MIC Day 2
The second day of MIC would be the most anticipated match day, not only for the boys here, but for all the players who came before them and for the club and for US soccer. El Super Clasico between FC Barcelona and TFA (that’s us) was on the minds of all in MIC. The crowd flocked to L’Estartit stadium to see these two teams battle it out. The game did not disappoint the standing room only spectators.
Barca’s starting line up featured all their top players.
The pregame stuff was over, the whistle blew, and a great roar came over the stadium. After that, the dogs were let loose.
We pressed the Barca players like they have never been pressured before. The maximum intensity that each player showed would be a sticking point to the many agents and scouts that were on hand to see the event. Barca players have been used to playing with ease, with their opponents sitting back and allowing them to have the ball … not with us. “In their faces!” was the motto. Don’t let them breathe.
As predicted the game would come down to set pieces, as there wasn’t much difference between the two squads. The first came in the 14th minute on a corner kick for TFA. A short corner between Uly and Efrain resulted in Efrain crossing the ball into the box with his left foot and finding the youngest player on the team Romario, who was the first to react after Barca failed to clear the ball. With a little flick into the back of the net, TFA was doing the supposed impossible.
The lead lasted only three minutes as Barca was awarded a free kick to the right of the goal 30 yards out. The ball was crossed to a group of six Barca players standing in an offside position on the six-yard box. The ref swallowed his whistle, probably in disbelief that TFA was winning and why so many Barca players were offside. (In MIC there is only one ref and for the most part they do a decent job by themselves.) However, this one made a huge mistake that would leave a devastating impact on the players and staff. Sorry doesn’t cut it … he admitted he made a mistake at half time, but just not good enough.
The second half continued to showcase both team’s talent – and with the intensity of the game – every loose ball and fifty-fifty challenge could impact the result. Barca found themselves starting to turn the screw and had some chances, the best coming from Ansu inside the box, only to hit the crossbar. The TFA players were displaying courageous defending blocking shots inside the box and sacrificing their bodies to maintain the tie. The final whistle blew and the teams would have to settle for a draw 1-1.
It was a victory in the eyes of the players and staff, as they just competed with the best in the world and could have won the game.
Barca was never allowed to play short on goal kicks or goal keeper distribution, but TFA was. Funny how that is. The players work rate and talent did not go unnoticed.
Chief Scout, Head of Youth Recruitment for Manchester United, Derek Langley, was on hand for the game. Speaking with him before the match, he couldn’t wait to see the team perform. It was after the game that he couldn’t stop praising the performance and the quality of players and style that was on display. He was so impressed he wanted to have a meeting with us afterwards. In this meeting, he said and I quote:
“In my 12 years coming to this tournament, this was the best game I have ever seen. Watching this game restored my faith in football and was a breath of fresh air.”
– Derek Langley (Chief Scout for Manchester United)
What a compliment to all the players, parents and staff that have put in long hard hours to make this happen. In addition, he stated there were players that have been identified as Manchester United class A quality that he is very interested in.
Part one of the mission accomplished … now it’s time to bring down the next giant and showcase our talent to the world, followed by the MIC trophy! Tenga!