73 Chapter 68: Match (Remastered)

A hectic day with many ups and downs finally came to a close. The two kidnappers managed to escape for the time being, but the police are still working on tracking their whereabouts.

The Williams and Dunphy were informed about this the next day but weren't worried as the kidnappers had no idea that an informant had exposed their hideout.

However, the kidnappers remained a looming threat. After the incident, Nathan reconsidered his safety and hired bodyguards to watch his family from the shadows.

Time moved forward, and the date changed from 22nd November, a Sunday, to 24th November, a Tuesday.

Currently, a soccer match between Ryan's school and an opposing school called Camino Nuevo High School is going on.

The score is nil-nil.

Three minutes have passed since kick-off. Ryan dribbles the ball into the box and takes a shot, but his attempt gets saved by the goalkeeper.

Although it wasn't a goal, as the keeper pushed the ball out of play, Ryan managed to win his team a corner which wasn't bad either, as it could still be converted into a goal.

The team's designated corner taker is Max, a young man with black hair, an average face, a bulky build, age 15, and tall for his age (around 5'4 feet in height)

Max is the left winger for Ryan's team and is in charge of corners and freekicks. After Ryan saw him make some good corners and freekicks in training, he was responsible for this role.

As expected, Max takes the corner and delivers a good ball in the air, but Adam finds that before he can reach the ball, his defender has already won the ariel battle and headed it away.

The ball falls near one of the opposing midfielders, who immediately take over the ball and start a counterattack on Ryan's team.

Ryan and his teammates start heading back to help the defense.

The midfielder heads forward and once he reaches the other half and meets the defensive midfielder immediately passes it to the left winger, who runs ahead and dribbles it past an oncoming defender with pure agility.

The winger wearing number 7 starts getting closer and closer to the box, forcing the left back to come forward and put pressure on the winger into passing the ball.

When faced by the left back, the winger remains calm, makes a fake pass fooling the left back, and manages to move ahead.

Number 7 then comes face to face with a center-back to get rid of him. He does a complete 180 with the ball.

Then after getting past the defender and finding himself in an open space face-to-face with the goalkeeper, he stops the ball, takes a shot but unluckily ends up hitting the crossbar, and the ball goes out of play.

Ryan sees the shot miss and goes, "Tf is going on? Am I playing against kids or freaking Ronaldo at man united?"

Alex in the crowd sees the shot go to waste and smiles happily that the opposing team failed to take the lead, cheering Ryan on from the stands.

Alex cheers, "You can do it, guys. Come on."

Ryan continued, "I thought the coach said this was an easy team. Well, it looks like I will have to implement that strategy."

The goalkeeper Kevin from Ryan's team had collected the ball by now and placed it down in position for a goal-kick.

He didn't go for a long ball but passed to one of the nearby left-back, who took the ball slightly forward and did a few back passes before giving it to one of the central midfielders.

The center midfielder Tammy might look fragile but is fast and taking advantage of his agility. He starts running forward with the ball.

He then sees Ryan do a two-sign, immediately implements the strategy, and does a long pass. The ball goes straight forward to Ryan's feet.

When Ryan receives the ball, he starts sprinting forward and soon faces three players at the same, two coming from behind and one defender coming from the front.

Ryan remains composed and immediately flicks the ball toward Marco, the forward of Ryan's team, who manages to control the ball next to him.

Marco then ditches the defender marking him with speed, and runs straight forward.

The other team's goalkeeper sees this and immediately goes in for a tackle but fails as Marco manages to outmaneuver him. Marco then reaches the white line and turns back to keep the ball in play.

Marco then instantly passed the ball back to Ryan, who was now standing in the middle of the box in front of two defenders who blocked his path.

Ryan immediately shoots a curve ball from the defender's right side, blocking him and going straight into the top right-hand corner.

Those two defenders standing before Ryan to protect the goal were as useless as dropping penguins from a helicopter.

Once Ryan scored the goal, the crowd in the stand went wild, and Ryan ran towards the right corner and then slid down and crossed his hands, doing the iconic Mbappe celebration while sliding.

Ryan then finishes his celebration, points toward the crowd before walking toward Marco, and thanking him for his excellent corporation.

Phil sitting next to Alex, teases her and says, "Look, Ryan is pointing at you."

Alex blushed and replied, "Dad, we don't know that."

Haley, next to Alex, said, "Who else would he be pointing at? Me?"

Haley catches Alex off guard and, for once, doesn't have a quick comeback waiting for Haley.

The opposing team quickly got the ball back to center circle as they wanted to kick off the game as soon as possible now that they were down.

The opposing team passed back from the kick-off, but the midfielder passed it back to the player who handed him the ball.

The player at kick-off passed right toward the midfielder next to him. The midfielder saw that the left winger had started running toward the box and delivered a long ball directly outside the box.

The left winger quickly cut through and passed a defender, then came to the middle and received the ball at the center right in front of the box.

The defender he passed quickly followed him while the other defenders started running toward the box.

The left winger knew he wasn't fast enough to outrun the defender following him, so he quickly shot the ball at long range as soon as he reached inside the box.

The defender tried his best to clear the ball, but it was far too late, as the left winger had already hit it. Now everything was up to the goalkeeper, and no one could do anything else.

The goalkeeper dived left but was not fast enough as the ball was hit with immense power and blasted straight into the left side of the net.

Alex's expression changes from calm to worried when the ball goes in as the score becomes equalized.

Phil says, "Wow, that was a fantastic goal."

Haley replies, "It wasn't all that great. The defense was clearly slacking and wasn't ready, is all."

Alex spoke, "I have been meaning to ask this. Since when were you so interested in sports?"

Haley replies, "Well, it was different before as we didn't personally know anyone playing on the team."

Alex felt this reply was very suspicious and was wary of Haley's recent growing interest in Ryan.

Meanwhile, on the pitch, Ryan saw that the opponent instantly equalized and couldn't help but run toward his defense and scold them,

"What are you doing holding such a high line? Stay in position and follow the goddamn tactics."

The left winger, who finished celebrating with his teammates, suddenly came towards Ryan and said, "Unlucky mate, your team's defense is rubbish."

The defender in front of Ryan got angry, but Ryan held him down as the winger walked back to his position.

Ryan said, "What is the point of scrapping with him? He is just trying to get in your head. Keep your cool and follow the tactics. I will take care of the rest."

Ryan, in his mind, "Losing the match was fine, but now you insulted my teammate. Now, this is personal. Come on, Ryan, let out your inner Micheal Jordon."

Ryan then went and got the ball from the goalkeeper and then passed the ball to Peter to take the kick-off and stood behind in his half.

Peter, wearing number 3, was a young 14-year-old like Ryan, skilled with the ball, not tall or short, with an average body, a handsome face, and vibrant amber hair.

Peter was the second center defensive midfielder in the 352-football formation in which Ryan's team was playing.

Ryan then showed a stop sign to the Right midfielder in his team. Aaron, wearing number 5, saw this and immediately understood their next tactic.

Peter quickly did the kick-off and passed it back to the other defensive midfielder, and then, the CDM passed the ball along the right-hand side to Ryan.

Ryan was instantly faced by another player but didn't stop and passed forward to Aaron, who held the ball and waited.

Ryan then rushed forward, received the ball back from Aaron, and continued running ahead.

The player on Ryan instantly understood and started chasing behind Ryan but was left in the dust by him.

Ryan ran ahead and came face-to-face with the defender. Ryan then maneuvered the ball to the right, created a gap between himself and the defender in front of him, and dribbled forward.

All the other team's four defenders were caught off guard by this sudden solo dribble by Ryan and couldn't react in time.

The center-back from the other team quickly tackled Ryan in the box, but as Ryan fell, he flicked the ball with his back hill and managed to send the ball to the left side, leaving the goalkeeper frozen.

The ball continued to roll at a diagonal angle and went inside the net, crossing the white deciding line that ruled if it was a goal or not, and went on to hit the bottom left corner.

Ryan got up from the ground looking smug, like he had done something wild, but to be fair, he deserved to be arrogant as he took out the whole defense on his own.

The crowd in the stands instantly went nuts, and everyone stood up from their seats, no matter which team they supported.

Phil said, "Wow, your mom is missing quite the game. There are some absolute scenes out here."

Haley replied, "Forget the goal. I hope Ryan is okay. That fall looked nasty."

Alex said, "I hope so as well."

Alex then looked at Haley and went, "Wait a second, why do you care so much about what happens to Ryan? You do remember he is my boyfriend, right?"

Haley looked astonished and asked, "Where did that come from? Do you think I would be interested in Ryan and take him away from you?"

"I can't believe you, Alex, that a new low even for you."

Haley then left angrily while saying excuse me to everyone she bumped into while leaving.

Phil shouted behind her, "Haley..."

Phil scolded Alex, "Look what you have done, Alex getting jealous over Ryan with your own sister like, come on, really?"

"Haley might not be the smartest, but accusing her of having intentions to steal Ryan isn't that too much."

Alex said, "I will go apologize to her."

Phil replied, "You better go apologize."

Alex left her seat, saw Phil sitting back in his seat, and asked, "Aren't you coming to find her?"

Phil replied, "No, I think it is better if you sisters resolve this amongst yourself."

Alex then went down to hunt for Haley while Phil enjoyed a match that could only be called a classic.

The opponent scored another goal and made it 2-2, only for Ryan to assist and make it 3-2.

The match continued for a while, but in the end, Ryan, who was going full Messi esk, couldn't keep up, and the final score ended up being 6-5, and Ryan's team lost by one goal.

After the match, Ryan headed to freshen up and then met with Phil, Alex, and Haley.

From the looks off-screen, Alex and Haley had resolved their issues as they were both laughing and talking.

When Ryan came out, he was very depressed but seeing the atmosphere, he calmed down and de-stress. He was also comforted by Alex and Phil.

Alex - "It is alright, Ryan, don't feel sad. You win some. You lose some. That's just how life is."

Ryan - "I know."

Phil patted Ryan on the back and said, "You gave it your all out there. That is what is important."

Ryan replied, "I sure did."

Phil continued, "I tell you what, how about this? Come to Luke's birthday party tomorrow. We have many fun activities planned. I am sure that will cheer you up."

Phil whispered, "I will tell you what. Claire doesn't know this, but I have rented a wall climbing machine, zip lines, and much more."

Ryan asked, "Really?"

Phil replied, "Keep it down. It's a secret both of them don't know."

Ryan whispered back, "Oh, I see."

Alex asked, "What are you guys talking about?"

Ryan and Phil simultaneously, "Nothing much."

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