So you know those Mondays when you’re not quite running right, even though you’re not actually hungover? At least not from Sunday. Maybe it was just a rough Saturday night, the kind you pay for on a Sunday, and you’re still haunted by it as the week begins.
Apparently, a befuddling 4-1 loss in your team’s season-opening match on Saturday can give you that kind of a Monday.
More thoughts on the Battery’s unfortunate pratfall later. First, the news…
C of C Women drop final spring home match
Christian Michner’s side had the edge on possession but surrendered a penalty kick in the 86th minute to fall 0-1 to Coastal Carolina Sunday morning.
How do I know that? Because Sunday was the Women Cougars’ first experiment using a new app called SoccerMeter. Michner tested it previously while watching a game on television and had one of his assistants record the game using the mobile app at Patriots Point. According to the resulting stats, the Cougars had a 1:48 advantage in time of possession for a 51 percent advantage and led 578-515 in first touches, 335-278 in passes, 59 percent to 53 percent in pass completion, and registered 56 pass-strings to Coastal’s 35.
Georgia Southern, on the other hand, held a 13-12 advantage in shots, and enjoyed a 1-0 advantage in goals scored. Many top soccer analysts consider that final statistic to be the most important, as computerized data analysis had determined that it has a 100 percent correlation to a team’s chance of winning any given match.
“It was a pretty decent game for a spring game, pretty even, pretty back-and-forth,” Michner said. “We created a lot more opportunities in dangerous positions… But we weren’t great. And we weren’t terrible.”
McCallie Jones, Sarah Cardamone, Hope Walker and Kate Twohig earned shout-outs for their turns on Sunday, even though several of them spent much of the game holding down new positions.. “Spring is the best time to try players in different positions, just to see what they can do… and we need to start answering those questions now, because fall is certainly not the time to be yanking players around on the field.”
The Cougars aren’t necessarily set in any of their positional groups, but the defense rotation is probably the least established, according to Michner. His staff gets its final spring look at their returning players this weekend when the team travels to North Carolina for back-to-back scrimmages against Elon and Wake Forest.
College of Charleston men finish 2nd
For the Cougars’ male counterparts, the 2013 spring season concluded with two 70-minute matches at the Manchester Cup soccer festival Saturday in Rock Hill. Then men finished in a scoreless draw with Georgia State University and then came from behind to defeat Winthrop University 2-1. The resulting four points were enough to earn the College a share of second place in a festival that also included Davidson College, the University of South Carolina, East Tennessee State, Clemson, Furman, Gardner-Webb and UNC-Wilmington.
Troy Lesesne, Charleston’s assistant coach, said the opening match easily could have gone the other way but for saves on shots by Tucker Coons and Luke Huggett. “We probably had the majority of possession, probably about a 65 percent majority of possession. We kept the shape well. And (backup goalkeeper) Alex Young did well filling-in for Kees (Heemskirk, who recently underwent knee surgery but is expected back for fall), so we’re encouraged (by his progress).
In the final game of the day, Winthrop broke the seal on the match around the 15-minute mark with a goal Lesesne thought should have been waved off. “It looked like he was maybe offsides, but our guys stopped playing, and that’s our mistake,” Lesesne said.
The Cougars pulled back the equalizer when an Eagle defender pulled down forward Adam Purvis for a penalty after and dynamic run down the flank. Troy Peterson converted it for the 1-1 tie, and later on Huggett scored to game winner on an assist from Tanner Clay.
The final result was the team’s only win of the Spring schedule, yet as strange as this sounds, the staff has to be pleased with much of what came out of their five dates and six matches. The Cougars lost to the professional Vancouver Whitecaps- 0-2 and Charleston Battery 0-3 before earning a moral victory in a scoreless draw with the Battery. They also tied Davidson 1-1 before finishing up in Rock Hill for a 1-2-3 spring record.
“The most encouraging thing was how solid we ere defensively,” Lesesne said. “We made it difficult on teams to score. We thought that we would be pretty solid .. but we were more organized than I thought we’d be.”
Locals boys in the national id2 mix
It wasn’t a big headline on a very busy spring weekend in the Lowcountry, but U.S. Club Soccer‘s id2 Program Training Camp wrapped up its four-day run Sunday with a half-day of matches. Though the organization’s headquarters are in historic Charleston, this was the first time the youth talent identification program has held a camp locally. Individual camps focus on different age groups, and this session focused on girls born in 1999 and boys born in 2000.
“The level of play was equal or better than most of the camps that we’ve had,” said Boys id2 Program Director Gerry McKeown. “I think this group showed an amazing maturity for their age as far as listening and being engaged, really being mature about their game and how they took instruction, even their ability to have a conversation with adults is unbelievable.”
Clark Brisson took a break from his duties as the head coach at South Carolina United Battery Academy to coach boys at the id2 camp in Mount Pleasant. It was his second time coaching at an id2 session. The program covers the cost of four-days of training at camps around the country for invited club players, filling the youth talent pipeline that feeds the U.S. national team player pool. “Everybody was an all-start where they came from,” Brisson said. “The quality of soccer by the last day exceeded anything around here locally (from the same age group).”
Since its inception in 2004, the 1d2 program has produced some of the finest young players in American soccer, including rising MLS talents Jack McInerney, Amobi Okugo and Kofi Sarkodie, who each attended camps in 2004 and 2005.
Three players particularly impressed Brisson: Alexis Cerritos, a forward from Calverton Cerritos SA, in Maryland; Nicolas Garcia-Morillo, a forward-midfielder from Weston FC, Florida; and Chris Durkin, a midfielder from D.C. United Academy in Virginia.
Three boys from South Carolina United Mount Pleasant participated in the camp: defender John Crawley; midfielder Liam Hudock, the son of former MLS and Battery goalkeeper Dusty Hudock; and midfielder James Cox, whose father played for C of C. Brisson said each fit in well.
Their club coach, Troy Lesesne from the College of Charleston, didn’t get to monitor their participation, but said he heard that Crawley had the best performance.”John is probably our most dynamic player for our 1999s,” Lesesne said. “I think he’s exceptional going forward.” But while he was proud of the three who participated, Lesesne seemed equally focused on one or two other top players from the team who were excluded. “It’s such an early process. Those boys that went have to remain hungry, and the ones that didn’t get selected will have to work their way into (consideration). But things will change. Players will develop differently.”
Meanwhile, Brisson’s Battery Academy player identification sessions for U14s, U16s and U18s begin this coming weekend in Columbia and the following weekend in Charleston, with the final decisions coming early in May. and the three Mount Pleasant players could well be in the mix for slots as the program expands into the U14 level.
Talking Battery Blues…
In case you missed the Battery’s loss at Richmond on the radio or on UNation, or even if you read my account of it Saturday night, it was one of those fundamentally weird sporting events that leaves people like me wandering around in the yard mumbling to themselves. How does a team start out that dominant and wind up losing that badly?
By the time Richmond’s final corner of the night pin-balled off poor Cody Ellison for an own-goal, I got the feeling that Battery Nation had just been pantsed in the cafeteria line.
Here’s how dominant the Battery looked in the first 22 minutes: At one point a Kicker pushed the ball past midfield, and with nobody joining his attack, opted to launch an attempt from deep left. The shot was wide right by at least 10 yards and looked to be twice that high above the crossbar as it sailed out of bounds. And Battery keeper Odisnel Cooper ran beneath it and as it passed distantly by, took a little leap in the air.
You know why? It was because he was bored.
In the 23rd minute, after a Battery defender gambled and missed on a tackle to create space for the Kickers’ first goal of the night, Cooper’s relaxing evening came to a jolting end. Think of it as one of those pop-up thunderstorms: You’re enjoying a balmy, carefree, summer afternoon when without warning a bolt of lightning explodes immediately overhead, and suddenly the sky darkens and an ominous wind blows in cold from the blackening west. One minute the Battery midfield seemed to win every ball and the home boys couldn’t string four passes together. Ten minutes later the visitors were down 2-0 and scrambling for answers.
Look, Cooper is a young keeper with tremendous potential, as anyone who saw his spectacular performance against the Houston Dynamo will attest. But as several Richmond fans Tweeted after the match, Saturday wasn’t his finest performance. That’s not to say the loss was his fault (it wasn’t), but tightening up the defensive communication and concentration will likely be a point of coaching emphasis this week.
But undoubtedly the best perspective on the match came from longtime loyal fan Mikey Buytas, the president of the Regiment. It’s good to get that one stinker out of the way early.
Brad Davis, I love you
Ben Smith won the weekly scoring honors in The Regiment’s MLS Fantasy Soccer Manager league for the second week in a row, solidifying his hold on the top spot with 338 combined points. His Shep Messing FC scored 71 this week to take a two-point win over my Xarktopia LLC squad, which scored 69 to pull past Mikey Buytas‘ Holy City Hooligan units into second place. Scott Johnstone took third with 64 points, and is now fifth in the season standings.
What made the difference for me this weekend? That ridiculous passing attempt by Brad Davis in the waning minutes against Chicago, which bounced past everyone into the net to give Houston the home winning streak record. And since I had Davis as my captain, that one weird bounce was worth 10 points for Xarktopia.
If you think soccer is a cruel game, try playing fantasy soccer.