Kendall Wanderers 3 The Playwright FC 0

Kendall Wanderers 3  The Playwright FC 0

Kendall Wanderers   3
The Playwright FC 0
Bay State Soccer League – USASA (5th Division) – League Cup Final
11/5/2014 8:00PM
Pine Banks Park, Melrose, MA
Attendance: 45

Massive support for a USASA Region I match-up

I may be the first person in the history of United States soccer to call out of work mid-week to travel to a division five cup final.  And dammit, I am proud of it.  The illustrious McKenzie Cup Final fell on a crisp Wednesday evening in early November, where the storied Kendall Wanderers would be taking on The Playwright FC.  Both teams had a mildly successful campaign in the Bay State Soccer League, finishing mid-table, and both would be incredibly hungry to add a championship trophy to their campaign.   The Bay State Soccer League is the most competitive adult amateur soccer league in Massachusetts, with 40 teams participating in four separate divisions.  They have a fantastic promotion and relegation system in place, which allows for some intense battles on the pitch throughout the season. After taking my darling grandmother out for dinner at Kitty’s Restaurant in North Reading and stuffing my face with scallops, mashed potatoes, and french onion soup I began the short car ride to Melrose, MA.   Destination: Pine Banks Park – where literally nothing of importance has ever happened.  Odds are that this is the most prominent soccer match to ever grace it’s turf.  Therefore, I was about to witness a historic and very special night.

Wednesday Night Lights

I arrived on the scene by myself, like usual, and surveyed the playing field.   I took a deep breath of the autumn air, taking it all in.   The Kendall Wanderers had impressive support along the sidelines, bringing maybe 30-35 supporters, mostly made up of their B & C teams and The Playwright brought quite a few rabid fans as well.  Of course, this made my journey a little more awkward than usual, as I was alone taking pictures of random men playing soccer.  But, I was on a mission, and this underlying thought did not deter me from my journalistic responsibilities.  It would have been nice to see some organized support, or possibly a tifo or banner, but I always set my expectations too high.  I had to settle for the intermediate clapping, and the almost chorus-like “OOOH’S and “AAAH’S”.  Regardless of my ridiculous disproportionate expectations, it was fantastic to see the number of fans on the sidelines for this game.

The actual game was certainly entertaining with Kendall scoring to make it 1-0 going into the half. Typical break down of defense allowed the lone striker to slide the ball past the isolated goalkeeper.  The second half was filled with emotion, and both teams were incredibly chippy with one another.   Playwright tried desperately to achieve an equalizer, while Kendall continued to defend well and pounce on any opportunities.  We had a few yellow cards, a not so common strangulation choke hold, and plenty of bitching about offside calls.   The Wanderers continued to press throughout the second half and were able to make the final score 3-0.  Throughout the game I was distracted by the number of substitutions there were.  I believe Playwright completed 30 substitutions in the second half, nearly averaging 1 per minute.  Kendall made quite a few as well, which made me wonder how effective they will be in Massachusetts qualifier for the Amateur & Open Cup over the next few weeks of November and December.  At this stage they will be playing under USSF requirements and will only be able to make three substitutions per game.

All in all, the experience was a positive one.  The Kendall Wanderers had been crowned the McKenzie Cup Winners.  It was fantastic to see the support on the sidelines from both squads, and it is always amazing to see two teams work so hard for a full 90.  All for the love and passion of the sport.
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The Kendall Wanderers will be competing in the semi-finals of the MA USOC Cup Qualification where they take on Boston Olympiakos on December 6th.  The Wanderers are competing for the right to represent Massachusetts in Region I qualification for the 2016 US Open Cup.  The team was also competing in the MA Amateur Cup Qualification, but were knocked out by BSSL’s regular season champion, First Wave, in the first round in penalty kicks.

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