Saturday, August 4 - Dublin, Ohio - The U.S.A. Revolution,
the men's All-Star Australian Football team from the United
States, held off a determined Canadian Northwind in a
tropical Dublin, Ohio last Saturday.
The Revolution and Northwind play each other for the 49th
Parallel Cup in each of the two years prior to an AFL
International Cup year (the next is 2014) in what is
becoming a very competitive rivalry.
The Northwind have only defeated the Revolution once, in
Vancouver 2007, since the first game was played in Chicago
in 1999. The two teams squared off in a very physical
opening match of the 2011 AFL International Cup and the
Revolution were very lucky to get away with a three point
The Northwind were undoubtedly buoyed by this result,
despite the loss, and certainly brought the same intensity
with them to Ohio.
The first quarter was a hard fought battle as both teams
struggled to deal with the slippery conditions created by
the high level of humidity. The Revolution created more
opportunities than the Northwind but only kicked the one
goal through Mat Kiefer. The Northwind kicked a goal of
their own and, as a result, the Revolution went to the
first break with only a 3-point advantage, 1.3.9 to 1.0.6.
The game opened up a little in the second quarter with both
teams kicking two goals each. Again the Revolution created
more opportunities however the combination of pressure from
the Canadians and wasted chances resulted in the Revolution
only extending their quarter time lead to seven points,
3.7.25 to 3.0.18. Bobby Sears and Eric "Sleepy" Floyd each
kicked a goal for the Revolution.
The third quarter was a war of attrition as the heat and
humidity started to take its toll on the players. The
Northwind took the honors in this quarter kicking 1.1 and
managing to keep the Revolution scoreless. Consequently
scores were tied at three quarter time, 3.7.25 for the
Revolution to 4.1.25 for the Northwind.
With several players cramping and many others looking out
on their feet the Revolution coaching staff were forced to
make several unexpected changes, particularly to the
midfield. In what can only be considered a masterstroke
(sigh of relief) the first tap by Bryan Dragus found its
intended target Kevin Stanley who streamed out of the
square to kick truly and put the Revolution in front.
The Northwind replied quickly to again level the scores
however from there the Revolution took control of the game
kicking another three unanswered goals. Bobby Sears added
his second for the day and Bryan Dragus kicked his first
despite enduring serious cramps. The final goal of the day
came with a little luck with Minnesotan debutants Brent
Fischer and Andrew Rotschafer linking up. Fischer
fortuitously kicked the ball off the ground from deep in
the right-hand pocket to the goal square and found
Rotschafer who finished off the play and sealed the victory
for the Revolution.
In the end the Revolution won the game by a comfortable
margin, 7.12.54 to 5.1.31, however it is fair to say that
they were never comfortable throughout the match. It took a
massive effort by players such as MVP Chet Ridenour, who
repelled many Northwind attacking opportunities and he was
well supported by fellow backline players Andy Vanica, Ryan
McGettigan, and Robert Strange.
"This victory is certainly up there with one of the best,"
said Revolution Captain Dan Sarbacker. "We had to endure
oppressive conditions and an intense Canadian team. This
took a massive team effort and as a result I am incredibly
proud of the way the team fought the entire game out."
Earlier in the day the Revolution Development Squad played
a Canadian Development Squad for only the second time.
The development squad concept is designed to give younger
players, usually under the age of 25, the chance to
play at the international level and to be possibly selected
for the main squad at future events.
The game was played in a very competitive spirit and both
teams are to be commended for their efforts as the U.S.
team had no reserves and the Canadian team only two. In the
end the U.S. team outlasted the Canadians to win the game
by 39 points, 8.14.62 to 3.5.23.
"The U.S. Development Squad is to be congratulated for an
outstanding effort," said Revolution Head Coach Matt
Bishop. "Several of the guys only had a handful of games to
draw experience from and they all represented their country
and respective clubs extremely well! Dan Sarbacker, newly
appointed coach of the Development Squad is also to be
congratulated for the way in which he managed the team."
The team was well lead by Michael "Magic" Murphy and Bryan
Caine and 2nd-gamer (literally his 2nd game of footy ever)
Andrew Rotschafer of the Minnesota Freeze was the deserved
MVP award winner.
Final scores for the tenth 49th Parallel Cup:
Revolution Goals: R. Sears (2), B. Dragus, K. Stanley, E.
Floyd, M. Kiefer, A. Rotschafer
Revolution Best: C. Ridenour, A. Vanica, R. Strange, R.
McGettigan, K. Stanley, J. Moyer
U.S.A. Revolution Squad: Austin Crows: N. Jehangir, J. Leos; Baltimore-Washington Eagles: J. Moyer, K. Stanley,
R. Strange; Chicago United: D. Sarbacker (C); Columbus Jackaroos: C. Ridenour, R. Ward; Denver Bulldogs: A. Vanica; Etobicoke Roos (OAFL): R. Sears; Golden Gate Roos: K. Johnson; Houston Lonestars: Kevin Waden; Los Angeles Dragons: Bryan Dragus; Louisville Kings: Eric Floyd; Kansas City Power: Mat Kiefer; Minnesota Freeze: S. Fashant, D. Hansen, A. Werner
(VC); Nashville Kangaroos: Luke Nemeth; Philadelphia Hawks: J. Loring, R. McGettigan;
Coach: Matt Bishop; Assistant Coaches: J. Becker.
Manager: G. Borchardt; Trainer: S. Budrick.
Final scores for the development squad game:
U.S.A Development Squad Goals: A. Rotschafer (2), M.
McClure, D. James, D. Livy, D. Dahlquist, S. Furlong, P.
U.S.A Development Squad Best: A. Rotschafer, B. Fischer, S.
Furlong, C. Simpson, R. McFarland
U.S.A. Development Squad: Arizona Hawks: P. Norris; Cleveland Cannons: R.
McFarland; Columbus Jackaroos: S. Furlong; M. McClure, B.
Minich, E. Politz, C. Simpson; Denver Bulldogs: M. Eckstein; Golden Gate Roos: K. Barnes, D. Dahlquist, R.
Leumann, D. Livy; Kansas City Power: T. Poythress; Milwaukee Bombers: D. James; Minnesota Freeze: B. Fischer, A. Rotschafer; New York Magpies: B. Caine, M. Murphy (C);
Coach: D. Sarbacker; Assistant Coaches: J. Becker; M.
Bishop; D. Ryan;
Manager: G. Borchardt; Trainer: S. Budrick.