Spring 2007 Season

July 11, 2007
(King 10', Vogel 30', Creason 70', Ntini 84')

One of the jobs of a club manager is to send out email reminders to the squad prior to the match. Normally, these are straightforward messages with the correct time, date and field location. There is often a reminder/plea to let the manager know if you will be unable to play. Prior to the July 11 rematch against the division champions Rose & Thistle, the English team that drubbed us back in May, manager Sean Ingersoll wanted to take the email reminder up a notch to properly motivate the team. Please note the original email has been edited for family-friendly viewing on the website:

Now a season ender against a formidible opponent like the English merits some sort of call-to-arms...some really rousing charge to get us pumped. Here's what I got...
I may love Manchester United more than most of the members of my extended family...
And I may think that Kate Beckinsale and Keira Knightley are two of the hottest women on the planet...
And I may even dip my French fries into mayonnaise, not catsup, like they do in England...
...but for ninety minutes this Wednesday, these particular [antagonistic nationalist characterization that rhymes with "slimy"] [expletive deleted, kind of rhymes with "mustards", but not really] can kiss my Ranger [expletive deleted, rhymes with "brass"]!

Oh, Seanny got his "Hell, Yeah!" all right. In temperatures in the low 90s and humidity that felt almost as high at Delta Park #2, the Rangers closed out their Spring '07 campaign with a rousing, spirited performance and almost pulled off the impossible tie. We didn't get beaten; Rose & Thistle simply scored one more goal.

Our full complement of eighteen players took to the field with a cheering section that included injured Kyle Gunsul, his dog, occasional on-loan player and friend of FC77 Dan Calkins, vocal supporter Toby Holstein, and the entire Radigan family (including Junior Ranger Sydney, Almost A Junior Ranger Joel, and--for the first time ever--Rangerette wife Shannon). We even had a shaded canopy tent I will christen "The Citadel" (mostly because that sounds really cool.) Unfortunately, Rose scored about five minutes after the kick-off and the situation appeared grim. Not to be outdone, the Rangers answered with a left side blitz that allowed Ron King, nursing a back injury, to beat the keeper near side to equalize. Play continued with Rose getting a lot of passing sequences through the middle and they got two more goals to appear to put the match out of reach. As has been the case all season, the Rangers never gave up. Another far side series saw the ball get crossed back across the top of the English goal box and land at Mark Vogel's feet...who lobbed an achingly beautiful shot over the keeper and into the net. 'Gers went into half time only a goal down and filled with enthusiasm.

The second half saw our side get a few corner kicks and decent ball movement along the outside. Rose & Thistle was given a penalty kick for a lame-[expletive deleted, rhymes with "pass"] box flop that should cause the striker eternal shame. Keeper Steve Aarnio guessed the right direction on the spot shot, but it was just outside his reach. Down 4-2, the Rangers really began to scrap and fight for every ball--in the air, tackling on the ground, and along the sidelines. When Darin Creason punched in a rolling cross (off Dan Holstein's corner, I believe) to make it 4-3, the assembled crowd went wild. Rose got another cheeky goal--stupid counterattack--but Malvern Ntini dribbled around the left fullback and punked the keeper for a fourth goal with six minutes to play; Brian Bauman followed the shot in to make sure it counted. The English were stunned. The last six minutes was an exciting back and forth display and it was a heartbreaker not to find that fifth goal, but the Rangers more than avenged the 0-5 and 1-10 smackdowns we've endured from these guys over the last year.

A 2-6-2 record is a huge improvement over the past four seasons and while the squad has every reason to be proud of our efforts, the win-loss-tie stats don't tell the whole story. The fact is, we have a great team. Nobody is a jerk, we have fun, we scored more than a few goals, and our uniforms rock. Our club has our own pitch now, so hopefully we can avoid Lents Park-related traumas to our bodies. More wins will undoubtedly come with time and experience. So until the Fall campaign, thanks for playing (and paying your fees on time), recover from any nagging injuries or surgeries you have had/will have, and take care of yourselves. Everybody expressed an interest in returning and I have no doubt our squad is going to be [expletive deleted, rhymes with "fighting and ducking", but not the "fighting and" part] awesome sometime in the near future.

Cheers, gentlemen.

Next match:
Fall Season starts September 2007!


June 27, 2007
(Holstein 25', Ntini 46')

The ninth match of the 2007 spring campaign found FC77 on the artificial turf at Delta Strasser against NE Portland Chiropractic. Under pleasant evening skies and with a roster of fifteen (eventually), the Rangers noticed that the visitors had appeared to have taken their own advantage of the summer transfer window--at least two and perhaps more of their players were from Symmetry Northwest. Typically a struggling club, NE PDX played several through balls against the 'Gers back line and appeared more organized than their overall record suggested. Approximately fifteen minutes into the match, a fluke ricocheted shot plopped behind keeper Steve Berg and put the yellow and black down by one. Undaunted, the Rangers pressed on. Sean Ingersoll had a streaking left side run that resulted in a cross to Bullie Sibanda, who dummied the ball to Brian Bauman for a hard shot on NE PDX. Dan Holstein followed up with a beauty of a goal that appeared to come off a volley and found the back left corner of the net. Ten minutes later the visitors scored again, this one a legitimate goal, and at the break the Rangers were down 2-1.

Malvern Ntini, recently arrived at the field, started the second half as the center midfielder and immediately made an impact. After stealing the Chiropractor's kick-off, the Rangers passed the ball down the left side and connected with Ntini, who dribbled around the keeper to equalize after less than a minute's play. Dominating for long periods of the second half and outshooting our opponents by at least a 3 to 1 margin, it was only cruel fate that kept the winning goal from going in. Matt Muraut had a zinger from distance smack off the crossbar. Another bold dribbling effort by Ntini saw him go through the fullbacks and fire off a shot to the far post that, in apparent defiance on all the known laws of Newtonian physics, hit the inside of the woodwork and somehow spun out into the sprawling goalkeeper's gloves. In the final two minutes, the Rangers had a trio of threatening shots from inside the box and Chiropractic appeared resigned to wait it out until referee Bristol Schmitz's final whistle. Honestly, if the match had lasted another two minutes, we would have won...it was that close.

The club had another healthy turn-out in terms of spectators--our handful of fans included former Rangers manager Tim Hanson and his daughter. Kendall Ingersoll returned as Junior Ranger for the evening and promptly made friends with every other child in attendance. The tie brought our club record to 2-5-2, with fourteen goals scored--truly, our best showing in the last three years. Our season comes to an end in two weeks when we replay the English, who apparently lost for the first time last Wednesday. So...they are mortal after all, eh...?


June 20, 2007

Two sharp plays. That was the only difference between the Rangers and Tekvision Lagers Legends Wednesday night in the much anticipated replay between the two squads. Playing under clear skies at Lents Park Field #1--thereby completing the "Triple Crown" of Awful Lents Park Pitches--the Rangers once again summoned a full-strength squad to reprise a match-up with one of our more memorable games this season. Taking full advantage of the summer transfer window, Dan Calkins (on loan from Blue Monk for the evening) and new player Matt Muraut came out to make sure that our side wasn't short in numbers.

As usual, the 'Gers looked sharp, scrappy and determined throughout the first half. The defense played tough against the freakishly tall Tekvision side. Scott Anderson spent most of the time marking up on the bald striker "Chris" and keeping him from asking too many questions. Fullbacks Mike Pullen, Jim Seaton, Steve Aarnio, Dan Calkins and Brian Bauman (as well as others) also worked hard to keep Tek's offensive efforts at bay, including a dramatic goal line clearance. Play was predominantly in our half, but just before halftime Steve Aarnio got his head to a cross that was over the bar and Dan Holstein put back a goalkeeping clearance that made the Lagers nervous.

Despite many minutes spent chasing after the ball when it went out of touch and dodging traffic along Holgate, the teams battled pretty evenly for the first twenty minutes after the restart. Tekvision scored around the 65th minute with a quick through ball that was, in all fairness, deftly played. Bauman nullified a second charge from the left with a crunching slide tackle at the edge of the box-ish that sent Tek clamoring for a penalty call, but to no avail. Their second goal came about ten minutes from time off a monster throw-in that was headed in.

McKenzie Anderson finished her three-peat tour of duty as Junior Ranger and, despite eight regular players being on the disabled list or on travel (stupid work commitments!), the team once again put in a competitive performance. Next week the squad moves to the artificial turf goodness at Delta Strasser for a match against struggling NE Portland Chiropractic, so if any of you Ranger fans have been waiting to come out and watch, this would be the match to see. Seriously. Strasser Field has bleachers and everything. All the cool kids are going to be there. You should, too.


June 13, 2007
(Burden 15', Ntini 25', 65')

In what was the team's greatest performance in the last four seasons (and this includes the 8-0 drubbing of a nine man Code Blue squad in Spring '06), the Rangers destroyed FC Banfield at Delta Park #5 and earned goalkeeper Steve Berg his first clean sheet for the year. Bolstered by new players Doug Greenberg, Bullie Sibanda, and Malvern Ntini, 'Gers fielded a full squad of sixteen players and ran riot over the home team from the tenth minute on. Or, in the immortal words of '80s supergroup Def Leppard (from the single "Run Riot" off their acclaimed 1987 multi-platinum hit album "Hysteria"):

Get up! Break out!
Don't be the odd one out
C'mon, it's alright we're hot tonight
You better run
(Run riot)

Banfield looked threatening early on when a long ball run left Steve Berg one on one with an attacking striker, but he was able to slide in and snuff the ball off the forward's feet. Immediately thereafter the Rangers started asking the questions, chiefly, How many goals are we going to score tonight? Banfield conceded the corners and the yellow and black took full advantage. A near side run, composed nicely of an overlap, a fantastic dribble and a fine cross allowed Ron Burden to put the exclamation point on a dynamic offensive series.

You gotta run
(Run riot)
You know the time has come
(Run Riot)

The Rangers soon found their rhythm and were switching fields, defending well, and linking up to the outside to keep the defenders off balance. Not content to keep the scoreline at just 1-0, new player Malvern Ntini took a run straight through the heart of the Banfield defense and beat the keeper to the left. 2-0.

C'mon, it's alright we're hot tonight
(Night, night, night)
Run! (Run)
(Run riot)
You gotta run

The potent attacking threat offered by the new players allowed the team to loosen up and play possession. The reserves on the sideline enthusiastically counted a series of eleven consecutive passes. The team was also able to add a new dimension to their game--the attacking stopper. Spirits were high at the halftime whistle, and ever cautious of the first ten minutes of the second half, the Rangers continued to hustle and play a smart game. Ntini got his second goal a little after the hour mark--

You know the time has come
(Run riot)
C'mon, run with me

--and then Banfield started getting frustrated. A studs up, double boot tackle on Kyle Gunsul was correctly carded by match referee Casey Dineen. Sibanda was also cautioned after fending off hard challenges from a handful of attackers tying to steal the ball from him. Greenberg was robbed of at least four breakaways on goal when the official incorrectly called him offsides--he was played on in all cases by their right back. Throughout the match, our side showed class by playing the ball out of touch when an opponent dislocated his shoulder or was otherwise injured.

McKenzie Anderson returned as Junior Ranger and our sideline boasted five or six fans. All in all, it was a fine evening...a fine evening to watch FC77...

(Run!) (Run riot)
Hey! C'mon!
Stick with me!
(Run riot)

(Extended one-armed drum solo)


June 6, 2007
(King 47')

The Rangers took to the field at Milwaukie High School with a full complement of players (we haven't played short yet this season--not too bad!) and as goalkeeper Steve Berg raced down I-5 to make the second half, Jay Abramowitz graciously offered to stand between the posts. The weather was fine, the pitch wasn't awful, and play moved from end to end for the opening fifteen minutes. Bike opted to play a long ball game and got two goals within ten or fifteen minutes of one another midway through the opening half. This could have deflated the 'Gers all together, but instead the squad continued to battle back. One series in particular down the right flank involved five different players give-and-going, moving to space, reversing the field and ultimately giving Aaron Radigan a crack at goal.

Historically, the team has struggled the opening ten minutes after the restart, but not today. With Jay yielding the gloves to Steve Berg and partnering with Scott Anderson as the tall center backs, Rangers went right on the offensive. Another right side run yielded a decent shot that clanged off the woodwork...only to see Ron King hit the rebound and beat the hopelessly out of position United keeper. Just like that, the Rangers were back in it. Sean Ingersoll, finally back after a two-month injury, worked the left sideline to harass the United defenders and teamed up with Dan Holstein on at least three corner set plays. Sean also shanked a shot so far to the right that it was a wonder our fans on the sideline weren't injured...but I digress. As the match wore on, Bike started getting better looks at our goal and asking questions. Their third goal, about ten minutes from time, was a cracker from outside the box that found the upper right corner.

A large, mostly pro-Rangers crowd (eight of our fans to two of theirs--in your face, Bike!) came out to watch and, as always, their support is greatly appreciated. McKenzie Anderson wore the Junior Ranger jersey and faithfully stayed for the entire evening. Maybe we should have a promotional night for the kids at the next match? Maybe if you make a Rangers poster and proudly display it on our sideline, maybe you'll get a surprise the following week. Maybe it will be a good surprise from Far Post Soccer Supply and not be lame.



May 23, 2007
(King 10', Szlovak 30')

In what would have been the upset of the season, the Rangers used a blistering opening half hour to go up 2-0 on perennial league leaders Tekvisions Lagers Legends...only to come up short in a heated match that included dueling yellow cards, smack talk, a couple of shoves and a bite. Seriously. A bite.

After discovering that the pitch for the match, Clinton Park's Lower Field, was non-existent and the goal posts were chained to the fence, the teams were forced to move to the short Upper Field. The seven pro-Ranger fans who came out to watch in the evening drizzle were treated to an opening barrage of shots and corner kicks from the gold and black, who showed determination and exploited a weaker Tek right side to keep the ball in the opponent's half. Ron King doubled his season point tally with a blast after just ten minutes. The Rangers back line swept and cleared out Tek through balls and attacks, allowing keeper Steve Berg to make the occasional easy save. Attila Szlovak doubled the scoreline around the half hour mark with a left-side break away that the keeper fumbled, allowing the lone attacker to collect the ball and easily dump it into the net.

Then things started getting really surly. Darin Creason took a charge near midfield that left him on the grass for a few minutes and the chatter between the squads grew more testy and sharp. As tensions continued to simmer, Tekvision opened the second half with two deflected shots that found their way into the goal. Over the course of ten minutes, the referee showed both squads the yellow card, gave two drop balls, and whistled a half dozen fouls. Ron King came off the field with a bite mark on his hand, surely a first for this division. The tie was broken with about fifteen minutes to play when Tek found their third goal. Rangers answered with a flurry of shots, including two free kicks that made the keeper stretch, but the equalizer just wouldn't go.

Junior Rangers for the match were Jim Snyder's children, Rorie and Ethan, who served as an excellent ballboy/ballgirl and, in Ethan's words, "cheered for the goalie." I have noticed that when we have Junior Rangers at the match, we tend to play better and score goals. Hmm...I'm just saying... While the loss was disappointing, the team can take heart in two things: 1. Our last three match-ups resulted in a net score of 17-4, so this was by far the most competitive we've played against them and, 2. We play these guys again on June 20th.

Bring your muzzles.

May 16, 2007
(Szlovak 30', Burden 70')

A few hours before the 16 May match against Symmetry NW, the signs were not looking favorable. The last time we had played them in the fall, Rangers had lost 0 - 6. Four regular players were scheduled to be gone, including starting goalkeeper Steve Berg, and as match time drew closer, many others indicated they were injured and unable to participate. Thirty minutes before kick-off, four of the first five players to show up all confessed to some sort of nagging injury that kept them from 100% fitness. However, more Rangers kept showing up and when Steve Aarnio made a dramatic last minute entrance and slapped on the goalie gloves, the Rangers took the field at Clackamas Community College with three substitutes to boot.

The match started briskly and play moved up and down the field regularly. Brian Bauman, playing striker, got his head on a couple of decent crosses and was unlucky not to find the net. The squad kept the ball down in the opponent's half of the field for long stretches of play and even when Symmetry scored around the twenty minute mark, the yellow and black didn't appear too disturbed. Ten minutes later Attila Szlovak took the ball in the far right corner, juked their fullback, and pulled the trigger on a cool near post strike to equalize.

Play continued back and forth for the opening fifteen minutes of the second half. Symmetry banged a cross back into the net on a volley that anybody would have been hard pressed to stop. Sean-Scott Ingersoll and Jim Snyder both took dangerous cracks at the upper right post for another goal, but were just a little high, wide and handsome. Around the seventieth minute, a 'Gers raiding party took the ball through the middle with a series of nice passes, banged out a couple of shots, and new player Ron Burden (having joined the Rangers for the first time ever) put a deft touch on a rebound to equalize at 2-2. Referee Osama Qutub showed Jay Abramowitz a caution late in the match, but the Rangers continued to scrap, scramble and scrape until the final whistle. A tie was a fair result and both sides left the pitch in good spirits.

Special FC77 thanks goes out to our Junior Ranger for the match, Stella Bauman (Hannah Montana rocks!) and to Steve Aarnio's unnamed baby-sitter, allowing him to come out and mind the sticks for us. By the way, did anybody actually do last week's delightful Word Jumble? Anybody? Anybody? I worked really hard on that thing!

May 9, 2007

The British are coming!
The British are coming!
And coming...and coming...and coming.

It has always been a tough go against the club, Rose & Thistle. Fair weather greeted the two sides at Lents Park #2 and a robust initial twenty minutes yielded a competitive match. The English threw everything at the Rangers except Hessian mercenaries, with fast attacks down both sides, the middle, and the corners.

The 'Gers back line--consisting frequently, but not exclusively, of Kyle Gunsul, Dave Hayden, Jim Seaton, and Brian Bauman--chased down countless give and gos, long ball feeds, and Route 1 dashes toward Steve Berg's goal and even caught the home team with the offsides trap, too. However, R&T were able to get a few goals at regular intervals during the course of the match and ultimately claim victory. The Rangers had their best efforts from the corners, but were unlucky to find the net

Considering that our last match-up in June of 2006 was a 10-1 loss after 70 minutes in 100+ degree temperatures, the squad showed remarkable improvement and, of course, never gave up.

That's about it for the match, so to fill up the remainder of the summary, please enjoy this delightful Word Jumble!

1. The best men's 0-30 Division 3 team in Portland:
Note: If you can't figure this out, please stop now.

2. The greatest football club in the world:

3. Not the greatest football club in the world:

4. We can never have enough of these on the sidelines:

5. What we'd really love to see more of on the sidelines:

6. If you can't make it to a match, what should you do?

Now take the bold letters to answer the following question:
What should you and your entire family do on Wednesday nights?
(The answer is not, "Watch 'Lost'".)



Wednesday, 25 April 2007
(McConnachie 22', Snyder 80')

It was a testy evening match-up at Lents Field #3 when the Rangers played Code Blue.  Tempers flared on occasion and the chatter between the sides (at least, as evidenced from the sideline) appeared to be ongoing, but I suppose you can't spell "Rangers" without "anger".  Field conditions were, well, awful--not in a boggy, swampy kind of way, but hardened exposed dirt and gravel scarred the center of the entire pitch.  Old duct tape fluttered from the cross-bars like Himalayan prayer flags, undoubtedly a testament to the previous matches played on this barren wasteland.

Rangers had some hard shots early on and things looked promising when Thomas Fahrbach went up hard for a cross in front of their goal and was greeted with a Code Blue head butt, resulting in an ice pack for his troubles.  James McConnachie put the home side up 1-0 around the twenty-second minute with a drive through the top of the box that would have made Diego Maradona proud.  Really, really proud.  Our lead was short-lived, however, as Blue answered back with a goal of their own.  Rangers had anywhere from four-six substitutes on the side lines--a new phenomenon for our squad--and perfecting the mechanics of smooth substitutions resulted in some of the team playing positions they might not have suspected, but we went into the half tied at 1-1. 

Blue put another goal in about twenty minutes or so after the restart, but the yellow and black refused to yield.  Jim Snyder had shot from approximately thirty yards out that found the head of a Blue defender and then landed in their net, equalizing the match with ten minutes to go.  Our elation was short-lived, unfortunately, as Blue answered with the match winner a minute later.  A last gasp shot by Aaron Radigan went just wide of the post, but the squad pushed forward in search of another equalizer until the final whistle.  

Ranger's fan attendance was down a little from last week (from three to one), but the squad invites soccer fans and family of all ages to join us on really terrible fields all around the Portland area for the remainder of our season!


(Radigan 20', King 40')
It was a dark and stormy night.
Suddenly, a shot rang out!

Well, not so much as rang out, but more like skipped across the muddy field until it came to rest against the inside of the net.  Just like that, the Rangers opened the Spring 2007 campaign with a goal and the lead en route to a 2-1 victory over Blue Monk. 

Field conditions at Delta #7 were awful and the pitch was a muddy bog, but the Rangers came out hard and found a couple of early shots that signaled intent.  Finally, somewhere around the twentieth minute, new player Aaron Radigan got enough of the ball to send it rolling through the muck and into the net for the first goal of the season.  The goalkeeper struggled to pull it in, but the slow moving strike was just outside his grasp.  It will haunt him for the rest of his days.  Ron King doubled the tally a few minutes before half time with a thundering header that would have made anybody's Top Ten List. 

Backed by a solid defensive line that kept most of Monk's shots to long distance efforts and goalkeeper Steve Berg's command of the box, Rangers kept their opponents scoreless for most of the match.  Monk finally got a goal with ten minutes to play--and that made for an interesting "last play" corner kick that bumped around the penalty area before being cleared--but Rangers dominated the match and would have had a third goal from Attila Szlovak if the cross bar had been two inches taller.  Everybody played hard and hustled, we had some decent passing series, and Mark Vogel's immortal water jug was back for another season, so all in all, it was a fine evening.  Except for the weather, which sucked.  

Thanks to our three fans who braved the elements and special thanks to Kendall Ingersoll and Toby Holstein, our inaugural Junior Rangers for the match.  Sure, the weather made it necessary to wear rain coats over your fine matching jerseys, but it's the thought that counts.

Sean Ingersoll, 4/19/07


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