The Louisville Lightning returned to action last Saturday facing a formidable opponent at home:, the San Diego Sockers. With all due respect to Chargers’ fans, Louisville faced the most physical of San Diego professional sports teams.
For those of you doubting that a soccer game can, in any way, resemble the physical intensity of a football game, I hear you. I was one of those people also. I grew up hating soccer and thought of it as some foreign sport I didn’t understand. Eventually, through my international travels and intellectual awakening (at least I’d like to think), I came to love the sport.
I have a tremendous appreciation and love for football and soccer, but the physicality of soccer is tremendously under-appreciated. I’ve seen lots of blood and gruesome injuries sitting in my seat just behind the glass, and Friday I saw Lightning goalkeeper Frank Peabody pop his own shoulder back into place. And to think NFL players miss games for “turf toe.”
I was eager to see this team that brought its own media crew and traveling fans from San Diego. After the two teams’ first meeting, Lightning coach Ted Nichols described the Sockers as “monstrous.”
It was the most physical indoor soccer game I’ve ever seen, and I’ve watched numerous Lightning players go down with injuries this season due to the demanding nature of the sport. It was a thing of beauty, however, to watch two extremely physical teams battle without turning it into a dirty game. The Sockers built a comfortable lead, then the Lightning fought back to score five goals in the final period. In the end, San Diego prevailed 10-7.
The Lightning have two weeks off before taking on the Kings in Cincinnati on New Year’s Day. The next home game is Jan. 22.