebron served it and Romario volleyed home at the far post from 5 yards out. Junior quickly rebounded and tied it 2 minutes later off a 20 yard bomb from their CM after he split our midfielders and hit a shot prior to being closed out by Jeffrey. First quarter ended 1-1. *** Side-note we subbed Rivaldo out since he was a mess and Oscar in. Also Ima was a mess so we got Arthur in and he was no better.
Second quarter line up had a few switches. Joel – Oscar, Chuy, Andrew – Lebron, Arthur – and Pablo up top. Our back row made a couple of bad mistakes and turnovers which led to a goal off turnover. Andrew and Chuy super soft. Half Time ended down 2-1.
3rd quarter line up – Joel – Rivaldo, Jeff, Jona – Romario, Artur – and Lebron on top. We started terrible and got popped after Riva gave ball away and it got crossed and drilled from top of box. Within the next 5 minutes they dropped two more goals off Rivaldo’s side. SUUUUUB! Oscar in, Rivaldo out, but way too late, game was done….down 4-1 with 25 minutes left. Lebron dropped to the middle and Pablo up top. This lineup gave us immediate results with ball control. Pablo beat his man on the left and crossed to a streaking Lebron who tapped into an open goal to cut the lead to 4-2. We finally got some confidence and I told the boys to move the ball faster, 1 or 2 touch so we wouldn’t keep getting bitched all over the field. Romario then carved a man on the right baseline and drilled a shot that beat the keeper near post. 3rd quarter ended down 4-3.
We were flying and confident going into the final quarter with all the momentum on our side. Lineup was Joel – Oscar, Jeffrey, Jona – Jacob, Artur – Pablo. Gave Lebron and Romario 3 minute break to come back and kill it. Plan worked to perfection. We got Romario back in and he hit a bomb that slipped through goalies legs to tie the game 4-4. The tidal wave was coming and could not be stopped. Lebron ends up beating his man on the left side of the field and hits a streaking Ima for an easy finish to take the 5-4 lead that we would not relinquish.
** Performance was soft to begin…jet lag and fatigue on the players were evident early in the game….Riva, Ima, Artur were the most affected.