Despite the irony in the name, which grounded the Colorado Blizzard at the Denver International Airport for over 9 hours before getting cleared on a flight that put them in San Diego around 10:45PM local time, it was just the first hurdle the team would pass on their way to the Premier Arena League’s National Finals Championship Match.
Day 1 - As the team prepared for their first game of the 2012-2013 National Finals there was certain intensity yet calm amongst the players while they were putting on their uniforms and getting ready to take the field at a run at the National Championship. Many players were anxiously watching the game that was going on before in anticipation of taking the field for the first time at Nationals. For others, after taking an early exit last year, it was looking forward to making a statement that they were back and ready to take care of business.
After a brisk warm up, team prayer, and the determination to prove to everyone that they belong here; the Blizzard began their onslaught of the goals by defeating OTW Santa Clara 7-3. After a comfortable win in the first game the focus was turned toward the Premier’s number one team (undefeated at 8-0) the San Diego Sockers Premier. Last year the Blizzard had the #1 seed at 8-0 going into Nationals with a target on their back. But, this year they were focus was on San Diego. After a hard fought battle the Blizzard came up big with 2-1 result securing them a #1 or #2 seed going into the championship rounds.
Coach Wells " wow what a day, the players are playing well right now and are extremely focused on what we are here to do, they are working well as a collective and working hard for each other and it is showing in our play, 9 goals in 2 games at Nationals is a great way to start the tournament. Beating San Diego was a huge boost in our confidence going into the championship rounds tomorrow, we are definitely focused and ready to make a run at the title. "
Day 2 - The Blizzard, having clinched the #2 seed for the quarter finals, faced the same Santa Clara team they played in the first round with the same 7-3 result.
In semi final match against the Blizzard would face another unbeaten squad in the form of the Northwestern Division’s South Sound FC. But Colorado was in rare form this game and were connecting on all cylinders commanding the game from the start by putting in 6 goals to complement goal keeper Justin Dzuba’s shutout.
Having first beaten a Blizzard from Colorado, taking down two undefeated teams in San Diego and South Sound, the Colorado Blizzard in deed looked unbeatable heading into the 2 hour break before the National Championship title game. But Bladium Rosal, had other plans, and kept the Blizzard down leading 2-1 going into the final two and a half minutes of play before cashing in two quick goals on Colorado’s sixth attacker to drive the with out of their storm.
Coach Wells - "Congratulations to the Bladium Rosal, what an interesting match. We have never faced an opponent that packed it in defensively nor a team that plays a 3-2 zone defense in Indoor soccer before, it took us almost the entire 1st quarter to figure out how to attack this type of defense and by the time we sorted things out they had gotten two counter attacks and scored 2 goals before we knew it, at halftime we made some adjustments which led to Yves pulling one back to make the score 2-1 and we kept our intensity up and managed to hit the post 5 times but could not find the net. I'm a bit shocked at the amount of slide tackling the refs were allowing since the PASL has a rule against sliding especially since the result of several illegal slide tackles directly resulted in balls not going in the back of the net, after scoring 22 goals in 4 games you would have thought we would have found the net more in this game. Bad Luck, strong defensive play by Rosal and us having to go to a 6th attacker in the last 2:35 of the game saw the outcome of 4-1. I really proud of the players for setting a goal of getting back to Nationals and getting it done, and also for their strong showing this year and their strong play as a team, they are a very tight group of players and they played extremely well. Winning the title would have been nice, but being a National Finalist is a good accomplishment as well. Great job and congratulations to my players and to the PASL for putting on a great National Finals weekend. Looking forward to returning next season and making another run at the title."