San Diego- Kevin Rueda, David Banks, Jaime Munroe, P.J. Brown, Nate Heatherington, Leighton O'Brien, Kevin Legg, Carlos Farias (Mauricio Alegre '69), Mugurel Dumitru (Adam Frye '46), Mark Baena, Guillermo Jara (Shandley Phillips '79).
US Pro-40- Matt Nyman, Dan Califf, Adam Eyre, Carlos Bocanegra (Micah Cooks '46), Tim Sahaydak, Francisco Gomez, Yuri Lavrinenko (Christof Lindenmayer '72), Vicente Figueroa, Maurizio Rocha, Marvin Quijano (Sergio Salas '80), Jamar Beasley.
GOALS- Mark Baena '47 (assist G. Jara), M. Baena '61 (J. Munroe), Adam Frye '89 (M. Baena)
It's certainly great to be back in season! And the Flash seem to have a new and more determined feel this year. They seem to be "Steppin' It Up" as this year's San Diego Flash marketing theme says. And even though there were some bush league events that happened, I still have to believe that everyone is a lot more serious this year about winning, and bringing home the championship.
First of all, there's a new ticket system in place. I haven't yet got my season ticket, so I had to walk up and buy a game day ticket like everyone else. However, the seats are now divided between east side and west side. West side seats are the same side as the press box, and are the preferred seats, and from there you can go down on the field to the seats behind the goal. But since I walked up to the east side, I couldn't get a preferred seat without walking all the way around to the west side, and paying two bucks more. I was with a friend of mine, so we just got the east side seats and I sat on the concrete seats. Next week, I'll definitely try to get down on the field! But I
must say that by having some seats be designated as preferred, it felt more like a professional league experience, like a Padres or Chargers game, where different seats are different prices. Once I get my season ticket, I'll be fine.
Next, in the stadium the concessions are much better than last year. Good looking dogs and nachos, and the merchandise also looked good, displaying the new Flash logo. And also, there is a new program they call a yearbook since it will be the same one for every game, with an insert for each visiting team's roster. The program was really nice, and had some nice pictures of the Flash's
proposed stadium. And when you flip the program over, it becomes the program for the Riverside County Elite D3 team, with their roster and player information. They did a really nice job on that program. I'm planning on getting more copies to send to friends. At $3 it's a great buy. Contact me or the Flash office if you want one. They're very nice!
Also looking very good this year are the new Flash girls. I don't normally pay attention to the cheerleaders, but there were some very good looking young women wearing tight two piece black outfits with gold trim, and I couldn't help but notice them! Especially when a pair came over to me and offered to sell me a program. How could I resist!?!
Anyway, on to the game. The Flash were basically flat the first half. There was a lot of up and down the field, but hardly any midfield play. The Flash defense was tested a lot, and to their credit they came through. Kevin Rueda made some great saves. He also got messed up a couple of times by his defenders, when neither defender nor keeper knew if the other was going to clear the ball. Fortunately we escaped without too much danger, although the Pro-40's did hit the post once, and had a couple of other shots that went wide.
Then, in minute '39 the bank of lights on the post above the press box went out. The P-40's were on a breakaway at that moment, and they had the ball deep in Flash territory. At that end of the field there was still plenty of light. But referee Richard Herron blew the whistle and picked up the ball, and suspended play. All the P-40 players were furious, and circled the ref, but he would have none of it. In fairness, I think they should have continued playing until the ball was cleared, or went out of play or something. But now with play stopped and players just walking around back to their benches, another bank of lights went out! I thought that since there were only five minutes
left in the half they should have just called halftime, and put five extra minutes at the end of the second half. But that wasn't the case. In fact, about 5-10 minutes later, the sprinklers came on right along the sideline where the players benches were. Water was sprayed all along that sideline, as well as on the bleachers where the fans were sitting behind the goal lines. People in the press box were trying to find the box with the switches to the lights and the water, but then I noticed the press box lights go out too! Finally, after maybe 30 minutes, the lights were back on and the water was turned off. Play resumed at the '39 minute, and after 5 or 6 minutes halftime was called.
Just before the start of the second half our booster club was able to present our 1999 Fan Favorite Player award to Kevin "Leggy" Legg. Our club has made ballots the past two years at the last home game for fans to vote for their favorite player. I was supposed to be down there at the presentation, but since I had the wrong kind of ticket I couldn't get down there. But another booster club member, Chris Sieniarecki, did a fine job.
The second half started, and it was like a whole different Flash team out there. Within two minutes Mark Baena had his first goal in a Flash uniform. A lot of credit also goes to Guillermo Jara, who broke free from two defenders along the left edge of the penalty area, and then passed it in front of the goal mouth to Mark who was running in to put it away. That really got everyone in the crowd pumped up, and took our attention away from all the problems with the stadium. And another two minutes after that goal, Mark Baena almost had a second goal. The Flash really seemed to have had the advantage to the power outage, since it gave them time to regroup and get a talking-to from new coach
At minute '61, things looked good for the P-40's. They had pushed forward and Vicente Figueroa got a shot off that hit the post. They looked very dangerous, but less than a minute later the Flash had their second goal! Another Mark Baena goal, with an assist from Jaime Munroe. Shortly after that, I noticed that the Flash were very willing to play out the clock, and were trying to
preserve the two goal lead. I don't know if the P-40's were demoralized or just didn't care anymore, but there wasn't much more of an attack from them the rest of the night. The only one who seemed to still want a goal was Jamar Beasley. He had some good runs and stretched out the defense, but he didn't have much help.
Late in the game, after many of the fans had already started leaving, (it was about 10PM when the game ended, due to all the stadium problems) the Flash got their third goal, gaining them the "bogus" point. The goal was scored by Adam Frye, who had surprised my by being in a Flash uniform. He was announced as a second half sub for Mugurel Dumitru, but I thought the PA announcer should have said that he was on the P-40 squad. I knew he had been picked up by the Galaxy recently, and I figured that last year the P-40's were really the pick of the MLS benches, so Adam could have been on that squad. But I found out later that he was on loan from the Galaxy, which makes me think maybe we'll really see some "affiliate" type moves this year. I also know that Adam had been training with the Flash in the pre-season, and had he not been picked up by MLS he could very well have been on this team.
After the game we had the traditional post game party at Players Sports Grill, just like last year. Almost all the players were there, and it was nice to talk to them. Coach Clarke was there too, and he seemed to be having a good time, celebrating his first win with the Flash. I hope it was the first of many more to come.
I brought a little pad of paper to the game to make notes on, and I think I got the players names right and their subs and times. I'll try to do that regularly to add to these match reports. I hope I still have a few readers at this point, as I just realized this is a pretty long report! Feel free to send me comments or suggestions, and I'll try to answer questions in the San Diego Flash - Fan Discussion area of www.usldiscussions.com We'll see the Boston Bulldogs next week. I'll be there!
San Diego Flash Soccer Club - 1998, 1999 Pacific Division Champs - Last game vs. US Pro-40, W 3-0. Next game, Sat. Apr. 15 vs. Boston Bulldogs.