Author Topic: New England Soccer Discussion  (Read 325879 times)

Offline blooter442

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Re: New England Soccer Discussion
« Reply #555 on: October 27, 2015, 09:42:51 pm »
Actually, I think the game you're thinking about was Lasell as well! ;-) Judges thumped Mt. Ida last year, but needed a second-half goal to get by Lasell on the road. However, two years ago, Brandeis did struggle with Mt. Ida and only a late winner from Soboff gave them the victory.  Regardless, your message remains true and I agree -  but I doubt they make a postseason run like last year.  They sure do miss Savonen and Soboff, but then again any team would.

I've been a big fan of Endicott but it would be tough playing Gordon again.  They'll have a target on their backs,  and it will be interesting to see whether they can cope. They are a good side, though, and say whatever you want about Williams this year, but it's still Williams and they are a proud program that goes in to every game capable of winning, so to get a draw against Sullivan's team is a good result.

Offline PaulNewman

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Re: New England Soccer Discussion
« Reply #556 on: October 27, 2015, 10:37:00 pm »
One of the ironies of how SOS works is that Endicott suffers with a SOS that stood at .487 last week while Tufts, Williams, Calvin, Gordon benefit significantly from Endicott's 13-1-3 record, especially since all of those were road games for those teams.  A cruel irony, or just an irony?  Endicott of course gets to count the records of those teams but with the negative differential.

Offline blooter442

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Re: New England Soccer Discussion
« Reply #557 on: October 28, 2015, 11:47:08 am »
Blooter's Tactical Tantrum

By no means a proper feature, just wanted to air some thoughts on tactics I've been having. Brandeis' lack of goals has been perplexing, but they sit at 13-2-1 and No. 12 in the NSCAA. That said, their lack of scoring could catch up with them, and needs to be addressed in my book.

Heading home last night, I was scratching my head about why Brandeis can seemingly only manage one-goal wins regardless of the competition.  Despite laboring to a 1-0 win two weeks ago against Mass. Maritime, who was well below .500 at the time, I showed up for the Lasell game thinking that this would finally be the game where Brandeis, playing a 3-11 team, would start pouring on the goals. It wasn't to be, and for the ninth time this season, Brandeis got out with a 1-0 win. I had a bad hunch that they might have trouble scoring when the first game against Bridgewater State - a team that the Judges would have blown away in recent years - finished just 1-0, and while I can't complain about them being 13-2-1 and top 20 in the NSCAA, I am a bit concerned with the sheer lack of goals. A win is a win, but I think the main issue is that while I'd expect a 1-0 against a Chicago or a Case, I'd think a multi-goal win against a Lasell or Mass. Maritime would be in order. And while those teams often play 10 behind the ball when they play Brandeis - and I've got to say that's probably the correct tactic in that case - you'd still expect Brandeis to do better given its stature and players.

So I decided to have a look at the stats. And while I've said many times that Brandeis misses Savonen and Soboff, the conclusion that I came to is symptomatic of a bigger problem - Brandeis doesn't have a true central striker, and the other players are suffering as a result.

An overlooked fact, and one that I totally missed, is that the other players benefited offensively from having Savonen and Soboff. Look at Zach Vieira. Six goals last season and just two this year, although one was the winner away to Tufts and the other was in a huge UAA clash with Carnegie. Josh Ocel had four goals last year but this year he also has two. Ironically, Bradley and Picard - Brandeis' joint-leading scorers - are the only two players who have scored equal to or more this year than they did last year. Additionally, Brandeis can't seem to settle on a true lone striker. After persisting with Bradley for a while, they're now playing Flahive up top. A wide forward by trade, Flahive has just one goal this year, yet ironically Bradley has three. And while some might argue that Bradley should start due to the fact that he has more goals, I would still put Flahive out there - he's overall a better player IMHO. Either way, asking a kid who has played mostly out wide to come in and be the main CF is a daunting task.

My observations in the earlier part of the year were twofold: 1. that the guys being trusted to play at CF kept dropping too wide and too deep, so that when the balls came into the box there was nobody to finish them off 2. Brandeis wasn't shooting enough, and was always trying to find the perfect shot when simply pulling the trigger might've been better. And while the CFs have begun staying in the middle in recent weeks, the new issue is that the interplay in the box isn't good enough, and the Judges are being let down by the final ball and poor shooting. (Ironically, Brandeis' 1.9 goals/game last year came from an average of 15.8 shots/game, while the Judges' 1.2 goals/game this year is from an average of 16.8 shots/game - 50 percent fewer goals with one more shot, on average.)

My solution: play two up top.

Now before you call me crazy, hear me out. There seems to be an obsession in the modern age with playing one true CF up front, and while I do like 4-3-3 a lot I think that 4-4-2 diamond or 4-3-1-2 can be just as effective. (Don't even get me started on 4-2-3-1 - can't stand it, just my personal opinion.) For about half of last year, Brandeis played a 3-5-2. And while they went to 4-3-3 towards the end of the season, that was a move with defensive solidity in mind - you can't play three at the back against Amherst, etc. - and not because the two up top wasn't working. In fact, Brandeis scored 50% more goals with two up top than they did one. My belief is that, when you have one guy up top, he has to be able to physically impose himself on the opposing CBs. And while Savonen was an excellent finisher that was big enough physically to hold his own, Brandeis doesn't have a guy like that this year. By playing two up front, perhaps Vieira and Jastremski, they can work off each other and have enough pace to burn the opposing center backs. Think about it: two guys with blazing speed in the center is better than one. And when you don't have the physicality to hold it on your own up there, that speed and interplay to keep the opponents on their toes is all the more important. Both of these guys were prolific goalscorers who played in the center in high school, and both of them have the speed and finishing to do so, so why wouldn't you partner them for the benefit of the team?

The counterargument: playing two in the middle and no wingers would make them lose width. In the sense of having "wide forwards" it would - but I don't think it would be a drastic reduction of width, as DePietto and Lynch are very good at providing width from the outside back spots (while being able to track back.) The Judges' players are tactically smart enough to know when to go up and when to cover - I've seen Josh Berg cover for Lanahan at CB when Lanahan goes forward on numerous occasions - so playing two up top and getting the wingbacks forward would provide better interplay.

Now obviously I'm not the one making the calls, and I would only consider myself an amateur observer of the game with a decent tactical mind. However, I think two up front is what the Judges need right now, especially considering how difficult it is to score in UAA games. That said, Brandeis has been winning games through defensive solidity and professionalism, so they may be content to keep doing what's worked this weekend against Emory and Rochester, looking to hit the two teams on the break with the lone decisive goal. And if that were the case and they keep on winning, I can't say I blame them.

Offline PaulNewman

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Re: New England Soccer Discussion
« Reply #558 on: October 28, 2015, 12:23:25 pm »
Blooter, re: Brandeis....

"They are who we thought they were!"

Jim Mora?
Dennis Green?
Bill Parcells?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z62L035dQ6Q


Offline blooter442

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Re: New England Soccer Discussion
« Reply #559 on: October 28, 2015, 12:39:27 pm »
Blooter, re: Brandeis....

"They are who we thought they were!"

Jim Mora?
Dennis Green?
Bill Parcells?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z62L035dQ6Q

Too good. "Playoffs?! ...I just hope we can win a game!" Also, how's your blood pressure (re: this afternoon's impending game)?

Offline PaulNewman

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Re: New England Soccer Discussion
« Reply #560 on: October 28, 2015, 12:44:53 pm »
Blooter, re: Brandeis....

"They are who we thought they were!"

Jim Mora?
Dennis Green?
Bill Parcells?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z62L035dQ6Q

Too good. "Playoffs?! ...I just hope we can win a game!" Also, how's your blood pressure (re: this afternoon's impending game)?

The/my mind works in mysterious ways.  That's what popped in my head as I was reading your thing and not really a clue as to why.

And I've got my Xanax at the ready.

Offline Off Pitch

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Re: New England Soccer Discussion
« Reply #561 on: October 28, 2015, 01:53:20 pm »
updated spreadsheet New England rankings thru 10/24 (using real SOS)

1   Amherst
2   Brandeis
3   Tufts
4   Middlebury
5   MIT
6   ECSU
7   MassBoston
8   Gordon
9   Conn
10   Bridgewater St.
11   Endicott
12   Williams
13   Wheaton
14   Bowdoin
15   Babson
16   Wesleyan
17   Wentworth

The real NE rankings for Oct 28 are out:

1   Amherst
2   Brandeis
3   Tufts
4   Middlebury
5   ECSU
6   MIT
7   MassBoston
8   Conn
9   Gordon
10   Bowdoin
11   Wentworth
12   Endicott

The only surprises for me are Bowdoin at 10 and the inclusion of Wentworth at 11 especially with an RvR of 0-2.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2015, 01:58:04 pm by Off Pitch »

Offline NEsoccerfan

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Re: New England Soccer Discussion
« Reply #562 on: October 28, 2015, 03:31:38 pm »
Wow, Brandeis with by far the highest SOS in the nation, with their only two losses against Wash U (#1 in the central region) and Trinity (#1 in the west region). Scoring difficulties or not, the Judges will be tried and tested come tourney time. I hope to see them face Amherst again in a rematch of last year's round of 16 battle.

Offline Mr.Right

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Re: New England Soccer Discussion
« Reply #563 on: October 28, 2015, 04:34:37 pm »
I like Brandeis I really do but I think Amherst would physically wear them down. Lat year's Brandeis team YES they deserved it, this year's team I am not so sure.

Offline NEsoccerfan

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Re: New England Soccer Discussion
« Reply #564 on: October 28, 2015, 05:00:16 pm »
I like Brandeis I really do but I think Amherst would physically wear them down. Lat year's Brandeis team YES they deserved it, this year's team I am not so sure.

I agree, especially since the game is likely to be played on grass at Amherst, which favors their style of play. I think on turf it might be a different story. I would like to see Brandeis try to add one or more NESCAC teams to their schedule besides tufts, especially a side like Amherst or Williams.

Offline blooter442

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Re: New England Soccer Discussion
« Reply #565 on: October 28, 2015, 05:06:13 pm »
I agree, especially since the game is likely to be played on grass at Amherst, which favors their style of play. I think on turf it might be a different story. I would like to see Brandeis try to add one or more NESCAC teams to their schedule besides tufts, especially a side like Amherst or Williams.

Williams or Amherst would be great, but I can't see that happening, mostly because Williams is 3+ hours and Serpone usually likes his non-conference games to be away games at teams that have winning records that aren't as strong. From speaking with Coven a couple of years ago, and asking him directly "why don't you play NESCACs more often?" Brandeis doesn't usually get to play them because - aside from Tufts - all of them are a decent drive, further than a normal weekday trip, and Brandeis' weekends are taken up mostly by UAA trips.

That said, I'm really glad Brandeis started playing Tufts. However, Brandeis usually plays Tufts on a Saturday, so maybe if they were to move Tufts to a mid-week game they could schedule another NESCAC for the weekend? I'd love to see the Judges play perhaps Wesleyan, two veteran coaches in Coven and Wheeler and two great storied programs. Can you believe they've only ever met once? (A 1-0 win for Wesleyan in 1990.) Would be a fantastic matchup.

Offline Mr.Right

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Re: New England Soccer Discussion
« Reply #566 on: October 28, 2015, 06:36:07 pm »
I agree, especially since the game is likely to be played on grass at Amherst, which favors their style of play. I think on turf it might be a different story. I would like to see Brandeis try to add one or more NESCAC teams to their schedule besides tufts, especially a side like Amherst or Williams.

Williams or Amherst would be great, but I can't see that happening, mostly because Williams is 3+ hours and Serpone usually likes his non-conference games to be away games at teams that have winning records that aren't as strong. From speaking with Coven a couple of years ago, and asking him directly "why don't you play NESCACs more often?" Brandeis doesn't usually get to play them because - aside from Tufts - all of them are a decent drive, further than a normal weekday trip, and Brandeis' weekends are taken up mostly by UAA trips.

That said, I'm really glad Brandeis started playing Tufts. However, Brandeis usually plays Tufts on a Saturday, so maybe if they were to move Tufts to a mid-week game they could schedule another NESCAC for the weekend? I'd love to see the Judges play perhaps Wesleyan, two veteran coaches in Coven and Wheeler and two great storied programs. Can you believe they've only ever met once? (A 1-0 win for Wesleyan in 1990.) Would be a fantastic matchup.



That was a fantastic 1990 Wesleyan side that I believe won the ECAC that year and that is when they faced Brandeis. Terry Jackson was the famous Mens Soccer and Lax Coach which their field is named after and coached Bill B in lax. Jackson's grandson starts on this current Wesleyan side.

Offline blooter442

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Re: New England Soccer Discussion
« Reply #567 on: October 28, 2015, 07:18:52 pm »
Well then. MIT comes back from 3-0 down to beat Stevens 4-3 in OT at home. Great resiliency by the Engineers but I'm sorry Stevens absolutely threw away that game. That is horrendous mismanagement by Stevens. I know that MIT scored to make it 3-1 right at the end of the first, which is obviously big in terms of momentum, but even then 3-1 is not nearly as much of a momentum-builder as making it 2-1 in the final minute of the half. (Remember, they still have to get two back, not just one.) Stevens giving up an own goal in the last minute of regulation and then having Bingham score on them again in the last five seconds of the first OT is terrible composure. I don't care who you are, the last 10 seconds of each half, nobody should be scoring on you, but MIT - Bingham in particular - did it twice to Stevens today. Easier said than done, but Stevens absolutely threw that game away.

Stevens is a good side, but MIT has shown it has lapses in concentration. Still think they're the best side in the NEWMAC, but other teams - WPI, etc. - must feel they have a fighting chance with the Engineers leaking goals.

Offline Mr.Right

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Re: New England Soccer Discussion
« Reply #568 on: October 28, 2015, 07:27:27 pm »
Well after my Stevens rant on another topic I saw they were beating MIT 3-1 and just assumed they would win with 20 minutes left...Their SOS goes up but RvR down...MIT might have just bought themselves hosting rights in the RD64/32 NCAA's...Even if MIT loses in NEWMAC they just got themselves a bid tonight with the SOS movement and RvR

Offline blooter442

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Re: New England Soccer Discussion
« Reply #569 on: October 28, 2015, 07:42:28 pm »
Well after my Stevens rant on another topic I saw they were beating MIT 3-1 and just assumed they would win with 20 minutes left...Their SOS goes up but RvR down...MIT might have just bought themselves hosting rights in the RD64/32 NCAA's...Even if MIT loses in NEWMAC they just got themselves a bid tonight with the SOS movement and RvR

Interesting point about round of 64/32...assuming Brandeis makes it (which even if they were to throw their last three games there's still a good chance they'd get in) you'd think they might host as well depending on how they'd end up, and it would be pretty wild if the NCAA decided to have two pods going within 8 miles of each other. Do you think they would do that? Then again, Brandeis would potentially go to MIT, but the Judges did win there last year, so they wouldn't be afraid.

Edit: I very much suppose they would, as Brandeis and Babson have both hosted separate NCAA pods twice in the last three years (and according to Google Maps Distance Calculator, Babson is 4.6 miles from Brandeis to MIT's 8.4. Guess I'll give myself a pat on the back for that estimation of 8 miles. :) )