Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
....and the random musings of an admitted soccer madman.
Nestor asked if I would contribute and provide some commentary on the Men"s Soccer Program this year. With the team departing for Bloomington for this weekend's match-ups with Notre Dame and Indiana, I am throwing my hat into the ring with my very first attempt at a FanPost. So please bear with me!
In reading the preseason polls, and the few sparse comments on this blog and the BRO forum regarding this year's team, It appears there is a high degree of expectation for this year's version of a team. Call me a bit pessimistic, but I think we should temper our enthusiasm despite all the hype of this year's signing class and recognize that this team is very very young. Consider in last Saturday's scrimmage, the starting line-up had five freshmen and a sophomore transfer who has not played with the squad prior to this particular match. There are also some behind the scenes issues, Coach Salcedo is having to deal with that could have some impact on just how well the team performs.
More after the jump.As for the starting line-up, what follows is who started where in last Saturday's friendly vs. the LA Blues. This may or may not approximate what happens this weekend but thought it useful to see what CJS and his staff are thinking. (names in parenthesis indicates the scrimmage substitutions).
Andrew T (Raynr)(Collins)
V. Chavez (Foxhoven) (R. Williams)
ATTACKING CENTER MID: Hollingshead
LEFT MIDFIELD: Arreola (Roman)
RIGHT MIDFIELD: K. Rowe (Flitcroft)
DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD: Rose
LEFT BACK: Singh (Reyes) (Yanez)
LEFT CENTERBACK: Sofia (Morales)
RiGHT CENTERBACK: Hukari
RIGHT BACK: Wiet (Zerrenner)
GOALKEEPER: B. Rowe (E. Edwards)
Based on the above, clearly the Bruin team has depth in most all positions with maybe the exception of Rose's Def Mid position. However, Hukari competed in the midfield in his club playing days so perhaps since we appear to have good numbers at the centerback position, Hukari could slot in there if needed.
A couple of guys were held out of Saturday's scrimmage due to some niggling injuries (i.e. Freshmen P. Matchett who would slot in most likely as a right back with Wiet/Zerrenner. Wiet also took a knock in Saturday's match and I'm unclear as to his status for the weekend (but I got to believe if the pre weekend match press release is correct, that he is playing vs. his old team in the Hoosiers)
Some notable absences from the above rotation that IMHO will impact the team this season are as follows:
- Juniors Chris Cummings and F. Monge who are rumored to be ineligible this season due to academics.
- Sophomore Chandler Hoffman with a broken leg that could sideline him until October. (Keep in mind, Chandler led all freshmen last season with 12 pts. and also contributed 2 GW goals and was arguably the team's rookie of the year.)
- Also appears freshmen B. McIntosh may be a candidate for a medical red-shirt year due to some issues thereby impacting the center midfield depth.
- The transfer of midfield play maker C. Vasquez to UCSB
- All ACC Freshman team/Duke transfer Kyle Bethel not ultimately rostered despite playing all last Spring with the Bruin squad
SideNote (and random musing #1) - IMHO - the signing class of 2008 is shaping up to be a bust with Lapnet, Vasquez, Schachetti gone and Monge and Cummings both ineligible if the street rumors are true. IMHO, Arreola needs to have a break-out season this year...Rose clearly was the gem of the class but he also had a quiet year last season due to him unfortunately being slowed by a foot injury most of the year. Reyes and Yanez have also been slow to break thru. Clearly, with only one senior starter (Singh), and and a very thin junior class, there is a huge burden on the freshmen class to produce right away.
Random Musing #2 - As far as this weekend is concerned, I get the feeling there may be a surprise or two as to who traveled and who did not. Having said that, what bears repeating is just how much of a transition year this is which I believe will be clearly evident this weekend. With almost half the starting line-up freshmen and but a single scrimmage with what is essentially a new team and competing against two teams that will have had a few more matches under their belt (consider Indiana has played 4 games including both Duke and the University of Denver in preseason friendlies), it will be interesting to see how well the Bruins stack up and if they are able to develop any rhythm as a team and nick a result.
In closing, I really do like this team but I am extremely disappointed in the junior class. I think the coaches have done a great job in recruiting the past couple of years not only just a great pool of talented players, but what appear on paper, good character guys as well. IMHO, I think it best we give these kids (and the coaches) some time (and it may very well be a year if one were to consider this season as an investment or rebuilding year) to develop these kids into a championship squad rather than create some unrealistic expectations out of the gate. Just saying.....