Two games into our 2-week, 5-game stretch for the second half of September, LouCity is moving at a decent clip with 4 points out of two games. We now sit 6 points over 2nd place Charlotte with a game in hand. We’re also firmly in the discussion of teams vying for the regular season championship. We are only 2 points back from Real Monarchs. The projections that I’m seeing from people in the know show an uphill battle for LouCity. We need RLM to drop some points, and we need wins, especially against Ottowa, Richmond, and Toronto, our easiest remaining opponents.
Our game Wednesday against ROC was better than our game against BST on Friday. On Friday, we were on our back foot the whole game, constantly having to play from behind. From the way we played, I was happy to walk out of Slugger with a point. We played largely the same way, especially in the 2nd half, of the game on Wednesday. Rochester was the best defensive team we’ve faced all year, and it showed. Rochester’s tall defenders easily dealt with LouCity crosses the entire night.
Our defenders seemed to have troubles. Totsch and Morad looked exposed, leaving Reynolds to have to cover more space in the middle the entire game. I feel like this frustrated Reynolds by the end of the first half. A clearance from Reynolds was ball-watched by Totsch. Graf was able to beat Reynolds off the ball during the ensuing counter to score ROC’s only goal. I worry with Morad on field. Craig seems more confident on the ball than Morad is.
With 3 games next week, Morad is going to see a lot of field time as players are rotated out to manage stamina. Ilic made the starting XI, but was pulled after only 13 minutes due to an apparent groin injury. Hopefully it isn’t serious. Doing thee games in one week with only two strikers is a tall order. This is probably why Lancaster, Ilic’s replacement, only played 56 minutes before subbing back out to allow Spencer to come on and finish the game.
Conditioning is going to play a huge factor. I don’t expect any of our front 3 to play more than 60 minutes a night for the rest of September. Spencer, Lancaster, Ownby, Davis, Ballard, and Kaye will have to split a combined 810 minutes for the next 3 games. Coach will basically ask each player to play 135 minutes next week, which is about 45 minutes per game. Ilic and McCabe could go a long way to sharing this load, injury statutes pending.
Ownby “Ownby-ed” if that makes sense. The man works his ass of whenever he is on the pitch. I normally give Abend a hard time, but he played well. He assisted Totsch on defense. He also won the foul for the free kick, during which, he screened Jimenez’s ball, which then led to the handball that led to the stoppage time PK.
I don’t dislike DelPiccolo, but I think Williams is better. However, leaving him on the bench saves him for later games, which I totally get. I feel like we, as a team, are better with Williams on the field, but deciding who to sit, Abend or DelPiccolo is tough.
On to the rankings, but first a note. I’m going to change up my system a bit. Instead of the system I’ve been using so far, I’ve decided to just do a standard Olympic rating. Higher numbers are better, and this allows me to rate players individually without having tiers that possibly become stacked with players who are all performing well. I’m also going to sort players by their usual spots in our 3-4-3 formation.
- Spencer – 9.6
- Ownby – 9.5
- Davis – 8.6
- Kaye – 8.6
- Lancaster – 7.9
- Ilic – 7.0
- Ballard – 7.0
- McCabe – DNP
- Williams – 9.7
- Jimenez – 9.6
- Abend – 8.3
- Smith – 8.0
- DelPiccolo – 7.3
- Reynolds – 8.7
- Craig – 8.3
- Totsch – 7.4
- Morad – 6.5
- Ranjitsingh – 8.0
- Dobrowolski – DNP
- Bledsoe – DNP
It’s logical to assume that the top number of players in each category form my ideal starting XI. For instance, for our game on Sunday, my XI would be: Spencer, Ownby, Davis, Williams, Jimenez, Abend, Smith, Reynolds, Craig, Totsch, and Ranjitsignh.
Starting next article, after each player, there will be a “v” or a “^” indicating movement from the previous article. Again, the rankings are basically an indication of how much I like the performance of each player and how I feel when I see them in the starting XI. Stats are considered, but don’t really hold much statistical weight in the actual number.
I hope this makes the articles a bit more easy to read. Please feel free to hit me up on Twitter with your comments and feedback.