Friday, June 1, 2012

U17 - Season Game #2 - Too Much Excitement for Me

The boys are not perfect, but they do generate excitement.
Our U17 boys had their second regular season game Wednesday in Milton.  Seven of the boys already had games earlier that day and it was emotional for all of them.  The two main high schools represented on our roster played each other and the victor lost in the next game.  High School soccer is over for this group.

We only had 11 players for our first game.  Wednesday was better; we had 12.  We now have 3 injuries and another boy was working.  Our GK was also hurt, but he played.

A slow start is a huge understatement here.  We were down 3-0 after 15 minutes.  All three goals were finished by a 1v1 with our keeper.  There were holes in our shape that you could pass a cargo ship through, our GK could not be as helpful as usual and some of the boys were mentally weak early on.  As the half progressed we were slowly getting organized and were looking more like a U17 soccer team.

When half time arrived the boys came off down 3-0 and my son says “guys, we’re not playing that bad”.  He was right as the boys did show some positive energy, but was 3-0 too much to overcome?

I had pointed out to them that we were losing our shape on attack and that was causing holes that made it easy to counter-attack against.  We were throwing ourselves at their net in 6’s while our defenders stayed back at half.

Coach Ben pointed out that players are leaving their positions to defend somebody else because they did not trust the person there to do their job.  That actually caused the first goal against.

We also had to rein them in mentally.  They were starting to bicker with the official and each other.

The boys started the second half with the positive energy that was building the first half.  And it didn’t hurt that an opposing player was sent off in the 47th minute for persistent dissent.

We were starting to penetrate down the wings, switching the play and using support from behind.  Crosses were coming in and attempts were made on goal.

A penetrating pass to a winger who finished on a first touch shot brought us to 3-1.  The same player on the same pass was brought down in the box to make it 3-2 on a PK and the attack continued.

We started to break down a bit and the boys needed to be reminded of their shape and philosophies we have been following.  Some boys were trying to fix the game on their own at one point.

The boys were positive with each other and worked to stay organize, but their overall fatigue was evident.  Being a man up was the best gift they could have received, especially when that player scored 2 of the 3 goals we conceded.

In the last minute, another penetrating pass caught a midfielder running through.  A collision with the keeper caused the ball to pop loose and our player was in a position to slide it in to tie the game.

It was another good moment for the team, but I can easily live without the tension.

We do need to reinforce our team shape and paint a better picture at training of how we should look on the field.  With school soccer over, we can have some more productive sessions and move towards a more cohesive team on the field.

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