King Cup 2005 Results
Sat. Santos 0 - 1
Sat. Shamrocks 2 - 0
Sun. Colorado Mirage 0 - 3
Sun. Los Veteranos de Ontario 0 - 3

In early returns from the King Cup Soccer Tournament in Las Vegas, it is clear that the Portland stalwarts, under the banner of the FC77 MOJOs, are making an impression on this year's tourney! Paired against Team Santos in an morning match today at the "almost a soccer field" Brinley Middle School dirt rectangle, the Mojos struggled early to find their form. While Mojos all agreed that it was lovely to be moved from the flooded fields of Buckskin, they were dismayed by the physics lesson in randomness that the gritty surface provided. Santos, late in the first half, sent a deflected pass forward into the open space behind the defense and an attacking player, chancing on the ball, struck it past Brink despite his best efforts and into the goal. Undismayed, Mojos regrouped at the half.

With the sage advice of centerbacks Peter and John in their ears, the team returned to the field and settled into a more effective game. Passing began to be more precise. The ball didn't arc into the air as often, and Mojos orchestrated half a dozen point blank assaults on the Santos goal. However, it was not destined to be, and the match ended with Santos the victor by the single goal. Undeterred, Mojos left the field believing that they had cemented the first phase of their play as a team. The day was young and the next match wasn't until 5:30. Hope sprang.....if not eternal, at least enough to last the day.
David Porter

Because of the long break between games, most MOJOs returned to the Alexis Park. Since Don had pulled the light fixture out in the hot tub (in a nice way of course) the staff had drained it and surrounded it with chairs. Some team members caravaned off to the Red Rocks Natural Area, but several of those who remained agreed to meet for lunch half a block down the road at the Hofbrauhaus place which replicated a Munchen bier hall. Consider if you will, a bier hall that sells only two kinds of beer-dark or light at $6 a half stein, has deaf waiters who can't tell the difference between 'pint' and 'litre', and an oompah band with flugel horn. All at one in the afternoon in LV. Enough said!

Mojos set out for Ed Fountain as the sun was going down. This complex is actually the site of our famed win over Pierre's years back, and has been renovated substantially. However, we didn't get to use the nice fields. Again, since we were flood refugees, we were put on the leftover fields. Not terribly short, but way too narrow. With the onset of darkness, it got chilly and all were happy to start play under the lights.
Shamrocks from Seattle looked a lot like United in 050. Several burly players with accents, a fistful of wiry guys, and some buffish Yanks- a least a couple of whom looked to either be 40 or botoxed. This team hustled and used various bodily appendages to add muscle to their play. However, Mojos held their own and kept moving the ball into Shamrock's end. When the ball was shot at our goal, Brink was always there, surehanded. Finally, a nice pass to Rick McCoy on the right wing allowed him to accelerate, burn the defenders, go to the endline, and then cut in to take a wicked shot past the keeper. Mojos led 1-0 at the half.

When the second half started, it was clear that Shamrocks were grouchy. Their physicality increased as did their flogging of the referees. At one point, as Glenn went to head the ball, one on one with the keeper on the distant edge of the box, the sidelines insults reached fever pitch. The officials were not impressed. Moments later, Glenn made a cutting run down the right side, beat the defender and drew the hapless keeper toward him. With precision, Glenn passed the ball back on the slant to the open goal where Joe Westphal, alone, took his time and putted it in. Mojos led 2-0. Shamrocks counterattacked ferociously, but to no avail. As the match ended, a looping high ball toward our box was calmly snagged out of the air by Brink despite an attacker who flung himself, literally, into the back of the net. Victory was sweet! And well-earned.
David Porter

Colorado Mirage
Game Three v. Colorado Mirage Sunday morning was cooler than the previous day. We drove in cheerful caravan to the Ed Fountain complex where our next two games were scheduled on Field 8, right next to the road. One feature of all the fields at this complex was that they were labled as part of the "drought area conservation" plan or some such thing. What this meant was that they were cleverly layered over much of their surface with springy tufts of dried grass, so the surface was softer than it looked, and the ball actually behaved predictably some of the time.

The Mirage, despite their name, were clearly visible in red jerseys. We were ready, but sadly discovered that Brinkman was unable to take the field. His stellar play the previous day led a bone spur in his ankle to flareup. Gamely, Greg Anderson stepped in the hole.

The game started with even distribution of play. However, a long, spider-legged player for Mirage, dubbed Gilligan because of his hat, contrived to break free on the left wing getting a shot past Greg. The inevitable question as to whether he was onside went unanswered, and we ended the half down a goal, though we'd played well.

In the second half, we traded keepers, putting Greg's speed on the field while David stepped into goal. Although Mojos made regular forays into the attacking zone, our shooting tended skyward rather than goalward and frustration set in. After about twenty minutes, Gilligan again broke loose from his defender and David came out to close the angle as the gangly attacker shot. Despite getting a glove on the ball, David couldn't stop the goal. Mojos did their best to get back in the game, but Mirage had deciphered how to speedily counter, and the defense and keeper found themselves facing run after run. David stopped some of the shots, but a Mirage forward finally clinched the game with a crackling shot from the right top of the box, just curling inside the far left corner. Mojos left the field feeling that we'd played well but not gotten the return. It was not a three goal game.

One unique highlight of the experience was that Cindy, in a first ever moment, stood on our goal end and jumped up and down and cheered when we made a good play. That was heartening. (As an aside, I later asked the Mirage goalkeeper how old he was because, again, there appeared to be players nowhere near 48 on their team. His answer- forty four. Later that afternoon, after a bruising game against Santos on the field next to us, Mirage players were congratulating themselves because they'd won all four of their games, but had given up the last win due to 'illegal players' when Santos challenged the age limits. " It's the best way to lose" they said)
David Porter

Los Veteranos de Ontario

There wasn't enough time between games, for the Mojos and entourage to return to Las Vegas proper so we took the advice of Joann and Roddy and went to a nearby Steiner's Authentic Nevada Pub for lunch. The place was smoke-filled, and featured innumerable television sets tuned to the Eagles' game. Despite the fact that they listed Drop Top Amber as a SF beer (alluded to in an earlier diatribe), the food was decent and Mojos replenished gallons of vaporized liquids. Having eaten, Mojos returned to the field area and established Camp Mojo, a temporary bivouac wherein they hoped to stay out of the hot sun.

As game time approached, a tribe of people- men women and children- began filing past us on the way to Field 8. The men wore green and brown jerseys featuring Aztec Gods which had, it was rumored, been worn by the Mexican National Team in an earlier year. Some of the men were carrying open bottles of Corona and we were lulled into thinking that was a good sign. Many wheeled coolers were among their belongings, and so we hoped even more that they might be looking for a 'laid back' afternoon match.

When both teams took to the field, we could see clearly that our opponents were all short, compact, muscular players with weathered faces and cheerful, businesslike demeanors. When play started, we clearly understood why. They were masters of the geometry of small spaces, placing the five yard pass at the foot of their teammates, moving on and off the ball, pressing play forward until challenged, and then moving back and reversing their attack. Mojos tried valiantly to gain and hold possession, but there were few moments when we were able to break past the middle of the field. After a dozen or more swirling attacks in front of goal, a shot blasted by Greg, and Los Veteranos de Ontario led. By the half, they'd scored another goal, and calmly trotted off the field to their cerveza. On the sidelines, one of the Mojos noted that the Veteranos hadn't even put eleven players on the field at the start, apparently feeling nine might be enough.

Our backfield generals, John and Peter, urged us to press the play forward by not falling back so deeply into our own space , and the team resolved to settle down, control more of the play, and shoot. David, once again in goal, applauded those concepts. And indeed, Mojos played forward strongly as the half began. Having belted our defensive line more firmly upfield, Los Veteranos were reduced to playing breakaway balls into the space. Most of the time, the defense was able to forestall the attacks. But at one point, a Veteranos forward launched a low hard shot straight to the right corner. David, in slow motion dive, managed to extend his right arm an extra three inches and pushed the ball free. And for most of the second half, that was how it went. The other team tried to set up shot after shot, but the defense and goalkeeper kept them scoreless. At the attacking end, Mojos earned corner kicks and took shots, but luck didn't roll our way and none went in.

With about ten minutes left in the game, Veteranos pressed down the left side, challenged steadily by Mojos' defense. The greenshirted forwards shifted the play with passes- right, right, and then- a shot! Deflecting off a defender, the hard ball angled far left, and David had no chance at it. The game ended 0-3. But of the four games, this team was definitely the strongest, the one we didn't quibble about losing. And that's the story....not the whole story, but enough to get you started.
David Porter

FC77 MOJO Roster
Anderson, Greg Badovinatz, Peter Brinkman, Jim Charles, Mike
Coles, Roddy
Courter, Rock
Fithian-Barrett, Glenn Hilliker, Jim
Makande, Don Mayfield, John
Mc Bride, Lyle (MIA) Mc Coy, Rick
Pinger, Steve
Porter, David Thompson, Roy Westphal, Joe