05.25.08 - Azzuri Finishes Runner Up in Orange Bowl Consolation Game
Orange Bowl was a fun soccer and life experience for the girls.
Azzuri started their tournament strong against East Diablo Evolution going 3 - 0. They then tied the Tracy FC Triumph 1 - 1 which put Azzuri in first place in their group. So Azzuri had to beat California Odyssey Red Sunday in their first game Sunday to qualify for the championship game versus CV Arsenal. Azzuri played a very solid game throught. Defenses for both teams were dominating the play. However, Azzuri couldn't overcome three direct kicks called outside the penalty box. Odyssey eventually was able to convert one of the three for a 1 - 0 win. CV Arsenal beat Cal Odyssey 2 - 1 and won it all eventually.
So, Azzuri had to play the Tracy FC Triumph again in the consolation game. The game was as competitive as the previous game and defenses continued to win the battles. Azzuri dominated the game though and were attacking for 90% of the game. Azzuri's GK probably touched the ball about 3 - 4 times the second half. Time expired with the score tied 0 - 0 so penalty kicks and the best out of five for either team was going to finish ahead. PKs was the first for Azzuri and most of its players. During the game, I was joking with Jim I didn't mind going to PKs. Afterwards he said "you got your wish". Triumph scored first and put the pressure on Azzuri to make their PK. Soha missed the first PK and Azzuri was now behind 0 - 1 (1). Triumph then scored on their second PK to pull further ahead. Azzuri missed their second PK and fell behind even more 0 - 2 (2). Caitlin made a great save on the third Triumph PK giving Azzuri some hope. When her turn was next, Charlotte calmly took and scored bringing Azzuri closer 1 - 2 (3). Triumph then made their next PK and were now well in the lead 1 - 3(4). Phoebe made her PK to pull Azzuri within 2 - 3 (4). Triumph only needed to convert their final PK to wrap things up. They did and so Azzuri finished runner up. It was a very exciting finish. There was quite a crowd watching the PK drama. Azzuri earned runner up medals for their great effort.
Teams and players learn a lot more from losing rather than by winning all the time. And Azzuri had been winning most of their games. Bob (Mari's dad) mentioned Azzuri lost twice in about a year and a half of regular season games which was quite a streak.
Overall, a great and fun was had by all at Orange Bowl in Tracy, California.