Coach Ar Windibiziri stood staring into the sun, squinting behind his sunglasses, leaning against the goal post and whispering to his goalie as his team, the U8 Fire Dragons, forced the ball down field. On the opposite end of the field, Jared Sigmund and Dele Okediji watched their team, Ottawa United, push back. Saturday morning at Youth Sports Inc. United broke a five-all tie to defeat the Fire Dragons 7-5.
"It was a fun game," Windibiziri said. "They've got to run with the ball and pay attention. They keep running and before you know it, you've passed the goal."
The game was tied within minutes of the starting whistle, both United and the Dragons having an easy time with the ball. United kept the push and pull going, landing one goal only to have the Dragons respond with one of their own.
Fire Dragon Sam Fanschier tied the game after United's second goal. Neither team was able to take a run-away lead, with United pushing ahead and closing the first quarter with a one goal lead.
It seemed as if most of the energy had been sapped out by the first quarter, as the second saw slower moving players. United was able to hold on to their lead for the majority of the second quarter. Fanschier kept his team's head above water, getting the first point of the quarter, to tie the game. Once again the boys in blue took back their lead before the whistle blew to signal half time.
It was give and take as the Fire Dragons kept nipping at the heals of Ottawa United. Both teams stepped up the energy for the third. United goalie Thomas Nowhecke only allowed the ball to see the back of the net once in the third ending the quarter in a tie heading into the final quarter.
The United offense hit their stride in the fourth. The defense on both sides kept the ball hot, bouncing this way and that way across the grass. Although United allowed the tie, Nowhecke wasn't about to let the Dragons take the lead.
Zane Muhl pushed United ahead for their fourth lead in as many quarters. This one goal allowed United the confidence they needed. In a short staccato of shots, United put two more marks up on the boards.
With five seconds left, the Dragons slipped a shot in, putting a period on their struggle against United. The boys in red sunk to their knees as the whistle blew, a mix of joy and exhaustion.
Both United coaches were happy with their team's performance.
"They passed really well," Okediji said. "They took their shots when they got them. I'm really pleased."
Sigmund felt his team really shined during Saturday's game.
"Nowhecke did really well," he said. "The whole team came together."