how was akwari? [R]

Discussion in 'Youth National Teams' started by HartwickFan, Sep 1, 2002.

  1. HartwickFan

    HartwickFan Member

    Jul 31, 1999
    Climax, MI
    Club:
    VfR Wormatia 08 Worms
    Nat'l Team:
    Tuvalu
    I wasn't able to catch the metros-la match last night -- how did akwari look? I see he went the full 90, which is a good sign, and that the metros lost 3-0, which is a bad sign (although maybe akwari didn't have anything to do with the goals).

    On a related note, I miss the weekly threads on how our youth looked in their MLS games -- if anyone wants to comment on how players other than akwari looked, feel free :)
     
  2. Bird

    Bird Member

    Sep 16, 2000
    San Mateo, California
    He played a pretty solid game, initially at left back in a 4-4-2 and then at right back after Ziadie got sent off. Looked great for his first start. None of the goals were directly his fault; all came on breakdowns in central defense. If he can play consistently like he did last night, he's definitely an upgrade over Chrono.

    It's been a couple years since I've seen him play, so I was surprised to see how much he's bulked up. He still has pretty good recovery speed and showed good strength challenging for the ball on the ground and in the air.

    During the first half, he was mostly matched up against Cobi and only allowed him to get in a clean cross or get around him a couple of times. IIRC, the cross on one of the early goals came from Cobi on his side, but he was not marking him at the time. His positioning was a little suspect on several occasions and he got caught up the field once or twice, but he generally used his speed and strength to recover reasonably well.

    I was very surprised by how confident he looked carrying the ball upfield. Overall, his distribution was very good and passing was crisp; he played several good through balls to midfielders and one or two smart diagonal passes and I can't recall any bad giveaways. After the Muttros went down by two, OZ had him press forward into the atttack and he looked dangerous overlapping and combining with Brad Davis. He made several good runs into the attacking third, carried the ball well, played a few good combinations, and didn't seem to have any difficulties adjusting to the speed of the game at the MLS level.

    He's not ready to lineup for the senior Nats yet, but it was a pretty impressive first start.
     
  3. DigitalTron

    DigitalTron New Member

    Apr 4, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Convey against San Jose

    Convey played well at home as DC United beat San Jose. I'm not sure whether it was intentional or whether it was simply a function of having the ball switch fields to him several times, but Convey played much of the game by starting wide left and dribbling into central midfield. He did pretty well dirbbling and passing and scored a goal. His offensive game seems to have been improved by Rongen's playing him in the center of the pitch, as he seemed more confident in the center than he has most of this season.

    Defensively Hudson has taught him a lot and Convey has become a decent defender. He'll never be a Dmid or anything, but he's no longer an offense-only player.

    Generally very good play, and his play on the left flank was far superior to a recooperating Ben Olsen's play on the right flank. Convey dominated a playing-out-of-position Manny Lagos.

    -Tron
     
  4. eneste

    eneste Member

    Mar 24, 2000
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I agree with Bird's assessment. Akwari was quite solid. Made a few rookie mind blanks but was clearly MLS quality. He excelled in going forward with the ball and didn't fall into the common MLS defender trap of going forward until you are surrounded and lose the ball. He would actually go forward with purpose and play the ball appropriately. He also looked more calm in the tackle than I thought he would. I would give him a B overall. Good showing.
     
  5. HartwickFan

    HartwickFan Member

    Jul 31, 1999
    Climax, MI
    Club:
    VfR Wormatia 08 Worms
    Nat'l Team:
    Tuvalu
    Glad to see Akwari looked solid. Hopefully he will get better and better with experience. Now if Gooch and Yi can get some first team playing time over the next year, I'll feel a lot better about our back line for the olympics.
     
  6. TexanSoccer06

    TexanSoccer06 New Member

    Nelly's always been very composed in his tackling, distribution, and positioning. I think his main question marks were his size and pace, but he looked pretty solid for his first professional start.
     
  7. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer New Member

    Sep 3, 1999
    Great news. Throw him into the Olympic team pool as another professional defender.
     
  8. DigitalTron

    DigitalTron New Member

    Apr 4, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Very true, and his size will always be a detriment if he settles in as a central defender. But, in what I've seen with the Metros he looks faster. I wonder if that's just because the Metros lack team speed or if he really has gotten faster. Anyway, nice job coming in at the middle of the season and contributing.

    -Tron
     
  9. Bird

    Bird Member

    Sep 16, 2000
    San Mateo, California
    MLSNet has him listed as 5-11, 180 now, so he's probably still a "tweener" on paper (possibly a little too small for central defense at the international level, maybe not enough pace for the wing). If the matchup against Cobi was any measure, he may have enough recovery speed to get the job done on the wing, especially as his "quickness" and ability to anticipate improves -- it's not like Vanney and Regis are exactly speedburners or Cherundolo's going to dunk over anyone anytime soon. ;)
     
  10. TexanSoccer06

    TexanSoccer06 New Member

    Agreed, he didn't have the pace to stay with Cobi, but Jones' is still one of the quicker players in MLS. If Nelly can improve his pace, I can see him fighting for an outside back spot in 06.
     
  11. HartwickFan

    HartwickFan Member

    Jul 31, 1999
    Climax, MI
    Club:
    VfR Wormatia 08 Worms
    Nat'l Team:
    Tuvalu
    Or he just needs to develop the ball skill and vision of JOB, who is probably at least as slow as Akwari, but seems to be holding down the left back spot at Ajax.
     
  12. GersMan

    GersMan Member

    May 11, 2000
    Indianapolis
    Glad to see this thread, especially as I made a point to stay up and watch the match, and then fell asleep after the first goal. Sorry everyone. Please don't call my fanaticism into quesiton, I just stumbled for a moment in time.
     
  13. lmorin

    lmorin Member+

    Mar 29, 2000
    New Hampshire
    Club:
    --other--
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I have to disagree a bit on the Akwari assessment for the LA game. Let's put it this way--yes, he was as good as the rest of the Metrostars' defense. I felt (contrary to a view expressed above) that he was responsible for the first goal because he hung way off the attacker who centered the ball leading to the goal. Akwari stood and watched. He was schooled by Cobi once in the first half. But as was was noted by the commentators (Wynalda, especially) Cobi did very little aggressive attacking, so there wasn't really much of a test down Akwari's side. The third goal came from a Cobi cross through the Akwari left back coverage area, but I think there had been a defensive marking switch, so I don't think Akwari was at fault for the cross. If not, however, he might have to take some blame for the total absence of man-marking on Ruiz who was open in the middle. That defensive lapse seems typical of the Metros defense lately. It's rather sorry to see as the Metros have an exciting attack not getting adequate support.
     
  14. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer New Member

    Sep 3, 1999
    This kind of ball skill is learned at a younger age than 20(Akwari's age) generally IMHO.

    He could have a good MLS career but it'd surprise me if he made the national team as a regular contributor.
     
  15. 352klr

    352klr Member

    Jan 29, 2001
    The Burgh of Edin
    I tend to agree with you Wanderer. I had heard all the hype about how good he and Yi were and then when I watched them in the U-20 qualifying a year and a half ago, I didn't understand what all the fuss was about, especially given they were playing against TFC teams only. They both seemed very slow, very clumsy, not composed on the ball, and somewhat slow of mind as well. Not exactly what we're looking for at the U-23 level, let alone senior team.
     
  16. Mason16

    Mason16 Member

    Apr 11, 2001
    South Florida
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    a year and a half ago????????
     
  17. 352klr

    352klr Member

    Jan 29, 2001
    The Burgh of Edin
    Yep, a year and a half ago. It's not like he would have made some giant developmental leap at UCLA(Yi neither). It's great they finally went pro, but just because they've always been in the youth set-up doesn't mean I'm going to automatically put them in the lineup like some people around here seem to want to do. We've got lots of defenders at that level playing professionally now and selection should be based on how well you're playing, not how many US Youth teams you've played on in the past. If Akwari and Yi don't get enough PT and perform well in that PT, they have no business being on the team, whereas it seems that some people around here are just used to seeing there names on the teamsheets and figure it's some logical progression for them to move up to the next team just because theyre getting older.
     
  18. HartwickFan

    HartwickFan Member

    Jul 31, 1999
    Climax, MI
    Club:
    VfR Wormatia 08 Worms
    Nat'l Team:
    Tuvalu
    We do? I must be missing some, because last time I tried, I was having trouble counting on one hand defenders who are eligible for the olympics and playing professionally -- the only one I can think of is Kelly Gray. Who knows when Gooch will actually start playing for Metz and Yi for Antwerp. I guess Seth Trembly gets a few minutes of playing time every couple of weeks. And Simek plays for the Arse youth team (it's better than college, to be sure, but I would not want our olympic team back line to be stocked with players who haven't seen a wink of first team professional ball). Whitbread saw some minutes with the Liverpool reserves in August, but who knows whether he'll play for the U.S. and it's unlikely he'll crack the firs team before the olympics. There's some guy Burciaga, who I've never seen before, but who has had KC listed as his club for the past couple of years.

    Who am I missing? It seems to me that we have a wealth of attacking players who are eligible for the olympics and who have solid, first-team, professional experience: Donovan, Bease, Quaranta, Convey, Buddle, Casey, Beckerman, Martino, Davis, Barclay, Johnson (he hasn't played much yet, but by the olympics, hopefully he'll be more seasoned).

    On the other hand, at this point it seems to me that there is a real risk that our Olympic team will have a back line with only one or two players who have played first team professional soccer -- Akwari and Gray.
     
  19. metroflip73

    metroflip73 Member

    Mar 3, 2000
    NYC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Burciaga played in the Toulon tournament with the U20s. I actually saw him. He's 6 ft+ or so and plays either on the flank or in the middle. He didn't play much, but he got some run.
     
  20. He tore up his knee in the spring and this season is pretty much a washout for him.
     
  21. fidlerre

    fidlerre Moderator
    Staff Member

    Oct 10, 2000
    Central Ohio
    i am watcing akwari play tonight against dallas on espn2.

    seems to be pretty adept at going forward but does not look very comfortable defending one-v-one. it may be more the way the formation is playing out on the field but he has gotten beat over the top on more than one occassion but this is also b/c he seems to be playing the duel role of right back and right midfield all in one.

    he intercepted a dallas pass in the 2nd minute that he quickly got out wide to andy williams that lead to a goal for ny/nj...

    i will give to him something; the dude is fast as heck. there was a play just outside the 18 box where he was attacking, vaca for dallas intercepted the ball maybe 8 yards away from awkari and it took him no time to catch vaca going the other direction who is not a slow chicken himself.

    overall: needs development but for a 20 year old, not bad.
     
  22. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer New Member

    Sep 3, 1999
    I saw the game--he looked better than he did with the U20s. But fidlerre, Vaca's speed is in the first 10 steps, after that, he's not that fast at all.
     
  23. fidlerre

    fidlerre Moderator
    Staff Member

    Oct 10, 2000
    Central Ohio
    true, but he still caught him with no problem whatsoever which impressed me...
     
  24. Bird

    Bird Member

    Sep 16, 2000
    San Mateo, California
    Caught the last 30' or so of the game tonight. Akwari went 90' at right back this time.

    Looked o.k. and had a couple of nice takeaways while I was watching, but also made a few silly mistakes, too. Like Fidlerre said, "for a 20 year old [in his second MLS start], not too bad."

    FWIW, Ty/Jack seemed to think that OZ would have to make a difficult choice between Ziadie and Akwari for the next match.

    On the speed/quickness thing, he seems to saunter around the field a lot without a great sense of urgency, but gets to where he needs to be most of the time. He was able to anticipate well on two of Vaca's runs and match him step for step up the sideline (Vaca, as Wanderer points out, doesn't exactly have a fifth gear). However, he also went head to head with EJ (who does) on a couple of occasions: the first time, EJ split Akwari and either Jolley or Petke and left them both for dead; the second time, EJ blew by another player and Akwari played the angle from about ten yards or so away and stepped in and controlled the ball. So, the jury's probably still out.

    It'll be interesting to see how he matches up against Convey next week, if he gets the chance to play against him on Thursday or Saturday.
     
  25. DigitalTron

    DigitalTron New Member

    Apr 4, 2001
    Arlington, VA
    Zaidie should play against Convey. Zaidie has matched up with him in practice at DC United for quite a while, so he should have a very good idea of how to contain him.

    Akwari looked lost to me. While he did defend fairly well, he was out of position a lot, and didn't seem to know what to do or where to be half the time as a right back. Decent showing for having come in so late in the season and having to adjust to a new position, but nothing earthshaking.

    On the other hand, Brad Davis, who has been with the Metros all season, showed very well I thought.

    -Tron
     

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