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Typhoon FC kick off 2019-2020 campaign with a win in Hampton, NH

Typhoon FC kicked off their 2019-2020 campaign with a commanding win in the opening match of the 6v6 high school indoor league at the Seacoast indoor arena in Hampton, New Hampshire.

Just before kickoff, six of our fabulous footballers stepped into the area, ready to do battle with FC Exeter. We had no subs, they had maybe 30 or 40 subs. Possibly 1,000. It was hard to tell. Our squad definitely subscribed to the view that getting on the scoreboard early is a big advantage. At the opening whistle, Evelyn pounced on the Exeter kickoff, nabbing the ball from one of their players and firing into the goal so fast that our camera wasn't even set up yet to catch the action. Our game film begins with the Typhoon players jogging back to center field for the restart. Less than 10 seconds into the match, and Typhoon was up 1-0. 

Not wishing to fall victim to this twice in a row, Exeter took a more cautious approach with their next kickoff. This time, they got off one pass back and tried to play forward into our end, but Grace intercepted, played a pass to Izzy who touched back to Grace, who took a few dribbles and played the ball forward again. This began a sustained period of back and forth, with Typhoon keeping most of the possession, attacking with three or four players and then quickly dropping back to defend when Exeter launched its own attacks. Maddie was tested early in goal, and had several nice saves while Zoe figured out early on how to work the hockey-rink-style boards. She used this to her advantage throughout the match, repeatedly getting the best of the Exeter players. 

The pace was fairly fast for the first 10-15 minutes. This is not uncommon for Typhoon, but it's difficult to maintain with no subs and very little stoppage of play (more on that in a bit). Typhoon was very strong defensively, guarding the dangerous spaces and passing lanes to shut down the Exeter advances. When Exeter did manage to shoot, Maddie cleaned it up nicely.


FC Exeter were a spirited bunch, and they started to gain confidence as the first half progressed. They subbed frequently, with fresh legs coming on the pitch every few minutes. After several nice efforts on goal (two volley shots by Izzy, and a hard blast by Zoe, among others), some near misses, and a couple good saves from the Exeter keeper, Typhoon added to their goal count in the 10th minute, after Exeter were awarded a free kick at midfield and tried for a long pass in behind our back line.

Izzy read the pass well, intercepted, and sent a long pass on the ground to Zoe who dribbled deep into the Exeter half, turned her back on a defender and laid off a nice pass to Mack who was making a run up the right flank while Evie drew a defender to the left. Zoe's pass also wrong-footed the defender, who ended up on the ground while trying to intercept. Mack took two touches forward and then blasted the ball over the goalie's outstretched hand, just under the crossbar. 2-0 in favor of Typhoon.

About a minute later Typhoon almost scored again, but the Exeter goalie got a hand on Zoe's attempt. Not to worry, though, because a minute after that (at just under 13 minutes into the half), Mack stole the ball from an Exeter player and dribbled towards our own goal with the Exeter player in hot pursuit. Mack played a pass back to Izzy who one-touched a pass forward to Evie in the Exeter half, behind most of the Exeter squad. Evie took three touches to set the ball and fired a hard shot into the corner. The Exeter keeper got a piece of it, but not enough to keep it out of the net. Advantage to Typhoon, 3-0. 

Every good story has that part where you aren't sure if the heroes are going to make it. This was that part for Typhoon FC, as the fast pace and lack of substitutes started to take its toll. FC Exeter noticed our fatigue, and tried to up the tempo a bit while also increasing their substitution rate. Clearly they were hoping to wear down the Blue Storm of Typhoon FC. Tired but determined, we still played strong with lots of positional rotation, some more nice saves from Maddie, strong defensive positioning from Grace and Zoe (who also rotated up and back with Izzy), and some promising - although somewhat slower - attacks. 

FC Exeter's plan seemed to be working, though, as Typhoon got considerably winded and were forced to take breaks during the run of play. This lead to some numbers-down situations, and although Maddie did a great job turning away shots (she had a half-dozen or more saves during this stretch), Exeter finally found a way through the Typhoon blockade.

Capitalizing on Exeter's superior numbers and Typhoons exhaustion, Exeter scored two goals before the end of the half: the first off a hard low shot with about 7 minutes remaining, and the second at just over the 24 minute mark, with 45 seconds left to play. During both of those goals, Typhoon were playing short-handed. At the half time whistle, Typhoon were leading 3-2, but FC Exeter had momentum, were filled with hope and full of energy.

Typhoon spent halftime sprawled on the bench, doing their best to restore energy to their tired legs and recharge their bodies and minds for the second half. Some tactical adjustments were made to deal with the fatigue, and Typhoon began the second half with a plan to control the tempo of the match, slow the game down, and force Exeter do all the running. FC Exeter, on the other hand, seemed intent on wearing Typhoon down by subbing frequently and pushing the pace of play faster.

Despite deliberately slowing the tempo. Typhoon continued to dominate possession and kept looking for goal scoring chances, needing to increase the lead for insurance against tired legs late in the half. The first opening came quickly, from a great back and forth build-up that dragged FC Exeter all over the pitch. This started immediately at the 2nd half kickoff. Evie played the ball back to Mack, who dribbled forward and challenged the Exeter players. One of them got a foot on the ball, and took a shot on our goal, but Maddie cleared the effort wide. Deep in our end, an Exeter winger tried to play a pass across our goal to her teammate on the far side. Izzy dashed in front, intercepted, and cleared the ball wide and out of our defensive third. Exeter regained possession and tried attacking from our right flank. Mack poked the ball away and Evelyn gained possession next to the boards on our right side. Evie played back to Grace, who took a few touches and sent the ball forward to Evie who had run past the blind side of the defender to receive the return pass. Evie and Mack attacked the Exeter half, but Exeter intercepted a pass and sent the ball back down into our left corner area. Izzy stole the ball but was fouled, setting Zoe up with a free kick. Zoe played calmly to Izzy in front of our goal, Izzy dribbled slowly forward, drawing the Exeter players into our half, then sent a through ball to Evie behind most of Exeter's squad. Evie and Mack engaged in a 2v2 batle against the remaining Exeter players, with Evie passing to Mack, Mack passing to Evie, Evie passing to Mack, and Mack passing to Evie, all the while getting closer and closer to the Exeter goal. Exeter poked the ball away and tried another attack with a long pass down the pitch. But Zoe instantly broke up the attack and Maddie grabbed the ball. Maddie quickly tossed the ball to Zoe, who played past an Exeter attacker to Mack on the left. Mack set a through-ball to Evie, behind two defenders, and made a strong run down the left side, drawing a defender with her and away from Evie. Evie turned, beat the last defender, lined up on goal and fired the ball low and just inside the far post.

All that happened in 90 seconds of play. During that period, Typhoon FC connected 14 passes while Exeter managed only one. Typhoon was in possession for 83 of the 90 seconds, repeatedly probing for weaknesses in the Exeter defensice structure, recycling the ball, and maintaining strong defensive positioning - allowing Typhoon to defend effectively in numbers-down situations. Every Typhoon player - including the goalie - touched the ball several times, and there were several lovely passing sequences and creative dribbling runs. That kind of play is the hallmark of Typhoon FC, and at 95 seconds into the 2nd half, Typhoon went up 4-2.

One minute later, after more of the same domination of possession and control of the tempo, Zoe stopped play dead deep in Typhoon's half, facing the Typhoon goal. With her foot on the ball, she stood firm while an Exeter player pushed into her back. The ball was played to Izzy who had come to support Zoe, Izzy one-touched a pass to Evie, Evie one-touched to Grace who played a wall pass back to Evie who was dashing down the right hand side. Evie played a forward pass to Mack, who received on the run with her back to the Exeter goal, turned, faked out a defender and flicked the ball past the keeper. 5-2 Typhoon. 

Remember how every good story needs that part where you aren't quite sure if the heroes are going to survive? Well, this story has two of those parts. The second one started in the fifth minute of the second half, and last for about 7 or 8 minutes. During that time, FC Exeter took advantage of Typhoon's fatigue, found space, and put two well-placed shots into the goal. Exeter had closed the gap to 5-4, and were once again gaining confidence as they saw Typhoon's energy reserves seriously depleted. 

But fear not! Typhoon's athletes weren't having any of that FC Exeter come-from-behind nonsense. Typhoon responded to Exeter's energized attacks by slowing the pace of the game down even more. Typhoon let the ball do all the work, passing it around while Exeter chased in circles. All the ball chasing and man-marking on Exeter's part created some lovely space for Typhoon to run or pass into, and with 12 minutes remaining in the match, Typhoon increased their lead again. The attack started with a steal by Grace, a pass to Evie, a pass to Mack, an overlapping run by Evie and a simultaneous underlapping run by Grace, a pass to Grace, a pass to Mack, a pass back to Grace (through two defenders), a pass to Evie, a touch, a shot, and a goal. Twelve seconds, one steal, six passes, two runs, one touch, one shot, one goal. 6-4 Typhoon.

FC Exeter began to realize that wearing down Typhoon FC to earn the win was not going as planned. Typhoon's work rate had dropped to about half of Exeter's, yet Typhoon controlled the game more and more - only expending energy when necessary. Exeter needed to commit numbers forward with increasing urgency, allowing Typhoon to possess the ball in their own half, invite Exeter in to try to win it back, and then slip in behind them with frequent expeditions toward the Exeter goal. 

One of these expeditions proved successful with just over 8 minutes left to play. Zoe beat an Exeter player to a ball against the boards, just outside Typhoon's defensive third. With that player pushing on Zoe's back, Zoe very calmly played the ball back to Izzy and walked in the direction of the Exeter goal. Izzy received the ball and walked forward with it, looking rather disinterested. This confused the Exeter players, and one of them sprinted in for a steal.

Turns out Izzy only looked disinterested, but was actually quite alert and she took a quick sharp cut to the left, and played the ball forward into Exeter's half. Exeter tried for a pass, but Evie intercepted while Zoe occupied a defender to keep space open for Evelyn to run into. Evie showed her appreciate for this by dribbling into the space, cutting behind another defender, shooting, and scoring. 7-4 Typhoon FC. 

Exeter countered 3 minutes later during a stretch when Typhoon were playing short-handed, ending a long period in which Maddie kept them off the scoreboard with many nice saves.  Not to worry, though, because 90 seconds later Izzy casually played a free kick to Evie in Typhoon's defensive third, Evie surprised Exeter by sprinting with the ball into their defensive third and passing to Zoe in front of the Exeter goal. Zoe shot, the goalie saved, but Zoe collected her own rebound and buried the ball for another Typhoon goal. 8-5 in favor of Typhoon. 

With just over two minutes left in the match and Typhoon bending time and space to suit their own purposes, Evie stole the ball from an Exeter player, made a back pass to Izzy, who played forward again to Grace after drawing a defender, Grace played a pass to Zoe who stood with the ball daring a Exeter defender to make a challenge. The Exeter defender challenged, Zoe played the ball forward, and the ball bounced around a bit until Grace looped a shot over two defenders, just hitting the far post. Zoe was there to pound in the rebound with a nice volley. 9-5 Typhoon FC.

Typhoon completed the scoring a little over a minute later when Grace stole the ball from an Exeter player at the top of Exeter's defensive third, played a back pass to Mack, who returned the pass to Grace on the other side of a defender. Grace took a few touches and played a pass back to Zoe at the halfway line. Mack and Izzy dropped back, drawing defenders with them. With Exeter pulled out of position, dangerous space opened up behind the Exeter defense. Zoe chipped the ball over a defender's head to Evie, who had wandered into that dangerous space all sneaky like. Evie settled, lined up, and shot high into the left corner. 10-5 Typhoon.

And that's how it ended. There was so much to be happy about with Typhoon's play - clever heal passes, excellent defending, great dribbling, ridiculous passing, wonderful off ball movement, and a strong debut by Maddie in goal. The Typhoon teamwork was on full display, and the tired squad played a very smart match - working the ball around to move the defenders and open up space, passing backwards to draw the defenders in and then bypassing them with a through ball, and defending the dangerous spaces really well to avoid having to run around too much worrying about people. Just a great game all around, and an excellent start. 

Want to see the match? Well, here you go....

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