UNC v. Akron [R]

Discussion in 'College & Amateur Soccer' started by Caravaggio, Aug 30, 2002.

  1. Caravaggio

    Caravaggio New Member

    Oct 20, 2000
    Perhaps not the most rousing start to the Tar Heels title defense, but they manage to overcome a gritty Akron squad 2-1 in OT. It was a soggy night at Fetzer, and it made for some pretty rugged play in both games of the Carolina Classic.

    After starting well with a goal around 13' from a perfectly played ball from Daivd Testo to a flying Ryan Kneipper, the Heels quite simple lost all the ability to do anything particularly threatening. Akron played a solid, if not spectacular game of team defense, and kept most of the Tar Heel forwards at bay. After a couple of early runs, Storey was pretty much a non-factor in this one, other than a woeful dive that the referee bought.

    The new look four back set did reasonably well, especially since the Tar Heels had very little working in the midfield. Akron defended the midfield tight and countered quickly. Their goal was off a keeper mistake, but it wasn't undeserved. Surprisingly, the shakiest part of the Heels' defense was David Stokes, particularly in the first half. I don't think I have ever seem him misplay so many balls out of the back as he had tonight. Granted, he is now a center back, and it may take a him while to adjust.

    MOTM: Mike Gell, and this was even before he ripped a 19-yd freekick into the net to end the game about 30 seconds into the OT. No one else on the field for UNC showed as much poise on the ball as he did tonight. UNC will have to improve to threaten this year, but pulling out a win in a game where a tie would have been a fair result is also a key to being a consistently good team.
  2. Caravaggio

    Caravaggio New Member

    Oct 20, 2000
    UNC v. SLU [R]

    UNC 2:1 SLU

    Definitely a more skillful game -- amazing what a semi-dry pitch will do for ball control. The Heels played considerably better in this match, though after 2 minutes St. Louis had the lead after a long freekick into the box found the UNC defense napping, and just like that from a close range SLU header, it was 1-0. SLU then went into a pretty tight defensive shell, which allowed the Tar Heels possesion but little to no chances to get shots on target. About 30 minutes went by in the first half without so much as a shot from either team. With less than a minute to go, Mike Gell found a way down the left side and into the box. His shot was stopped by the advancing SLU keeper, but the rebound came right to Ryan Kneipper, who finished to give UNC a much needed boost going into halftime.

    Carolina came out in the 2nd half and attacked from the start, and missed several oppotunities to take the lead. Meanwhile, Carolina's back four held up very well. Stokes performed much better in the center, but the big difference from Friday was solid defensive contributions from McGinty and Merritt on the sides. SLU started holding on for OT, and it looked like they were going to make it until Matt Crawford sent in a long cross from the left that caught all the SLU defense completely by surprise. Kneipper put away his second to win the game with 3 seconds left.

    Testo and Jonathan Davis both left the game with injuries, although neither looked too severe. Testo appeared to take a knock to the head, and Davis pulled up lame while tracking a ball down in the attack; most likely a pulled hamstring. Interestingly, the Heels only played 13 players today. No one else even looked like they were getting warmed up to come on. With Porter still injured (they need him back -- Ray Fumo is struggling with the D-mid spot that Porter excelled at last year), the Heels are seemingly rather thin.

    One last note -- Marcus Storey does have some amazing skills and great speed, but he is still quite raw. He gets into trouble by being a little to causual near or on the ball at times, and isn't as active off the ball as I think he could be. He still is a threat, but most of UNC's successful attacks come from Crawford, Gell, or Kneipper. There is plenty of time for him to improve this year -- but unless he develops into a more consistent player, I don't see him being able to make a jump to the pros after this year.
  3. turnaround

    turnaround New Member

    Jul 10, 2001
    Nice report dude. Couple of questions. First, any reason why Williams didn't play in goal against SLU?
    Did he get hurt while playing with the 20's?

    Also, Fumo is barely 5'5", and probably weighs 135 dripping wet. I can't see him as a ball winning D-Mid. Is anyone else getting time as UNC's dmid?

    Is Testo playing up top, or A-Mid?
  4. Caravaggio

    Caravaggio New Member

    Oct 20, 2000
    Ford Williams looked like he was warming up before the game, and for a little while I thought he might start. He looked fine (as far as one can tell from 100 yards away) -- I think UNC plans to use both Jay Batt and Williams this year. Batt didn't have a ton to do this weekend, and minus a wet ball that slipped off his fingers in his first college start Friday night, played reasonably well. It might take a while to settle on a #1 kepper though.

    Ray Fumo got subbed off in the first half of both games for freshman Dixon Soffe (I think more as a rest than a "benching"), but both were on the pitch after Davis went down hurt vs. SLU. Soffe had quiet outings in both games. Actually, Ray's defense wasn't his main problem -- it was more of occasionally losing the ball in the defensive third while trying to bring it out. Again, I suspect this spot will be Grant Porter's as soon as he is healthy.

    Testo was listed as a forward, but he was tracking back enough to be playing as a virtual a-mid. He didn't get too many great looks on goal, but his freekicks were usually dangerous and he linked up well with Kneipper. Also, I was incorrect about his injury against SLU. Apparently it was a lower back injury, not a knock to the head. He was up and slightly jogging by the game's end after spending most of the 2nd half lying on his stomach behind the bench.

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