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Inexperience Lightning Strike Too Late in Arena Soccer League Opener
Posted By admin On November 7, 2008 @ 9:45 am In Sports | Comments Disabled
By Michael Hicks
LOVELAND – It’s not like anything defenseman Mark Cromrie has ever faced before, but Sunday night’s home opener for the Colorado Lightning was definitely an experience.
Good and bad.
The Lightning, a first-year franchise in the Premier Arena Soccer League-Pro (PASL), opened their 2008-09 home schedule at the Budweiser Events Center against the Texas Outlaws. While the Lightning came out on the short end of an 8-5 score, just playing was a good first step for the rookie team.
“Nerves played into it in the first half,” Cromrie said of his team’s early game performance where it fell behind 7-0. “But we started clicking (in the second half), and the altitude may have played to our advantage.”
Cromrie, a defenseman from Belfast, Northern Ireland, isn’t new to the game or Colorado. The 25-year-old is a senior at Metro State. Prior to that he played at Colorado Christian where he was the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference rookie of the year. But this arena soccer thing, that’s a new adventure altogether.
“I’ve played some, but it’s a lot quicker. It’s going to take some time getting used to,” Cromrie said.
While the game is somewhat new for Cromrie it didn’t seem that way to the visiting Outlaws, who scored the game’s first eight goals — seven in the first half — in winning their inaugural game in franchise history. Michael Uremovich scored twice for the Outlaws.
And though his team is 0-2 after a season-opening 10-5 loss at Stockton a week earlier, Lightning head coach Rafael Amaya understands that this is a learning period for most of his players.
“There’s a quite a few of our guys that don’t have the indoor experience as you can see in the first half,” Amaya said. “The second half we started hitting the ball off the boards and making the runs.
“We just can’t dig a hole.”
But Amaya doesn’t want to continue using inexperience with the game as an excuse. His team, as he puts it, must start taking the next steps forward.
That learning curve includes getting used to the shorter field, the occasional music, playing four quarters instead of two halves, the ball flying off the boards and getting caught in the netting above the goal.
If the second half was an indicator, the Lightning is starting to figure out the game, and each other, just fine. Colorado scored the game’s final five goals, including two each for Zach Cousins and Clayton Zelin.
“We started getting used to each other,” Zelin said. “We were also doing it for pride and our fans who came out. After we scored our first goal we got a lot of confidence and it started to come. We just didn’t have enough time to make the full comeback.”
Maybe next time Colorado can take the next step — that would be scoring a Lightning victory. But that will have to wait until Nov. 16, when Colorado plays host to the Detroit Waza at the BEC.
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