Stoppage Time Equalizer Drops Vikingur to 2-2 Draw

I haven’t done any match summaries this season, because finding any kind of recaps online has been darned hard.  First world football blogger problems, to be sure.  However, I have now tracked down a source – fotbolti.net – and with the help of Google Translate, will do my best to get back into the summaries.

Vikingur Olafsvik came out firmly in control, with good possession and multiple scoring opportunities in the first half hour, but weren’t able to convert.  KA Akureyri keeper Srdjan Rajkovic kept his side in the match, with some outstanding saves on Brynjar Kristmundsson and Friend of the Blog Eyþór Helgi Birgisson.  In the 23d minute, midfielder Bjorn Palsson pulled up with a thigh injury, but returned to the pitch five minutes later.  Finally in the 34th minute Eyþór beat his defender and lofted a ball into the box for striker Kemal Cesa to knock into the goal.  Vikingur had more opportunities in the first half, mostly down the right side through Eyþór, but weren’t able to find the back of the net, and went in to halftime only up 1-0.

Olafsvik stayed strong through the first 15 minutes of the second half, with Eyþór and Cesa continuing to abuse the left side of the Akureyri defense, but were continually denied by Rajkovic.  In the 54th minute, Palsson finally succumbed to his injured thigh and was subbed off for the Pride of Hackettstown, Joey Spivack.  Palsson’s departure seemed to give Akureyri some new life, as they started taking control of the midfield, taking advantage of Spivack’s newness to the squad.  They weren’t able to find the back of the net, though, until the 71st minute, when KA forward Ævar Ingi Jóhannesson’s ball deflected off Tomasz Luba and into the Vikingur net.

Four minutes later, though, Steinar Már Ragnarsson got the ball away from KA mid Edin Beslija and slipped through the Akureyri defense, slotting a shot neatly past Rajkovic to put Olafsvik back in front 2-1, and it looked like Vikingur was headed into a three-way tie for second place in the 1.Dield.  KA pressed higher and higher up the pitch to try to grab an equalizer, and the action was end-to-end, with Gunnar Örvar Stefánsson hitting the crossbar off a corner in the 88th minute, and Vikingur breaking away in the other direction with Cesa being denied yet again after getting through one-on-one against Rajkovic.  Finally, though, in the first minute of stoppage time, Ævar got a sliver of space away from Emir Dokara and found Gunnar in the box, who beat keeper Arnar Darri Pétursson to draw Akureyri level.

It wasn’t over, though, as Eyþór kept pounding down the right flank trying to will his team to the victory; as the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time was winding down, he broke behind the defense but couldn’t find the back of the net, and the match ended in a 2-2 draw.

The result leaves Vikingur firmly in the middle of the table, in fifth place with 19 points.  They are only two points out of second place, but are well back of the other contenders on goal differential, at -1 compared to +12 for Akranes, +3 for HK Kópavogur, and +10 for KA.

Major tip of the hat to Magnús Þór Jónsson of fotbolti.net for the real-time text summary that I used to construct this summary.

Summer Transfer Window

The summer transfer window is open, and Vikingur has started making some moves.

Defender Alex Vivancos was picked up from Massanassa CF, in Group 3 of the Valencian regional top division, one level below the Tercera Division.  Vivancos has spent his career in Spain, reaching as high as Villajoyosa in Segunda B, as well as spending time with Acero and Alzira in the Tercera Division.  Expect him to slot in at left back, effectively replacing Danny Herzig, who has left the team.

Vikingur also picked up the pride of Hackettstown, NJ, midfielder Joey Spivack, who comes to the team from PS Kemi Kings in the Finnish Kakkonen Pohjoinen, in the third tier of Finnish football.  Spivack appeared in 24 matches in each of the last two seasons for Kemi, and scored 5 goals in the two seasons.  He has previously played for Guiseley A.F.C. in England’s Conference North, and spent time with the Red Bull New York Academy and Richmond International Academic and Soccer Academy (RIASA) in England.

Both Vivancos and Spivack saw time in the match against KA Akureyri, with Spivack coming on in the 54th minute for Bjorn Palsson, who suffered a thigh injury earlier in the match, and Vivancos coming on in the 79th minute for Brynjar Kristmundsson.

Stoppage Time Comeback in Akranes

Stoppage time giveth, and stoppage time taketh away.  Last week against Selfoss, Vikingur Olafsvik conceded a goal in stoppage time and lost 1-0.  This week, as the clock ticked over to the 90th minute, Vikingur trailed Akranes 2-1, and it looked bleak.

Then a penalty was given a minute into stoppage time, Eyþór Helgi Birgisson converted to equalize the game at 2-2, and it looked like Vikingur would escape Akranes with an away point.

But that wasn’t all.  Three minutes later, Fannar Hilmarsson found the back of the net to put Olafsvik up 3-2, for a stunning come-from-behind stoppage time victory.

Vikingur Olafsvik now sits in fourth place in the 1.Dield, with six points.

Vikingur Olafsvik Falls 1-0 in Stoppage Time

Somewhat unsurprisingly, it can be hard to get a lot of detail from which to write a match summary of an Icelandic second-division soccer match from 2600 miles away.

First world problems, I guess.

Vikingur Ol had to travel 100 miles to Akranes for their “home” match against Selfoss, due to the poor condition of the pitch in Olafsvik.   The match was scoreless through 90 minutes, but looking at the match statistics, Vikingur appeared to have dominated: 54%-46% advantage in possession, an 11-1 advantage in shots, a 6-1 edge in corners.  They were unable to find the back of the net, though – and in the first minute of stoppage time, Selfoss forward Elton Livramento broke through to send Vikingur down to defeat.

Vikingur Olafsvik travels back to Akranes on Friday for their match against IA, who is level with Vikingur at three points after two rounds.

Vikingur Olafsvik Falls 3-1 to Selfoss in League Cup Group Play

Vikingur Olafsvik lost 3-1 to Selfoss in the first game of League Cup group play.  Alfreð Már Hjaltalín put Olafsvik up 1-0 in the 21st minute, but conceded a penalty to Selfoss four minutes later that was converted to equalize the match.

The sides stayed level through halftime, but Andri Már Hermannsson put Selfoss up 2-1 in the 69th minute, and Richard Sæþór Sigurðsson put it away with a third goal five minutes later.

Vikingur Olafsvik travels to Reykjavik next week to take on Valur, who narrowly beat them out to stay in the top division at the end of last season.

Offseason Update

Some updates from the Vikingur Olafsvik offseason:

  • Fan favorite Damir Muminovic has elected to stay in the PepsiDield, leaving Vikingur Olafsvik and signing with Breiðablik.
  • Captain Gudmundur Steinn Hafsteinsson also left the team, signing with Fram.
  • Anton Jónas Illugason and Vignir Snær Stefánsson resigned with Vikingur Olafsvik for the 2014 season.

It’s tough to see Muminovic and Hafsteinsson leave Vikingur, but we wish them well – and hope to compete against their new teams in 2015!

Some Thoughts on Fandom

In the aftermath of Vikingur Olafsvik’s loss to Fylkir, dooming them to relegation for the 2014 season, there were a lot of tweets flying around.  But the one that most caught my eye was this one:

https://twitter.com/hrafnkellfreyr/status/381865762224607232

I think the last part is some Icelandic aphorism about the devil and flagstones that Google Translate can’t really handle, but the first part translates loosely to, “Vikingur Olafsvik supporters stood and applauded for 20 minutes after the match.”

Let’s parse that.  At the other team’s stadium, 200 km from home, your team just lost a match it had to win (and had opportunities to win), and as a result was relegated.  And you stand and cheer them for 20 minutes straight.

Or you sit at a computer 2600 miles away watching a live stream of comments and hanging on every word.

It’s weird how you can get emotionally attached to a team you’ve never seen play.  I discovered Vikingur Olafsvik on a lark, really – a long-form internet joke involving a blog about a US baseball team, a vacation in Iceland (not mine), sports superstition, and an opportunity to show that all the reactions that fans could have about a major league baseball team in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, could be just as applicable to a soccer team playing in a 900 seat stadium in a small town on the west coast of Iceland.

And along the way, I found that I was more right than I’d ever imagined.

Being a fan transcends language; it transcends distance; it transcends culture.  It transcends the sport that you’re following.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re hoping for one big hit to drive in a run or one goal to equalize on the road.  Whether you’re on the edge of your seat because the other guys have a runner on third and one out and you need a strikeout, or because the other team just got a spot kick and you need a save.  Whether you’re suffering through a 20-year streak of futility or your team just got relegated, but you still believe.

Einar Hjörleifsson, who seemed to single-handedly keep Vikingur in every game over the last two months.  Gudmundur Steinn Hafsteinsson, the captain.  Pálsson and Magnússon up top.  The Spanish Armada, Kiko Insa, Samu Jimenez, Toni Espinosa, and Juan Manuel Torres,   And the first player to follow me on Twitter, Damir Muminovic.  I have never seen any of these guys play.  I don’t know that I could even pick them out of a lineup.  But there’s a connection no less than if I grew up in Olafsvik and lived down the street from the Ólafsvíkurvöllur.