It’s a great feeling when things work out. Looking not only at the standings but the actual results of all the teams’ games (as best as I’ve been able to tell — Southwest Indoor Soccer doesn’t provide scores), I felt we were a better team than Manchester United. But of course, such things are determined not on paper, but on the field, and it was pleasing to see my assessment of our boys was correct. We did a lot of things well, and I’m always pleased when we do things “right” and are rewarded for it.
There are things to improve upon, however. We still, I feel, started a bit tentatively–which can be seen in the fact that the score remained tied at 0-0 for more than the first 10 minutes. But at that point we seemed to slip into a higher gear and played more aggressively, and never really looked back. This being the second game in a row where we didn’t play as well as we could for the first quarter-or-so of the game, I would like to see us start the next game at that higher gear, rather than shifting up ten minutes in.
I also feel that we can still do better defensively, and that, as Noah observed in our post-game debriefing, this is largely due to the fact that the midfielders aren’t tracking back enough to help defend. I know this is a very physically demanding game, and so all I can ask is that the midfielders push themselves as hard as they can to come back and help on defense, and I will get them some rest when they need it (and the boys are doing a much better job of letting me know when they need to come out).
Chelsea01.com’s three stars of the game:
- Julian Meyers – Julian started the game in midfield, and I was extremely pleased with how he did there, pushing the ball forward, finding the pass, and defending aggressively. But then he went into defense, and you could tell he was in his comfort zone there. He was an absolute beast in defense, running everywhere, breaking up plays, and being the other team’s attackers’ worst nightmare. Great work.
- Alex Blankenship – Alex ran his heart out, and tried some smart moves, especially in the first half. He was also one of two players this game to earn a blue card. He was very upset about it, but as I told him at the time, if we don’t occasionally earn fouls then we’re not trying hard enough. I don’t want our boys to hurt anyone or cheat, but if you don’t match the physicality of your opponent they will run rampant all over you, something I think Chelsea allowed too much in the Fall season.
- Dylan Dreghorn – Perhaps Dylan’s greatest strength this season has been his consistency. No matter where he plays on the field, when I put Dylan out there I know he’s going to give everything for the team. And that period late in the first half when he and William were playing together extremely well was some of the best teamwork I’ve seen this indoor season.
- João Mitchell – A strong first half in goal, followed by some good performances in defense and midfield. I especially liked his aggressiveness in coming out of his box to kick balls away before opposing forwards could catch up to them. Nice work.
- Seth Rock – Seth is much more focused than he was in the summer season, and is learning to read the opposing team’s play better and to anticipate where he needs to be . I would love to see Seth join the Express Club and see where some training could take him, because I love his fearlessness and aggression, along with his discipline.
- Noah Ryan – I don’t know what Noah has been doing during the offseason, but his play is really at a higher level than it was just 6 weeks ago. He is more mobile on the field, finding his teammates better, and finding the open space better. Excellent work from Noah.
- Jacob Van Brunt – I put Jacob in defense in the first half for the same reason I put Julian in midfield; because I knew he didn’t feel as comfortable there. And like Julian I thought Jacob did very well there. Also like Julian, however, Jacob had an even better second half in goal, topped off with preventing a shootout goal. Fantastic work.
- William Wallace – On top of what was a very strong game in many ways, William scored what will probably go down as the goal of the season. If you missed it, Dylan passed an arcing ball to William from about 4 or 5 o’ clock. William looked over his shoulder, saw the ball coming, and met it with a volley to score. The ball NEVER TOUCHED THE GROUND! Truly awesome.
- Alex Wintz – After a sluggish opening to the game where it looked like he could hardly move (my fault for giving him Shipley’s for breakfast not long before the game), Alex picked it up in the second half, scoring two goals, including one with his weaker foot, which he was pleased to emphasize as he jogged back to our side of the field.
All in all, a great game for the boys and something to be proud of. Let’s keep it up for the rest of the season!