GT 2001

TV'01 at Pomona, CA

 

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

 

Front: He Zhong, Zhou Lisong, Wang Minghua, Lin Min, Wang Feng, Chen Wei, Chen Chen, Zou Xu, Li Bin, Wei Ge, Liu Bin

Middle: Li Jiang, Wang Weidong, Yao Jian, Zhang Jun, Hu Bo, Song Lei, Cai Qijiang, Huang Zhining, Li Jianzhong, Peng Youhang

Rear: Xing Feng (supporter), Zhao Liyang, Kong Nian, Xie Yuan, Kang Yong, Wang Guoqing, He Biao, Di Yong, Xia Bin, Jia Feng, Zhou Jing (supporter), (supporter), (supporter)

 

 

6th Chinese National Soccer Tournament (9th place among 11 teams)

 

       Pomona, CA, 9/1-2, 2001

 

       The squad: (30)

                   Wang Minghua, Peng Youhang, Li Jianzhong, Wei Ge, Di Yong,

                   Kong Nian, He Zhong, Liu Bin, Wang Weidong, Li Jiang, Wang Feng,

                   Zhao Liyang, Chen Wei, Lin Min, He Biao, Yao Jian, Kang Yong,

                   Jia Feng, Li Bin, Wang Guoqing, Cai Qijiang, Zhou Lisong,

                   Xie Yuan, Huang Zhining, Zhang Jun, Xia Bin, Zou Xu, Song Lei,

                   Hu Bo, Chen Chen

 

       Game Results:

 

       Day One group matches

 

            vs. Silicon Valley Tigers  0:2

                            first half   0:0

                                    second half  0:1

                                                 0:2

 

            vs. South Bay Mud          2:2

                    first half   0:0

                    second half  0:1

                                 0:2

                                 1:2  (Xie Yuan)

                                 2:2  (Chen Wei)

 

            vs. Dallas                  0:2

                    first half   0:0

                    second half  0:1

                                 0:2

 

       Day Two (for 9th place "sport spirit cup")

 

            vs. Arizona State University  4:3

                    first half   0:1

                                 1:1  (Xie Yuan)

                                 2:1  (Chen Wei)

                                 3:1  (Chen Wei)

                                 4:1  (Chen Wei)

                    second half  4:2

                                 4:3

 

            vs. South California United   2:0

                    first half   1:0  (Liu Bin)

                                 2:0  (Chen Wei)

                    second half  2:0

 

       Win 2,  Tie 1,  Lose 2, Goals scored 8, Goals allowed 9.

       Tournament scorers: Chen Wei (5), Xie Yuan (2), Liu Bin

 

 

Team report

 

By Cai Qijiang

 

The BAGs (Bay Area Guys) were the first to arrive at the field around

6pm, in a 15-person van, for the pre-game practice. The rest of the

TVs swarmed in from all directions not much later afterwards. We had

gathered around 20 players for a brief pickup game before it went

dark. A great start to see all the old and new faces.

 

The field condition is pretty good. The college staff must have taken

good care of the lawns. Hazy sunshine confirmed that summer ain't over

just yet.  Our opening game with Sillicon Tigers was kicked off around

10:00am. Tigers is a well-balanced team, with Kang Jie (a small speedy

guy) being its arrow head, and the Tsinghua grad (Precision Instrument

'82) Li Jilai serving as its midfield engine. But Tigers's style

didn't spoil TV's appetite. With the addition of younger TVs, our

starting 11 (Goalie:Zhang Jun; Guard:Zhao LiYang, Wang GuoQing, Zhou

LiSong, Chen Chen; Mid:Song Lei, Wang Feng, Di Yong, Huang ZhiNing;

Forward:Xie Yuan, Jia Feng) has a nice blend of experience and

energy. The debut of Chen Chen (at leftback position), the youngest

TV, raised everyone's eyebrow, owing to his calm and decisive

defense. The two teams played pretty even till late in the first half,

when Wei Ge created a penalty kick for TV off a fast counterattack,

sending the TV bench dancing under the canopy. Wang Feng, with a

reputation for his 12-foot consistancy, took the mission, as he has

helped TV at clutch time on a number of occassions

before. Unfortunately, Da Fengzi's strike bounced back after hitting

the beam and Tigers managed to escape. I wouldn't say the momentum

then shifted to Tigers after we missed the P.K. We all thought the

game was set to end up with a tie until Tigers capitalized a goal off

a fastbreak when less than 10 minutes were left. (The first day group

match is 70min each for our group, because there are 4 teams in the

group.) The referee allowed plenty of extra minutes to play. But our

last efforts in the game went fruitless, only expanding the deficit to

0:2. The game was in fact a close one that realy could go either

way. We simply squandered a golden opportunity to get the upperhand

early, and a late mistake in a 35-min second half made us pay.

 

Our second group match was scheduled around 1pm, against the South Bay

Mud team (Nan2Ni1Wan1), another Bay Area team in close relation with

Tigers. Mud split the game with Dallas at one apiece in their first

round. So TV faced a must-win situation. The Mud recently imported a

#10 with elegant shooting skill -- this fellow loves to jump and shoot

ball in the air. At first, TV didn't feel any pressure and kept

mounting attacks on our opponent. And we started to rotate our players

more often. We took control of the game in the first half, while the

Mud #10 missed a golden chance inside the box. Mud scored twice off

counter-attacks after the game restarted, putting TV in the dire

strait. My impression was that #10 played big parts in both time of

scoring. TV launched relentless attacks afterwards and you could

almost feel its determination. The ball was chipped inside the box and

the Mud keeper had a clear advantage to catch it in the air. Song Lei

gathered his last strength jumping off the ground. The disturbance

caused the Mud keeper losing the ball and colliding with his own

guard, while Xie Yuan slided over kissing the ball to the bottom of

the net in a very slow motion. TV bench jumped out cheering for the

first goal, and Song Lei couldn't get up from the ground with a bad

cramp on both legs. When Chen Wei buried an equalizer near the end of

the game, TVs were all able to let out a breath, seeing the light

finally shed through the end of the tunnel.

 

In the meanwhile, the Dallas team lost to the Tigers 0:1. And TVs

officially had their backs against the wall. You don't have to be a

genius to guess that Tiger would play a brotherly game with the Mud,

making them the number 1 and 2 in the group. A tie in our next game

with Dallas would not carry us to the playoff. The do-or-die battle

started at 5:30pm. The Dallas team played a very physical style. Their

defense line maintained its formation well, even though the ball had

been kept in their half most of the time. TV had a hard time finding

ways to break through. Midway through the second half, Dallas had a

counter-attack and managed to shoot from the left side.  Zhang Jun

struggled to hold, and a Dallas striker slipped through our defenders

to knock the loose ball in. TVs were now in a deep hole.  Desperation

attacks were launched one after another, from all directions by TV. We

pretty much emptied all weapons in our arsenal. But we simply couldn't

steer the shots home, in over a dozen attempts. And we got a red card

and another Dallas blow to aggravate our problem. In the end, we

weren't able to pull off this one like what we did 2 years ago in New

Jersey against the CalBlue team in the first round of playoff.

 

In the second day, we played 2 consecutive games with two, arguably

the only "weak" teams in this year GT. We played loose, rotated often

and had convincing victories in both games, which landed us a trophy

that No.3 through No.8 teams don't have to boast of. Xie Yuan had more

room in the field to operate with his speed. Chen Wei was as lethal as

ever, bagging his hat-trick in one half against ASU. Da Fengzi was

still instrumental to our team in mid-field. He Zhong and Lin Min

proved them still solid defenders after so many years. Disco had to

quit dancing for a while after a forehead-backhead collision off a

header in the mid-field. Liu Bin scored off a sliding strike after a

long drive into the box while he played the leftback position. How

sweat to be able to score at the age of 38(?)! Wang Minghua, our

beloved teacher, was extremely dedicated to coordinating our game and

cheering us up. Well, I have to stop elaborating on everyone's heroics

before getting myself fired. And this is not a time one wants to test

the job market. So forgive me for not being able to cover more on

individual TV in this write-up.

 

Well, the game result of this GT is a bitter one that TV had to

swallow.  Reigning as the legendary champ of the first and second

Grand Tournament, TV found trouble advancing after making the final

four in the 3rd, 4th and 5th GT. But this time, we were smothered

beneath the water after 2-month-long well-coordinated preparation,

with a roster of 30 plus. We seem to be very uncomfortable playing the

defense-minded breeds such as the NYWW and Dallas.  In the past, our

opponents' fast counter-attack have dealt us many daggers in the

heart. This time, we suffered even more.

 

How to improve TV from here, without having to radically change US

government's visa policy, has become an impending issue. TV has a big

disadvantage of not being familiar with each other's playing style.

Nowadays, teams participating GT are close in terms of skill. We outta

make some adjustment to meet up with the challenge in the future. We

experimented substituting the entire frontline all at once (2 strikers

+ 4 midfielders) in the second day games that we played. Many TVs

found this effective. At least, the opponent guards almost fainted

seeing so many fresh legs came on.

 

TVs, like always, it's been an honor to have fought with you all. I'll

keep running and trim some fat off when the next year's GT comes

around.

 

Take care you all

Xiao Cai

 

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