GT 2002

TV'02 at Columbus, OH

 

The veterans from left to right (click picture to see the full size one):

 

Front: Huang Zhining, Jia Feng, Chen Chen, Chen Minghua, Hu Bo, Zhang Liang

Middle: Yao Jian, Zhao Peng, Liu Ruoheng, Chen Wei, Wang Guoqing, Wang YuJue, Li Bin

Rear: Yao Jian's girl friend, Shao Rui (Jia Feng's wife), Zhou XiangRong, Zhang Jun, Xie Jun, Zhou Lisong, Shao Jie (Wang Jiang's girlfriend), Wang Jiang, Xing Yukun

 

 

7th Chinese National Soccer Tournament (semi-finalist among 10 teams)

 

       Columbus, OH, 8/31-9/1, 2002

 

       The squad: (19)

           Jia Feng, Chen Chen, Chen Wei, Li Bin, Zhou Lisong, Wang Guoqing,

           Huang Zhining, Zhang Jun, Zhang Liang, Zhao Peng, Wang Jiang,

           Yao Jian, Zhou Xiangrong, Chen Minghua, Wang Yujue, Xie Jun,

           Hu Bo, Liu Ruoheng, Xing Yukun

 

       Game Results:

 

       Day One, playing against two seeds and one nonseed:

 

           vs. New York Wild Wolves  0:1

               first half   0:0

               second half  0:1

 

           vs. Ohio State University 0:0

 

           vs. CalBlue Hunters       1:1

               first half   0:0

               second half  0:1

                            1:1 (Zhang Liang)

 

           Ranked #8 after the first day game, qualified for the

           second day elimination rounds.

 

       Day Two, elimination rounds

 

           quarterfinal

           vs. Dallas United         2:0

               first half   1:0 (Chen Wei)

               second half  2:0 (Huang Zhining)

 

           semifinal

           vs. Chicago Honta         0:2

               first half   0:0

               second half  0:1

                            0:2

 

       Win 1,  Tie 2,  Lose 2, Goals scored 3, Goals allowed 4.

       Tournament scorers: Zhang Liang, Chen Wei, Huang Zhining.

 

Team report

 

By Chen Chen

 

Part 1.

----------

 

First Day

(1)

We hold our breath until the last moment of the first day games. When Da Fengzi

called in the night, from the talks I could feel he was as relieved as we were.

It was a tough day.

 

First game with NYWW, they attacked, and we defended. We used 4-5-1. Their No.7

mid-fielder and  their no-hair forward put great pressure on our side. But

strong as they were, our defense line endured and didn't give them many

shooting chances. Their goal came at a free kick in the second half, the ball

flying into penalty box, headed by a tall guy toward the goal; Zhang Jun

reached the ball but didn't get full control. 0:1. We moved the line forward a

bit. A few minutes later, their goalie moved our to kick a ball, but it didn't

go far and bounced toward Chen Wei some 30 meters away from the goal. The

latter hit it with no second waiting toward far corner of the goal. We all

believed it would be a goal, but the goal-keeper rushed full-speed back and

touched the ball out with a flying hand. 0:1 till the end.

 

On the other fields Dallas 2:1 won Calblue, SV Tiger ?:0 won Chinatown, Ohio

0:1 lost to Chicago (Ohio missed a PK).

 

(2)

TV had an empty turn in the second time slot. We watched Ohio and thought about

plans to defeat them. On the three fields NYWW 3:0 won Wisconsin, Dallas 2:1

won NJ United, Ohio 1:1 tied Chinatown (Ohio again missed a PK), SV Tiger (?:?)

won Chicago.

 

(3)

TV really wanted to win Ohio. We had the advantage of and watching Ohio and

resting in second round. We used 4-4-2. Having many players, Ohio hold the

strategy of sending a less-skillful lineup to run in first 20 to 30 minutes and

then switching on their core team in the rest games. In the first half TV

generated many opportunities, including Xing Yukun's two head shot that barely

missed the goals. But without a goal the situation grew gradually more

difficult for TV, after Ohio's better line-up was switched on, which included

Cai Shan, a former pro, Wei Ge as forward, and some other quick attackers. TV's

physical condition came to a critical point in the second half, when first our

forward Xing Yukun injured his long-troubled ankle and then our mid Li Bin had

his ankle twisted too. Our tough defender Wang Guoqing began to feel tight leg

muscle at about the same time. We switched players but felt less comfortable.

Ohio's pressure on our defense line increased. Still, in a free kick Hu Bo

managed to head the ball twice in a chaos toward Ohio's goal. Twice the ball

hit the post and bounced back. We didn't managme to break through. 0:0.

 

Although we felt the result deserved to be so for our decreasing energy, our

hearts grew heavier as we face our last first-round opponent Calblue. We were

burdened by the possibility of going home with nothing.

 

An anecdote happened during the game. Those of you knowing Wei Ge always know

his toughness on the field. When he as a forward competing a ball with Zhou

Lisong our sweeper and tough defender, it was told that Shao Rui, who is Jia

Feng's wife and our long-time cheer leader, protestingly complained to Wei Ge

and 'asked' him to be careful and not to injure Lisong. Wei Ge was said to

grinned and embarrassingly signaled to Ohio bench to make a switch. What

happened later I forgot to ask but it was funny enough for us to discussing it

in the dinner table.

 

On the other fields NYWW in their last game 1:1 tied NJ United to have 7

points, SV Tiger also 1:1 tied Calblue to have 7 points, Dallas 2:1 won

Wisconsin to have 9 points.

 

Seeding teams Dallas, NYWW, Tiger ranked high in the cloud. All the rest of the

teams had a chance to go to second round. Chinatown and Wisc would for sure

have an out-team between them, and through calculation we found a tiny tiny

lead against OSU if we can win 1 point in the game with Calblue. We thus based

our strategy on defense, hoping Calblue would also be satisfied in gaining 1

point to go to second round.

 

(4)

Our new players began to play a pivotal role in the team. Zhao Peng already

stood out as an energetic wing-defender in the first two games. Now Wang Jiang

was showing his good judgement and toughness as a stopper and Yao Jian was

holding the right-wing defense well and confident to give Guoqing some resting

time. At the forward Lui Ruoheng was creating great disturbance in Calblue's

defense by his speed and strength. Calblue, as He Biao later told us, lost a

few players in the last moments, but still it was a very competitive team and

their No. 9 player was very fast and skillful. All the winning teams, Dallas,

NYWW, Tiger, began to rest and sit besides the fields to study their potential

opponents.

 

We hold our defense well in the first half. 0:0 in to mid-break. However in the

second half Calblue switched on a few very fast players and generated great

pressure on our defense. 15 minutes into the second half, Calblue had a corner

kick, and No. 9 used his fast starting speed to move away from our defender and

headed a beautiful goad into our net. 0:1. The worst fear happened, we became

desperate. We put Zhang Liang, our running champion and one of the two

back-waist, into the front and switched lineup to 4-4-2. The desperation erased

any of our concerns on energy-saving, and we used all our resourses to try to

get a goal back. Luckily enough our effort generated results. Ten minutes later

Zhang Liang received a passing around penalty box and by body energy quickly

moved forward through a tiny space between Calblue defenders and shot a high

ball that barely passed goal-keeper and into the net! 1:1. This was our first

goal and a deadly important goal. We escalated and our cheer team began to

chant "Another one!". Even so, we knew we couldn't sustain this pressure on

Calblue without risking our defense, so we again switched back to 4-5-1 and

defended the result till the end. We are in!

 

Part 2.

----------

 

Just had a nap. The games made any sleep easy and effortless :)

 

Did I give enough credits to the new players in the 2002 team? I don't think

so. Some of them I already mentioned, and some I'd like to mention here. For

senior TVs not going there it's also a chance to further knowing them.

 

Three new student players, Wang Yujue from Penn State, Xie Jun from U Virginia

and Chen Minghua from Berkeley all played energeticly as wing mid-fielders.

They ran up and down a lot, and shared a significent part of defense. Zhou

Xiangrong, also a new TV from Maryland, held the back-waist position strong and

processed balls decisively when others were tired. To have them in the

difficult times was really a steady force.

 

Our old players are the rocks. I never saw Jia Feng in such a fit condition

before. He was constantly in motion. Mid-field players' defense focus didn't

leave much support to him, and he was usually the one facing multiple defenders

and still creating opportunities for himself. Zhou Lisong was simply THE ONE of

our sweeper position. He had not a minute off the field. Both his feet were

bleeding after the semi-final games. But we didn't lost an inch of toughness on

field. Huang Zhining took care of most of our corner kicks, and you would know

later that he contributed significently to our winning of Dallas.

 

Our injured players quickly found a second job too. After twisting his ankle,

Li Bin took on the coach responsibility, constantly stood on his feet to remind

players on the field and to arrange substitutes. Xing Yukun was injured quite

badly, but still quickly dedicated to be our team's professional photographer.

I hope he recorded our faces, energy and spirit down to bits and bytes.

 

Shao Jie, Wang Jiang's girlfriend and also a Tsinghua graduate, joined the

tireless Shao Rui to become our logistic team, ordering lunches and carrying

waters and all other stuff. Yao Jian's girlfriend also cheered for the team

throughout the games. As Chairman Mao correctly, wisely and intelligently

instructed, "women hold half the sky".

 

Now you know the real people behind the results, I would go back to where the

last report stops and continue the excitement of the games.

 

 

Part 3.

----------

 

Still the First Day

 

In the end of the first day games, all the teams' ranking was as follows:

1.Dallas(9)  2.NYWW(7)  3.Tiger(7)  4/5.Chinatown/Chicago(4)

6.Calblue(2)  7.NJ United(2)  8.Tsinghua(2)

9.OSU(2)  10.Wisc(0)

 

We were extremely relieved to carry TV flag into the next round, and by our

thinking it was not a bad choice to be No.8 and face Dallas, our last year's

Waterloo team. Dallas's shining wins in all three games seemed to cover their

weaknesses, yet being at Dallas myself I had the chance to really know the team

and their pros and cons.

 

We had a happy dinner that night. People going through this day's up-and-downs

for the first time put pressure aside the shoulder. The Chinese restraurant had

a Karao OK machine and a big screen, where Xing Yukun, Wang Jiang and Zhou

Xiangrong exhibited their winding, gentle, faked-Cantonese voices. Some people

have some two brushes, liang(3)ba(3) shua(1)zi, I thought.

 

Second Day

 

(1) vs. Dallas

Dallas team has good players in both left-wing and right-wing, and its two

forwards are charastic two: one very good at shooting, the other very fast in

speed. We planned to mark these positions and fight control at the middle

field, where Dallas is weaker. The strategy was fine in theory, but it really

depended on execution and we were realistic in expecting both good and bad

after not a very smooth first day.

 

We still used 4-5-1, not eager to leave much space for their fast forward. The

first 20 minutes Dallas created many chaos at our sides, and their free kicks

and corner kicks were threatening with some strong players competing high balls

with us. They had a few good opportunities at this period, but they missed them

and those opportunities never came back. We gradually moved the battle field to

the middle. One time Jia Feng penetrated down in the left route but disturbed

by their sweeper and didn't have a chance to shoot. Just five minutes before

end of first half, we had a chance when lucky me passed the ball down an open

space between their defenders to already full-speed Chen Wei, who despite a

small angle accurately shot the ball into far corner of the net, 1:0! Our team

boiled.

 

Having a fruit in hand we were more patient into defense. Now our goal keeper

Zhang Jun began to be hot after putting contact lens on. He made some beautiful

savings and kept the goal as tight as an envelope. 20 minutes into second half,

we won a free kick at the right corner outside their penalty box. Huang Zhining

had an amazing kick and the ball flew a nice curve directly into the upper far

corner. 2:0! Our team went wild. What a moment! We locked the result till the

end.

 

If only for winning this game, we felt well worth all the troubles to Ohio.

It's like a knot on our heart that finally get untied.

 

At the other fields, SV Tiger 1:0 won Calblue, NYWW 6:5 won NJ United (PK), and

Chicago received an easy win after Chinatown didn't show up on time for the

second time.

 

Part 4.

----------

 

The thought of writing the lost semi-final game put me to bed early. But still

let me bring you to Tv02's last advanture at Columbus.

 

Our winning over Dallas greatly boosted everybody's spirit. We began to set our

sight on final. Still, the game took a toll on our energy, especially on our

defense line, who didn't get much rest through the games. Meanwhile, thanks to

the forfeit of Chinatown, Chicago simply sat and watched our game vs Dallas,

saving all energy for the semi final.

 

The game came and it turned out to be a closed one, both team emphysizing

defense and trying to find chances for counter-attack. At our side, we were

preparing to defend first and focus our attacking resources at the second half

to seek a break-through.

 

The first half went smoothly as we planned. But the second half a lucky shot of

Chicago changed the situation of the game. Eight minutes into the 2nd half, a

Chicago forward picked the ball and made a not-very-fast shot. However the ball

bounced into uneven ground and changed the course of its orbit. Zhang Jun had

little time to react but see it fall into the net. 0:1. We were wordless. We

switched again to 4-4-2, but this time Chicago defended patiently and our

energy could not keep the pace. Ten minutes later Chicago again grasped a small

chance in a corner kick. The ball bounced out to the edge of penalty box, where

one of their players received it and when not facing the goal made a beautiful

180 degree turning shot. 0:2. It was a sign that luck was not with our side

this time. Through the rest of the game we tried all means to catch up, but

were not able to turn some good chances into goals. Meanwhile energy on our

defense line was using up, and many players showed symptons of wearing down.

The result last to the end.

 

We felt a pity not to win the game. The chance was really there, we were so

close, but fortune was not at our side. We took photos at the field where we

sweat so many sweats, and smiles and laughters gradually came back to our

faces. After all soccer is a round ball, and we are already fortunate to come

such a long way and enjoy so much. There is always something more than soccer.

Comments