Green leads ITS to win

There were plenty of opportunities throughout the game—plenty of missed opportunities.
There were balls shot wide—some really wide. Some shot high—some really high. Some great saves made—some not even needed.
And it was here, with 10 minutes left in his game against Rainy River, that Bob Green of ITS took it upon himself to change the game’s struggling and disheartening way of play.
“We just couldn’t hit the net. On both sides we just couldn’t put it in. We were all over the net just not in it,” said Green, who has been playing with ITS since 1979.
A hurried pass from a corner kick was taken with the recipient, Jake Gill, firing across into Rainy River’s area. Green, because of his height, pushed his way into the box and patiently waited for the ball, which was deflected by a Rainy River defender, and proceeded to patiently place the ball into the back of the net.
“I usually come up because I’m one of the taller players. And I just waited. I played the waiting game,” said Green, whose goal gave his team a 1-0 victory.
“I was watching the other corner kicks and that’s where they were going. So I just waited and just put my foot out and it happened to go inside the post. It was a close one though,” he added.
The game’s best scoring opportunity for Rainy River came early in the first half when they were awarded a penalty kick due to an ITS hand ball in their own area. Jeremy Nussbaumer was the player who took the kick and in turn, pulled a Roberto Baggio (1994 World Cup final) as he sailed the shot high of the crossbar and in the process gave ITS a sigh of relief.
“It definitely boosted our confidence. Because it was early in the game and you don’t want someone scoring in the first 10 minutes,” said ITS goalkeeper Justin DePodesta. “It got us motivated, because you definitely play better when the score’s 0-0 and you’re not down by one.”
Added Green: “We got lucky when they put it over the new with the penalty kick. That was a big thing, and it got us going.”
A main reason why the scored stayed the way it did, until Green converted on his attempt late in the second half, was due to the outstanding play of DePodesta, who along with the help of the crossbar, kept any attempts by Rainy River out of the net.
One particular play in the second half spurred a succession of saves from DePodesta, who looked more like an eight-armed statue of Ganesh, rather than a two-armed, three-year member of ITS.
“I got my hand on it and it actually went off my shoulder and it tipped to the post and came right back to his feet and I was just right there to make the save. It was a mad scramble and a mad panic but we did our best to hold them off,” said DePodesta.
“There were a couple of miss-hits on our part and it was just more of me being in the right spot at the right time.”
“He was really quick tonight. He didn’t have much chance to wait so he made some great reflex saves. He kept his eye on the ball and kept us in it,” Green said.
The win was only ITS’ second of the season, as they sit in the bottom of the five-team soccer league with Rainy River sitting fourth, but they are still confident that come playoff time, which begins August 11, they will be able to compete with the top teams. But only if they field a full team says DePodesta.
“You know what it was tonight?” asked DePodesta in response to why they haven’t had success this season. “It was that we had a full game tonight with two subs and most of the year we’ve been undermanned. This is our first game in around two months that we had a full squad and the result speaks for itself.
“We’ve built a strong team. It’s just a matter of getting all our guys out and working as a team. We can run with anybody but only when we have a full team.”
This current squad of ITS players have been playing together for the past two years and are steadily working their way up to competing with the likes of a Subway or a Gillons, who have been switching first and second place with each other all season long.
“There are going to be a lot of good games in the playoffs no matter who’s playing. Anybody can go. Anybody can win it, I think,” said Green.