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2021 Game Notes

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SimpleCoach:
Hi.  Spent the evening scanning through some games online.  I don’t watch the full games, just a smattering here and there.  Thought I would exercise the mind and take notes on what I saw.  With some commentary. 

Not that I have any particular interest in outcomes of these games, but I have some opinions about the game that may or may not be popular and I like to put those ideas to the test.  Full disclosure, I’ve always said I watch a different game than most.  Not saying that to sound cool, just that I have had these ongoing debates with people.  So if you watched any of these games, and disagree with my snap assessments, that’s ok.  Not trying to stir the pot.

If you have a team you would want me to watch, will gladly take recommendations.

SimpleCoach:
Here are my notes from September 3rd.  Watched three games -

1. Mount Union v. Denison
2. Clarkson v. Plattsburgh
3. Hiram v. Chatham University

Mount Union v Denison 9.1.2021
Mount Union Stadium
Bias?  I graduated from Mount Union and my son’s orthodontist went to Denison …

1st Half
   
* The only control of the ball happens in the back.   Midfield serves no purpose in building out of the back.
o   Have this theory that nowadays, midfielders are skipped over on the attack and have become nothing more than withdrawn forwards.  The value that used to be placed on midfielders “creating” is all but gone.  It’s left to center backs and outside backs and wingers.
   Runs are so north south.  Little to no movement off the ball, or space creation.
o   Very few players know that making runs to open space is an objective in of itself. 
   For Denison, at 34.40, all attacks start with a long ball to a winger who has to chase it down before it goes out of bounds.
o   Ugh. 
   Poor first touch, or way too many touches to achieve the same objective.
o   Never, ever understand why this is allowed to happen.  Why take ten touches when two would have accomplished the same goal?
   Some decent one touch combination play from MU on the attack.  35/40 yards from goal.
o   There were some good combinations high up the field for Mount Union.  Think defensively Denison was pretty disorganized allowing for it to happen.
   I don’t think there is a comfort with the ball under pressure.
o   No matter how many rondo’s…
   Decisions are too slow to be executed.
o   Taking a man on.
o   Dribble or pass.
   Goal off a bit of a popcorn play (#12). 1-0
o   Great hit to beat the keeper upper corner.
   No real patience on the ball.  Except again when in the back line.
o   Go back to decisions being too slow and no real comfort with the ball while under pressure.
   Mount Union does manage the ball better than Denison.
   Mount more effective getting the ball forward.
o   Quick on the break.
   Denison attacks like a club team.  Kick and hope.
o   Ugh.
   Pressure not so organized.  One pressures, but others watch.
o   Granted, game one.  But looks like both teams lacked a coordinated defensive posture.
o   More like “I will press because the ball is close to me…”
   Stopped watching because of very poor video quality.
o   Sun and shadows we making a mess of it.
   Didn’t watch most of the second half.
   Final 3-2 Mount Union.
* Clarkson v Plattsburgh 9.1.2021
Clarkson University
Bias? I coached one of the Clarkson freshmen.

1st Half
   
* First touches disappoint.
o   Again, common theme.  Not sure if it is the turf, but good first touches are the exception not the rule.
   Struggle to get out of pressure.
o   Could be early nerves since this seemed to get better.
   Plattsburg better on the ball; Clarkson rushing.
o   Once the field opened up, Plattsburg had a very effective midfield.  Clarkson was much more direct.
   Plattsburg plays the ball on the ground and actually tries to break through lines.  Helps that their center back (Captain) and center mid (#11) have the skill to receive and move the ball.
o   Lacked consistency especially as Clarkson pressed, but best use of a midfield I have seen in awhile.
   1-0 Plattsburgh ten minutes in.  Well deserved.
   Clarksburg needs to learn that they need to start giving the ball they would want to receive.
o   Lots of poor balls, or difficult balls for players to deal with.
   Plattsburgh does suffer sometimes under Clarkson pressure … especially when the pressing is well coordinated.
o   Think this let to one of their goals, and a few other opportunities.
   Didn’t see the tying goal.
   Wonderful Plattsburgh goal, control with thigh and volleys far post.  2-1.
   Plattsburgh, at least positionally, understands the game much better.  Uses space effectively.
   Clarkson too flat and static in the middle.  In contrast to Plattsurgh whose midfield is in constant motion looking for space.
   I hate, hate, hate the ball from an outside back to the winger that is running toward the sideline to open up space and has a man on his back.  Invariably leads nowhere.  I consider this the worst pass in the entire game.
   Half
   Plattsburgh moves with a purpose.  Very impressed.
*
Hiram College v Chatham University 9.1.2021
Hiram College
Bias?  I played against Hiram and my son just got an email from Chatham Soccer.

   
* 1-0 Chatham when I joined.
   Chatham has an idea with the ball, although still mostly reacting to the ball as it is received rather than making the runs to open up the plays.
o   Too many guys watching when someone has the ball.
   Hiram struggles to control the ball, looking to force it.
o   Not comfortable with the ball.
o   Lots of standing when they do win the ball.
   Hiram insists on trying to shoot from 35/40 yards.  Kind of goal if they scored once a season, would justify in always trying from that range.
   Both teams can’t keep the ball on the ground.  Chatham less so.
o   Sure like to seemingly play Keepy Uppy….
   Chatham has some skillful players up top….
o   Center forward and a winger.  Big, quick and strong.
   Halftime 1-0
Ok.  Had enough.  Some more thoughts below…..
*
If I had to rank the teams based on my definitions of good soccer –

1.   Plattsburgh
3.   Clarksburg
5   Mount Union
7   Chatham
8   Denison
11   Hiram

What drove me crazy across all games?

1.   Do players not learn how to trap a ball?
2.   Quantity of errant passes.
3.   Midfielders basically non-existent other than to try to be a second line of attackers.
4.   Throw Ins that become 50/50 balls.
5.   The pass from the outside back to the winger who is running toward the sideline, away from goal, with a man on his back.
6.   Give the ball you would want to receive.  Is that so hard to teach?

SimpleCoach:
September 4th Games -

1. Ursinus College v. Stockton University
2. Goucher College v. Cairn University
3. Haverford v. Cabrini

Ursinus College v Stockton University
Stockton University – Stockton Turf Field
Bias?  Stockton is near the Jersey Shore and I have been to Ursinus.

   Watched a bit today, so starting to nit pick.  Funny how you watch enough games (7 as of this one) you see the same patterns emerge.
   Tactics – Swing it out back.  Getting to the high and wide outside back, who launches it or try’s to get the ball up top. 
   For its part, Stockton holds the ball better, but think it is in part because they are not as high tempo as Ursinus.
   Receive the ball, turn into pressure…. Receive the ball, turn into pressure… receive the ball, turn into ….
   No idea about positional intelligence.  There are 50-yard gaps between players.
   Ok, watched too much today.  0-0 when I checked out.Nah.

St. Mary’s College (MD) v Stevenson University
Stevenson University – Mustang Stadium
Bias? I stayed at a Courtyard in Owings Mill, MD, where Stevenson is located.

   St. Mary’s has a couple big strong kids up top.  Already created some dangerous opportunity’s
   Actual play by a midfielder in their half – touch to receive, 4 touches to turn, two touches moving forward, pass between two defenders…. To another defender.
   Players struggle with the idea of positioning themselves to receive a ball in a way that reduces the work they have to do to keep possession, makes it easier for the passer to actually get it to them, and finally, give them the time to know what they will want to do with the ball before they receive it.
   St. Mary’s is better.
   Sloppy, lazy passing into the middle by the outside guys for Stevenson.
   Really.  Man on near post, on a corner, misses heading the ball, and actually hits the keeper and causes a ruckus in the six until it was cleared out.
   Poor passing.  Overall.  Again even passes that connect are poorly timed, poorly chosen, poorly executed.
   If I were playing one of these team, I would line up so that the force of our defense would be on the wings.  Double team the outside backs with the midfielder and a winger.  The outside back would then man mark their outside mid.  Force them to play in the midfield.  I wouldn’t defend any differently for that.  I would be betting that the opposition could not pass the ball, nor know how to attack down the middle.
   St. Mary’s best forward is lazy off the ball.  Just hangs out until he gets the ball.
   When they should play two touch, they play one touch.  When they should play two touch, they play one touch… and when they don’t do either, they play like 10 touch, with a couple of attempts at dribbling.
   Ok.  Am done.  Watched for 37 minutes. 


Goucher v Cairn University
Cairn University
Bias? Am a fan of old Gaucho Marx films

   The camera is field level making it difficult to follow.
   Not even sure who is who.
   I did see a sequence where they played Keepy Uppy with their heads, getting a high score of seven.
   Somebody scored, but can’t tell who.  Poor defense then led to a rebound that left the goal scorer wide open.
   Oh, just learned that was Cairn.  And in fairness, it looked like they deserved the goal.
   Goucher just opened the famous treatise on Chaos in the Cosmos and uses it as a game plan.
   Am done.  Sorry.  This will be a lot to a little for Cairn.

Haverford v Cabrini
Cabrini University – Edith Robb Dixon Field
Bias? – My nephew played baseball at Haverford

   Welcome to the Jungle blaring over the loudspeakers…. Let’s get ready to rock!
   There is something, not sure what, that I don’t like about moving the ball in the back side to side, when pressure is 20 yards away, and your center back is standing on the 18.   
   So anxious to get forward, Cabrini does a poor job of holding the ball.
   Haverford, certainly tries to work the ball in the offensive half, but seem to prefer to launch the ball forward first, then have the midfield step forward and win it back.
   Haverford moves well off the ball.  Cabrini can’t even connect a pass.
   Cabrini only pressing with one forward, the rest of the team doesn’t even cross midfield.  Probably cause Haverford has the better of the play and spending a lot of time in Cabrini’s half.
   Outside backs for Haverford just love to dump the ball up top.  Not even close to connecting with their forwards
   They score when they work the ball outside and drive it across. 1-0 Haverford 15th minute.
   Cabrini doesn’t have anything to respond with.  Lax defending, and careless when they do win it in possession.
   This game could be 4-0 by now.
   Ok, kind of a details guy.  If I were ever coach college again, I would make it a rule that if you are working the ball forward and you are passing the ball to someone making a run, if you pass it so they have to stop their run and take steps back to get the ball …. Say you pass it behind 5 times, you get to watch the rest of the game from the bleachers.
   Haverford from a throw in – to the center back, two touches, launches it that leads to a 50/50 and Cabrini get on the attack.
o   My theory on throw ins.  Except for the ridiculously long throws not everyone can do, you will never score off of one, so throw it to your safest option.
   Cabrini from a throw – to wing, another throw in.  Over forward, Haverford recover, then lose the ball and concede a corner.
   Say it with me, outside backs make terrible midfielders
   Brains and legs must be going because Haverford started playing popcorn ball, and Cabrini now looks more competitive.
   Haverford went de Mas a Menos, and Cabrini went from Menos a Mas.  The ebb and flow dictated strictly on the inability of Haverford to maintain good control of the ball.
   Am done.  Half.  Haverford up 1-0.


If I had to rank the teams based on my definitions of good soccer –

1.   Haverford
2.   Stockton
4   Cairn
5   St. Mary’s
6   Stevenson
7   Ursinus
8   Cabrini
9   Goucher

What drove me crazy across all games?

1.   Common theme of bad passing, excluding Haveford which I thought moved the ball quite well.
2.   Positional indiscipline.
3.   Throw ins.  Unless by your opponents 18 and in, throw ins should be a guarantee 100% ball for possession.
4.   Panic, not urgency driving decisions with the ball.
5.   Sunsets in the video cam.
6.     Passes behind the runner.

Dark Knight:

--- Quote from: SimpleCoach on September 03, 2021, 06:33:10 am ---Hi.  Spent the evening scanning through some games online.  I don’t watch the full games, just a smattering here and there.  Thought I would exercise the mind and take notes on what I saw.  With some commentary. 

Not that I have any particular interest in outcomes of these games, but I have some opinions about the game that may or may not be popular and I like to put those ideas to the test.  Full disclosure, I’ve always said I watch a different game than most.  Not saying that to sound cool, just that I have had these ongoing debates with people.  So if you watched any of these games, and disagree with my snap assessments, that’s ok.  Not trying to stir the pot.

If you have a team you would want me to watch, will gladly take recommendations.

--- End quote ---

Interesting! Opinionated!

I'd love to hear your take on Calvin-Ohio Wesleyan, Saturday at 6pm Eastern time, https://calvinknights.com/composite?d=2021-09-04

SimpleCoach:
Thanks @DarkKnight.  Never short of opinions ....

Planned on catching these games on Saturday -

1.  Catholic v Maryville (Tenn.)
2.  And now, Calvin-Ohio Wesleyan

Checking out some today as well ....

1. Clark Summit v PSU - Harrisburg
2.  Whatever floats my fancy.

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