Contributed by: Matthew Guthrie Sunday, August 07 2005 @ 01:23 am ACST
Spain got an early jump on the USA at TEAC Oval today in Round 3, leading at quarter time and only a goal down at the half, but the Revolution eventually pulled away for a 28-point win in a tough, low-scoring encounter. In wet conditions and kicking with a 3-goal wind to the Williamstown Rd end in the first quarter, the USA would have expected to get off to a flier against the Bulls.
It was the Bulls who caught the Revolution by surprise after a free kick down field and capitalized on it with Andres Antequera (No 12) kicking the first goal into the breeze. Although the USA had the majority of possesion up in their forward line dour and tight defence from the Spanish backline kept them goaless in the first quater.
The crowd seemed to get right behind the Bulls coming in from the first quarter with chants of Ole Ole and it was game on for the Revolution.
The US kicked their first goal 5 minutes into the 2nd quater to hit the front and consistently peppered the goals throughout the term but inaccurate kicking meant that they couldn't capitalize on the good work done in the midfield. They went into the long break ahead 1.6 (12) to 1.0 (6) but the Spanish had a sniff of a win and jogged of at half time with enthusiasm and a spring in their step.
The wind died down in the second half and the rain came in and the physical strength and height of the USA came into play. From the initial centre bounce the Revolution made their intentions clear that to win this match they were going to have to out muscle and outplay their European opponent. They dominated the centre rucks through (No 19) Jay Mueller and again had the majority of possesion in their forward line. A goal to Dainuski (No 21 ) early in the 3rd established a handy lead but soon after another free kick down field for the Bulls was kicked from 40m out by Antequera (No 12) which brought the match back to an 8 point ball game. Late in the term a free awarded in the goal square from the kickout gave the Revolution some temporary breathing space and they went into the final break 15 points clear. Desperate defence from Spain's (No 21) Juan Antonio Llenares where he put his body on the line and crashed into the point post typified the Bulls' commitment.
The coach instructed the Revolution at 3/4 time to play more direct using the central corridor and kicking long into the forward line. From the outset they did exactly that and two goals from Pope (no 24) and number 42 (not listed) put the result of the match out of the Bulls' reach. A 70m torpedo from the Spanish fullback thrilled the crowd in the last but this wasnt enough to get the Bulls any closer to a strong closing US outfit. At the final whistle the USA were triumphant by 28 points. Both sides had strong support in the crowd and were applauded by all coming off the field for a great contest.
USA 5.10 (40)
Spain 2.0 (12)