Ok this is a huge mess. I have 14 Strikers right now. 5 of them are youth pulls from this year, three from last year. I've never run more than one!
Before I do anything else, I release Samir Pace and Pierre Reynoso. One of the youth guys from last year, Ben Goodwin, he's gone.
1. Ronnie Navarro - 18 y/o - 10 goals/5 assists in 25 league matches. Has performed.
[b]2. Leon Roth - 18 y/o[/b} - 2 goals/3 assists in 12 league matches. Add in cup matches though and he has 9 goals in 20. 6.86 rating in league despite the lack of scoring.
3. Patrick Ratzburg - 14 y/o - 5 league matches last year, 2 goals.
4. Colin Cole - 14 y/o - As I mentioned with the youth intake, I really like this guy's ratings. I could easily see him earning lots of playing time.
5. Carlos Alberto Arredondo - 29 y/o I may have made a mistake signing Arredondo during the offseason. I'm going to list him here but if Cole is decent, he's gonna get left out.
I sign two other youth players, Fernando Alvarez and Dan Saunders. Both have 7 finishing and fairly ok ratings. They'll be given a chance to play for the U18's while the rest of these guys fight it out.
The problem I have here is that my AML/AMR players are the best players on the team, both in actual ratings performance and attributes. So switching to a formation that uses them less seems unwise. Playing a 4-2-2-2 or a "4-4-2 attacking" formation with two MC's and two wingers and two forwards seems super dangerous. So its very possible that whoever impresses quickly out of these guys wins tons of playing time and others get left out just as quickly.
Heh. Those two formations were my exact thoughts on what to recommend you. I have occasionally used the 4-4-2 attacking, as you describe it, and with success--so long as I was favored and my defensive four were regarded more highly than the opponent's attack.
-- DC Ashely Varela is dropped to the reserves and immediately asks to talk to me about it. I tell him he has to earn his way back up with good play in the reserves, and he says he relishes a challenge. I was going to cut him immediately if he complained.
DC/DL Dan Hernandez - 18 y/o Joins the team. I think I made this offer before I actually did the roster review thing, where I said I saw lots of guys who look pretty good but I wasn't sure. But anyway, Hernandez does look the best of the bunch and will get an immediate chance to make an impression. 6 heading/4 marking/10 tackling. Composure 8/Concentrate 5/Decisions 5/Determined 12/Positioning 6. Jumping 13/Str 11. A Pace of 7 which is actually half decent for a DC too, where folks tend to be slower. He looks like he should be as good as anyone on the roster. He's also 6'2" to go with that pretty good jumping rating.
We lose 3:0 to CASL Chelsea, I used my new 4-4-2 formation, nothing really noteworthy in this one, they are way better than us.
We play our reserve team. Its ugly. The first team loses 2-0 to the Reserves. We gave them the ball in our own end three times on throwins, so I may need to look at that.
ST Navarro is out 3 weeks with an injured elbow.
-- I only have one player, Joe Jackson, who has any sort of ability at long throws. Campbell was taking the throws in our last match and was awful. I change our throwin strategy to just take short throws to play it safe.
Atlantic Coast Amateur League Promotion Odds
-- The Lexington Thoroughbreads are pretty big favorites to promote at 4:5. Kendall SC are even, Saturn FC and Jacksonville Cyclones are 5:2. We are 6:1 to promote, which is better than I would have expected, and is actually 6th in the league. No other team is better than 10:1 and some of the weaker teams are as bad as 40-1, 50-1, and 100-1...
We host the Wilmington Hammerheads and expect to get destroyed. We fall behind 3-0 early, including an unfortunate own goal from Shakespeare. We get a very nice goal from Davidson in the second half. Wilkins to Rose to Crook set up a good goal for us late. In the 89th minute we got a great free kick from Glaser, and in the 95th minute we get a long ball out of the defense Wilkins heads it on and Crook picks it up around the 18 yard mark, he takes a shot and beats the keeper!
Well that was exciting. We beat Wilmington, a team in the NASL, the second best league in the USA, 4-3.
That takes us into February. We've got two more friendlies before the Old North Cup.
The board is very pleased with my leadership. Our 4-3 win over Wilmington is a positive. The departure of Samir Pace is a negative. We lost $21,450 last month.
We travel to play CASL Elite. We go ahead 1-0 as Jackson sends a ball into the area from 35 yards out, Roth controls it very nicely and puts it in. They tie it up early in the second half on a low shot that Gyan can't get down for. This ends up 1-1.
Old North Cup Qualifying Round Draw
We're going to be going on the road to play the Charlotte Soccer Academy, a team in the next tier up above us, The Atlantic Coast Division 2.
DC Galvis has been our captain the last two years, but he's steadily fallen down the depth chart. I move Ian Cooper up to captain and make MC Jose Alejandro Tapia my vice captain. I talk to Galvis before hand and he makes his case to stay captain but isn't overly upset in the end.
We host another NASL team that should completely shit on us, unless they are bored and don't care and let us score 3 goals in 10 minutes like Wilmington did.
We give up a goal at the end of the first half, a through ball to a much faster player than we're capable of handling. Roth plays a little cross into the area for Rose in the 66th minute and Rose's defender makes a mistake and positions poorly and Rose finishes well. We end up allowing 18 shots and only taking two ourselves, but the end result is a 1:1 draw.
-- We sell 80 season tickets, the same as each of the last two years.
Time for the Old North Cup, the first match that matters, at least a little.
February 17th, 2016
Old North Cup - Qualifying Round
Charlotte SA vs Wake Forest
We'll play in a defensive mindset and will look to retain possession and pass short on the road against a superior team. We get our first look at youngster Colin Cole today.
1': They get a corner, Tapia with a nice header to clear.
9': They get another corner, this one taken near post and headed into the side.
11': Tapia shoots on a rather long free kick, it goes high.
15': Pickering yellow card.
16': They shoot on a 30 yard free kick, grazes the top of the bar and goes over.
16': We win possession after a goal kick, Tapia passes ahead to Roth, he chips it by the keeper... but offsides. That was close.
28': Davidson with a corner, far post to Forrest, he heads it just wide.
33': They get a goal but clearly offsides.
36': Forrest makes two nice defensive plays in a row in highlights, one a tackle to break up an attacking move, another an interception.
40': Tons and tons of pressure from Charlotte but everything is way off target.
44': A give and go between their two forwards leads to an on target shot but Gyan makes a nice stop.
47': Gyan takes a goal kick very long, their defender misplays it and lets it bounce behind him, Cole is there and controls it, the defense isn't far behind though, Cole into the area... he's tackled, PENALTY. Shakespeare takes it and scores! 1-0
HALF: We lead on a totally fluke circumstance. They are outshooting us 13-4, but have 11 off target. They have 54% of the possession. Our passing is just bad, 55% passes completed. I don't know if that's due to the better players Charlotte has or an issue with formation and what we're trying to do.
I bring Ratzburg in for Cole, Cole picked up a minor injury in the first half.
48': They score on a free kick from 25 yards. Gyan should have stopped it. Pretty ugly. 1-1
57': Shakespeare with a lob into the area after a throwin for us, Davidson gets his head to it in a dangerous spot.. but wide.
59': Gyan with a pretty solid save on a 20 yard shot from them.
61': They earn a corner on a shot from the left side. Corner is headed wide.
71': They score... looked like a great cross from deep, but there's an offsides called. I thought that was it.
75': Hernandez in for Pickering, Wilkins in for Tapia.
90': We get a free kick from the left side just out of the penalty area, Davidson plays it through the penalty area, The keeper makes a brief mis-step and Shakespeare is there to volley it in!!! 2-1
92': Poor throwin by Jackson leads to a counter from Charlotte, they get a nice through ball to a forward, but he holds the ball up in the area instead of shooting, he passes to a man with a straighter shot, but Gyan makes a great save! They get a corner, but nothing.
Charlotte SA 1 : 2 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Mark Shakespeare (8.8)
Goals: Shakespeare 2
Assists: Davidson (6.8), Cole (6.7)
Notable: Forrest (7.0)
Steve Forrest looked great in defense at least in the highlights. The rest of the defense was bad. Jackson 6.2, Pickering 6.3, Campbell 6.2. Cooper really struggled with a 6.3 rating today. His passing was awful.
They out-shot us 23-7, but only managed to put 5 on target. Gyan came up big when he needed to, and there was enough pressure from the defense to make some of those shots difficult. We only had two shots on target, both goals.
-- No long term injury for Cole today.
Old North Cup - Quarterfinal Draw
There is one team out of the 7 in a division below us. We get lucky and draw them, we'll be on the road again, but playing against the Twin City Patrol in the next round. This is the weird tournament with the qualifying round in February but the quarterfinals aren't until June.
I was away from FOFC a few days, but I wanted to congratulate you on the promotion. Kick some Florida and Puerto Rico butt this year!
Yeah maybe I'll use it at home and play a little safer on the road or something like that, I am not quite sure yet. I don't trust the oddsmaking at this level at all, it seems completely meaningless.
-- So we have a month off after that Old North Cup match, so we need to keep working on our fitness for the season here. I schedule 3 friendlies.
MC Gary Glaser is hurt in training, will miss about 2 months.
A few days later, Navarro plays for our Reserves to work on fitness after his last injury... gets hurt and is out another week.
We host the Carolina Railhawks, another match where we should get destroyed, unless they don't care. Scoreless first half. They score in the first minute of the second half, intercepting a backpass from Shakespeare and taking it all the way. Ratzburg gets a clear cut chance in the second half but misses it. We lose 1-0. No one gets hurt though!
-- Hernandez trains well, Cooper poorly.
-- The board is very pleased with me. Our win over Wilmington is still good, our loss of Samir Pace is bad. He's still unsigned anywhere, I note. We lost $32,170 last month.
We prepare to get wrecked by DC United, at this point not a lot of teams willing to play us that we haven't already played. We give up 2 first half goals and they go easy on us after that. Final score 0-2.
Atlantic Coast Cup Qualifying Round Draw
I'm not certain who gets to play in this exactly. A USL team won it last year so I guess NASL/MLS don't get in on this. 56 teams in the draw for this round. We get Mayaguez FC, one of the Puerto Rican teams in our league. We'll be going on the road for this. The match is on March 15th.
-- We have to announce our squad for league play. I announce 39 players out of the 44 allowed, for the first time I actually pull a couple people off the squad who I don't imagine will ever play. But I do leave room for some of these U18's in case we have injury problems, or for a new signing or two down the road.
We host the Raleigh Pioneers in our last friendly. Rose gets a 6 minute goal for us, but they answer a few minutes later. They score again in the 28th minute. They get a 3rd goal 55 minutes in. They get a 4th on a corner, we get one back as Roth has a clear cut chance saved by the keeper but Cooper puts the followup in. It ends up a 4-2 loss.
ST Roth will miss 2-3 weeks with a minor injury he picked up in the last friendly. Ratzburg picked up an injury in the game too but nothing long term, so we feel a bit lucky to have not lost two strikers today.
With that we're 1 week away from the Atlantic Cup starting, and just a couple days after that league play.
Those teams are drawn from the Atlantic Coast regional divisions in Levels 5, 6, 7.
Atlantic Coast Premiere League (20 teams)
Atlantic Coast 2 (20 teams)
Atlantic Coast Amateur (20 teams)
There are Cups from the other regions (Gold Coast, All-American, Colonial) carrying the same format.
I really like the state cups, at least, I like the North Carolina one, there are just enough teams in the state to make that interesting. I had no idea bout the existence of any sort of regional cups though.
I think it works well given the structure of the leagues, at least at the amateur level where far fewer games are played overall. There is definitely room for the extra cup play and these low levels would feel a bit empty without it.
I agree with Radii. I was surprised that the Aloha Cup was just the two Hawaii teams, but I like it as well. It really does add a nice dimension.
March 15th, 2016
Atlantic Coast Cup - Qualifying Round
Mayaguez FC vs Wake Forest Cougars
-- Our first of many trips to Puero Rico
So we play our first league match in 3 days, so I sit a few guys here, Wilkins/Fisher/Cole all being young guys out there.
Mayaguez is one of those teams with awful white on yellow lettering so I may not get any names for anything t hey do.
13': Look at the kids getting us the first goal of the cup! Fisher with a run into the right corner, a cross to the near post, Cole is there and heads it in!! 1-0
18': Rose with a corner, they look to clear it, but the clearnce hits another defender and boucnes backwards into the net, own goal. 2-0
28': Rose crosses to Navarro, a volley... saved, good save. Next corner is cleared.
29': Wilkins with a nice long ball ahead to Navarro, our first clear cut chance of the night, but saved. Corner is cleared.
32': Well play defensive with the lead.
HALF: Well that was a solid half. We don't allow a shot, taking 4 ourselves, 3 on target.
48': Burke with a nice clearance long ahead to Fisher, he plays it ahead to cole... he scores... but offsides. It was fairly close, there was a defender lagging behind the rest of their line.
54': Their first shot of the match is a dangerous strike from 20 yards, Gyan has to save it and turn it behind. They take the corner to the far post, Gyan positions poorly for it... and its headed in. 2-1
69': Fisher ahead to Cole again, a clear cut chance, onsides this time, but wide.
79': Cooper in for Fisher.
87': Navarro with a poor pass.. turnover in their end after a throwin, they earn a corner on a cross, but the corner is taken poorly.
94': Free kick from the left side just outside the area, Rose lobs it in, Wilkins heads it across the 6 yard box, Navarro is there and puts it in! 3-1
Mayaguez FC 1 : 3 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Adam Fisher (7.8)
Goals: Cole (7.4), Navarro (7.3)
Assists: Fisher, Rose (7.4)
Notables: Jackson (7.1), Burke (7.0), Wilkins (7.6)
Solid win, Wilkins, Cole and Fisher all impress.
We receive $969 for winning this match.
-- I had forgotten to drop my training levels down, I change it from high intensity fitness to average intensity Team Cohesion.
DMC Brian Williams is hurt in a reserve match and will miss 2-3 months.
Atlantic Coast Cup - First Round Draw
32 teams remain in the draw. We get a home game against Puerto Rican side Atletico de San Juan FC. They're in the Atlantic Coast Premier League, one level above us. That match will be in a month, April 19th.
March 18th, 2016
Atleticos Rio Piedras vs Wake Forest Cougars
-- League Season Opener!
A few guys get their second start in a row, but there's a lot of turnover here.
8': Ratzburg with a cross that earns us a corner, taken near post, Hernandez with a strong header, but saved.
10': We allow a corner, but clear it.
21': Cooper with a corner, Hernandez is there and its a clear cut chance, but he kicks it right into the keeper.
45': Very nice passing from Jackson to Ratzburg, headed down to Cooper, ahead to Navarro for a solid goal... but Navarro was offsides. I didn't think that was offsides until it was called.
HALF: We shoot 5 times to their zero, they have a slight possession edge but can't seem to do anything with it.
49': Ratzburg blocks a clearance attempt to give us the ball in a scary spot, but we end up pulling it out, Cooper ends up with a poor shot.
63': Campbell ahead to Davidson, Davidson with a run down the left, a cross into the area, Ratzburg with the finish!
67': Shakespeare with an interception in midfield, quickly ahead to Ratzburg, he holds up play, Cooper makes a run, Ratzburg finds him and Cooper finishes! 2-0
72': Cooper with a cross, headed to the other side, Davidson sends it back in... too far, but Cooper is there and gets it back to Ratzburg, a strong shot from close range, the keeper stops it, but can't hold, it hits a defender and goes in though. Own goal. 3-0
72': Perkins in for Tapia
80': Goodwin in for Navarro, Colangelo in for Davidson.
83': They take their first shot, but Davidson is there and blocks it.
Atleticos Rio Piedras 0 : 3 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Patrick Ratzburg (8.3)
Goals: Ratzburg, Cooper (7.8)
Assists: Ratzburg 2, Davidson (7.0)
Notables: Jackson (7.8), Forrest (7.6), Hernandez (7.6), Campbell (7.1), Shakespeare (7.0)
Look at those defensive ratings!
March 23rd, 2016
Wake Forest Cougars (1-0-0, 2nd) vs Peoria Steamers (0-0-1, 14th)
-- Home opener!
I leave the back line the same as last match since they all did so well, Wilkins gives Tapia a rest at MC, and changes at AM/up front.
3': We control midfield possession for a bit, passing up ahead, Navarro up to Cole, Cole 30 yards out, turns and finds Fisher making a run from the right, Cole shoots, clear cut chance from 18 yards out... he scores! 1-0
18': Navarro receives a pass from Wilkins, makes a little run... and takes a horrid shot from 25 yards out instead of looking for a pass to Cole or a pass out wide to Rose.
30': Rose with a cross into the 6 yard box, Cole heads it, goal!! 2-0
31': They get a lob ahead from a midfielder to a forward behind our defense, he probably takes it a little too close to Gyuan before trying his shot, still, clear cut chance and Gyan makes a solid stop. Shakespeare clears the corner.
41': DC Dan Hernandez is hurt and must leave the match. Galvis is in.
47': Poor defense by Jackson sees them get another through ball into the area and another clear cut chance, this one is just struck well wide though.
HALF: Only 5 shots combined between the team, 3 of them clear cut chances, but luckily for us they ahve failed on both of theirs.
We switch from a standard mindset to a defensive one for the second half. Retain possession.
52': Galvis takes a corner, far post, Forrest is there but heads it over.
56': They have a corner, taken out to the penalty spot, headed forward from there, and one of their strikers Sheehan heads it in. 2-1
65': one of their mids wins a ball from Fisher 1v1 with a nice tackle, he gets it forward quickly, Galvis makes a poor play on the ball and allows a pass to the penalty spot for their scorer Sheehan, where he does it again. 2-2
65': Back to standard play.
79': Shakespeare with a good ball ahead to cole, Cole gets by his man and has a clear cut chance, but its saved. Galvis takes the corner, near post, the defense struggles to clear it, Shakespeare gets in the mix and ends up poking it in! 3-2
83': Tapia in for Shakespeare, Ratzburg in for Cole.
91': Navarro with a good ball out wide for Fisher, Fisher crosses... Ratzburg with a strong shot, but it hits the post.
That'll do it!
Wake Forest 3 : 2 Peoria
Their 2 goal scorer Sheehan is man of the match.
Goals: Shakespeare (7.5), Fisher (7.2), Cole (7.8)
Assists: Cole, Rose (6.8), Galvis (6.8)
No one is awful or anything in defense. We actually out-shot them 11-4 by the end of that, they just got two pretty solid goals in a short span that evened it out. We did a very nice job staying composed and getting the lead back.
No long term injury for Hernandez in defense.
I'm obviously very happy with what I've seen from Fisher and Cole early on, Wilkins too at MC has been capable, which has been nice with Glaser injured.
-- Pickering and Forrest both train well. Campbell trains poorly.
-- The board is pleased with my leadership. Our 3-0 win over Atleticos Rio Piedras is the highlight. The loss of Samir Pace is a negative. We lost $27,810 last month.
April 1st, 2016
Valdosta Victory (2-0-0, 3rd) vs Wake Forest Cougars (2-0-0, 2nd)
Four teams are 2-0-0 early on.
We just play once a week for a couple weeks. I make changes to both fullbacks and both wingers. Counterattacking on the road today.
9': Davidson with a free kick from the left side, keeper catches it though.
11': Forrest fights for possession with a Valdosta attacker, the striker ends up winning though and gets a shot, Gyan saves, corner goes nowhere.
18': Navarro sends a ball out to the left for Davidson, he makes a short run into the area, shoots right as a sliding tackle is coming in, and scores! 1-0
26': Cooper with a corner, Hernandez with a header, just inches wide.
39': Cole with a free kick from 25 yards out, off the wall.
41': Shakespeare with an interception to start our offense, Tapia plays a beautiful long ball from our side of the field down the right side, Cooper gets to it near the end line, crosses immediately into the area and Navarro slams it home! Really, really happy with this play. 2-0
HALF: We have 55% of the possession, a 9-2 shots advantage, only 2 of them on target, but both in.
60': Cooper with a free kick from 20 yards out, a bit right of center, he shoots high.
69': A give and go play between two Valdosta attackers, they get a clear cut chance, but Hernandez makes a great tackle/dive to block the shot. There's a rebound though, clear cut chance #2... Gyan saves it!
75': Through ball down the right side for Valdosta, one of their strikers gets to it all alone, clear cut chance #3... Gyan dives and gets his hands on it. Corner for them. Gyan gets to it.
76': Wilkins in for Cole, Rose in for Davidson... We change to a 4-1-4-1 formation for the rest of this one. Tapia drops back to DMC, Wilkins MC, Navarro up front by himself.
87': Three passes in the penalty area for Valdosta, clear cut chance #4 and finally they get on the board, ST Zimmerman with a goal.
90': You don't see this often... they have a goal disallowed on a lob of a shot from the right side as their attacker was given a foul for running through Gyan to try to head it in.
That's it! We were a bit shaky holding the lead in the end there, but we did.
Valdosta 1 : 2 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Ronnie Navarro (7.8)
Goals: Navarro, Davidson (7.6)
Assists: Navarro, Cooper (7.6)
Notables: Hernandez (7.2)
-- I tell the team that the first half was great but the second half not so much, most of the team has a positive reaction, Forrest and Tapia do not though.
We are the only team to have won all our matches in league play left.
April 8th, 2016
Wake Forest Cougars (3-0-0, 1st) vs Lexington Thoroughbreds (1-0-2, 14th)
A couple changes today, not too many. Standard mindset at home.
3': Cooper with a free kick 22'ish yards out to the right of center a bit, he shoots, and its just perfect. Upper left corner of the goal, no chance anyone wuld ever stop that. 1-0
12': Campbell with some good D to bother an attacker, he eventually gets a cross in, Forrest heads it out.
15': Rose to Cooper for a rather difficult shot from 20 yards out, it hits the post, close.
15': Forrest with a yellow.
18': Cooper with a beautiful ball from 35 yards out into the area, Navarro sprints by his defender, strikes it with his first touch, and its a goal. 2-0
26': We win a ball off a goal kick ,its quickly up ahead, Wilkins to Cooper for a shot, but its a poor shot.
27': Wilkins up to Ratzburg, he sends it over to Navarro, shoots from 18 yards, goal!! 3-0
32': Wilkins with a nice pass ahead to Rose but Rose is clearly offsides, goal disallowed.
42': Wilkins with a long ball to Navarro, Navarro with a clear cut chance, but saved. Corner goes nowhere.
43': Ian Cooper is hurt and must leave the match. Adam Fisher is in.
HALF: 8 shots to 3, 3 clear cut chances for us, we are in full control here.
47': They get a great look after a ball in from the right side, but shot right at Gyan. Corner goes nowhere.
56': An interception in defense triggers a very quick break for Lexington, 3 passes and they have a clear cut chance as ST Lee got behind the defense, but he shoots it over.
60': They finally get one back, Lee with good control of a cross and he has a nice finish from the left side of the area. 3-1
66': Some awful defending as Campbell comes out 30 yards from goal to defense a central midfielder with the ball, leaving his man all alone in the area... he receives the ball and scores easily. 3-2
79': Shakespeare in for Tapia, Galvis in for Forrest.
81': Hernandez with a nice long ball for Navarro, he's behind the defense, but they catch up before he can manage a shot, blocked.
We hang on and the final 10 minutes are uneventful.
Wake Forest 3 : 2 Lexington
Man of the Match: Ronnie Navarro (8.8)
Goals: Navarro 2, Cooper (8.2)
Assists: Cooper, Ratzburg (6.8)
Notables: Wilkins (7.3)
This is the second time Wilkins has put up a rather strong rating without actually making any assists.
Navarro is absolutely on fire for us right now, 4 goals in 5 matches.
Oh, bad news. AMR Ian Cooper has a torn hamstring and is going to miss 3-4 months. We have coverage here, and Adam Fisher has been an exciting young player for us early on, but Cooper is so reliable, losing him will really hurt.
-- Leon Roth was playing in a reserve match trying to get match ready, he gets hurt in the match and is out for 2 more weeks.
April 15th, 2016
Fayeteville Liberty (1-1-2, 15th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (4-0-0, 1st)
I haven't been playing Arredondo at all and he is unhappy, so I promise him some playing time. We coutnerattack on the road.
10': First shot of the game is from Shakespeare, its a real long one though, right at the keeper and saved.
28': Tapia with a nice interception, a quick pass ahead to Arredondo, up to Cole, he's got a clear cut chance, but saved. First two corners are both headed behind, 3rd corner is taken poorly.
35': Cole with a very strong free kick but high.
37': Davidson takes a corner, sends it to the far post, Forrest gets up and heads it, goal!! 1-0
38': Arredondo with a cross, earns us a corner, but corner goes nowhere.
HALF: We have 5 shots to their 0, more possession and are better in every category.
47': Yellow card for their defender Estrada.
53': That's some awful defending right there, Forrest just doesn't turn around to run with an attacker making a run, and he gets an easy goal on us. That was their first shot. 1-1
83': Long time w/ no highlights, here they get a header off a cross just inches wide.
83': Wilkins in for Tapia, Ratzburg in for Cole.
And that's it.
Fayeteville 1 : 1 Wake Forest
Our offense was pretty non-existent tonight, we just had the one set piece goal.
Man of the Match: Brian Davidson (7.6)
Goal: Forrest (7.2)
Varela at DR has our worst rating with a 6.4, he was a part of giving up that goal, though I blamed Forrest for his crappy marking.
April 19th, 2016
Atlantic Coast Cup - First Round
Wake Forest Cougars vs Atletico de San Juan FC
Lots of backups in today. Burke/Pickering have had match fitness issues, otherwise they would have been in the rotation already.
We'll counterattack here as well against a stronger opponent.
1': Colangelo earns us a corner with a free kick, he takes the corner but its cleared out.
8': Really nice cross in from Colangelo, Ratzburg redirects the header into the right side of the net! 1-0
18': We win a header off a goal kick and its forward to Raztburg, he gets behidn the defense and just pulls up too early to shot.
20': Crook ahead to Ratzburg, he finds Arredondo, he's got tons of space, goes into the area, shoots... and beats the keeper! 2-0
22': Their first shot is considered a clear cut chance, but its ona through ball that went a little too deep, they have to shoot from basically the end line out left and the angle is too tight, its wide.
30': A nice lob from their right midfielder generates a clear cut chance from very close range, easy goal for them. 2-1
35': Through ball into the area for one of their strikers, I was 100% sure he was offsides... but not called. Gyan makes a really nice save though.
46': Another long ball from San Juan, they get a man open in the area behind our defense and Burke/Pickering just don't react. Its another clear cut chance and another goal. 2-2
HALF: Crazy, crazy half. they have 8 shots to our 7, each team has 3 clear cut chances. We do dominate the possession, but we seem really susceptible to their longer passes, at least from the highlights we've seen.
52': Perkins clears out one cross, they get a few passes around the area that is scary, but their eventual shot is well off target.
66': Crook clears out a corner, they get to it and shoot from long range, but high.
73': Galvis in for Burke, Navarro in for Ratzburg.
78': Colangelo with a run down the left and a cross, its pretty poor, but Arredondo hustles to get to it and heads it across the front of the goal, Crook is on it and shoots and scores! 3-2
88': Shakespeare in for Arredondo, Wilkins drops to DMC, Shakespeare to MC and we play a more defensive formation to try to finish this off.
90': We earn a corner on a nice counterattacking move, there's a foul on the corner, penalty given! Shakespeare takes it and buries it. 4-2
Wake Forest 4 : 2 Atletico De San Juan
Man of the Match: Ryan Crook (7.9)
Goals: Crook, Arredondo (7.9), Ratzburg (7.7), Shakespeare
Assists: Colangelo 2 (7.8), Ratzburg, Galvis (6.9)
Notables: Gyan (7.0), Perkins (7.0), Wilkins (7.6)
Galvis drew the foul for the penalty. Shakespeare didn't play long enough to earn a rating. Wilkins with another very high rating despite no goals or assists.
Pretty impressive win against a team from a higher division!
-- We get $4,840 for the win.
-- Arredondo scores his first goal for us, happy to see that.
Joe Pickering picks up an injury during the match and is going to miss 3 weeks.
Atlantic Coast Cup - Second Round Draw
16 teams left, we're going on the road to play IMG Bradenton Academies. These Academy teams seem like some of the strongest in the amateur scene, so this is going to be a very difficult task. We'll play June 14th, so about 7 weeks away.
April 22nd, 2016
Wake Forest Cougars (4-1-0, 1st) vs Jacksonville Cyclones (4-0-1, 2nd)
Standard mindset at home today.
1': We actually start with possession but give it away fairly quickly, they attack down the left side and a poor tackle attempt by Davidson opens up our defense a bit, but they miss a shot in a dangerous position in the area.
3': Davidson with a shot from the left side earns us a corner, we get a shot off the corner but saved.
7': Cole with a free kick from 20 yards out, just over.
14': They send a ball into the right side of the area and get a very good look, Gyan makes a good stop, Forrest pokes the reobund behind for a corner, which we clear.
17': Fisher to Cole but the pass is a bit too deep near the end line, he passes back out and Navarro gets a clear cut chance from 10 yards away, but their keeper makes a great save.
23': Gyan with his 3rd diving save of the match.
26': Davidson with a corner, taken to the near post, Hernandez is there and heads it in! 1-0
29': One of their strikers turns around Campbell 1v1 and gets a good look from the left side of the area, but puts it wide.
32': Minor injury for Tapia.
37': Jackson misses a tackle and it sets up an easy pass into the middle of the area for them, then a second pass to ST Salgado coming in from the right, and he scores esily. 1-1
HALF: Pretty action packed half here. Once again though we score on a set piece and struggle otherwise. We do have 7 shots to their 6, each team with 3 on target and 1 clear cut chance. But they have 59% of the possession and they are passing and tackling better than us, by a fair bit.
I bring Wilkins in for Tapia at the half.
47': Fisher with a lob ahead to Cole, Cole makes a good run into the area and gets a shot off, its saved though, corner goes nowhere.
48': Shakespeare ahead to Davidson, his shot earns us another corner, which is cleared.
58': They earn a corner off a cross, but Gyan catches the corner coming in.
66': Arredondo is in at AMR for Fisher.
Got distracted for a couple minutes here and missed one highlight, but the game ended pretty quickly after this.
Wake Forest 1 : 1 Jacksonville
Man of the Match: Brian Davidson (7.5)
Goal: Hernandez (7.2)
Campbell with a very poor 6.1 rating, Cole and Navarro were both quite ineffective too.
North American Open Cup - First Qualifying Round Draw
This is after that long group stage for the teams below us. We draw a match against McLean Youth Soccer, an amateur team in the Colonial Amateur League, that's the same tier as ours. We play them on May 4th.
-- DC Ashley Varela comes to talk to me about his playing time, its the second time this year. I tell him he's a backup and that's how its going to be, he is not happy with that response, so I release him.
April 29th, 2016
Montgomery Yellowhammers (2-1-3, 13th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (4-2-0, 1st)
-- Wow these guys have a decent fan base. We played them in the North American Open Cup in our first season and beat them 2-1.
We change about half our lineup today, the fullbacks, Wilkins/Rose/Ratzburg in over Shakespeare/Davidson/Cole. Counterattacking mindset on the road today.
5': Good start! Throwin in our end, we work it up the right side, Fisher crosses in, Ratzburg gets the header and scores. 1-0
16': Coggins wins a tackle in midfield, ahead to Navarro who makes a run into the area, but then pulls it wide and tries a cross, they clear.
23': Navarro with a long shot, high.
26': Tapia wins a header on a goal kick, it ends up going between their DC's, Ratzburg is first to it and he's off... gets a clear cut chance, tries to chip over the keeper, but fails.
27': They get a clear cut chance of their own after a long ball to ST Long, but he takes a very weak shot and Gyan saves.
33': Rose to NAvarro for a pretty tough shot on the left side, he puts it wide.
35': We have a corner, taken to Hernandez, but tackled away before he can shoot, they clear it long and one of their strikers gets to it first for a break for Montgomery, the end up with a clear cut chance off it, but Gyan gets his fingers to it. There's a rebound but we clear.
HALF: This is pretty close, we outshoot them 6-4 but they are generating better looks overall.
52': Navarro with a header after a corner by Fisher, easily blocked.
65': Coggins with a long ball down the left side, Rose gets it behind his man, makes a run down the side, cross into the area, Navarro is there and pokes it in! 2-0
74': Shakespeare in for Navarro, Arredondo in for Fisher. We drop to a 4-1-4-1 formation with Tapia at DMC.
79': Ratzburg picks up a minor injury.
They can't do anything and we close it out easily.
Montgomery 0 : 2 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Bob Varela (7.5)
Goals: Navarro (7.3), Ratzburg (7.3)
Assists: Fisher (7.0), Rose (6.8)
Varela with a number of tackles this game, more than anyone else on the team actually (6, no one else had more than 2), I assume that earned him his rating more than anything.
ST Patrick Ratzburg hurt his elbow in the match today and is going to miss 3 weeks.
We play on the 4th, 7th, 13th, 20th, and 25th. It looks like we could potentially add two more games into the mix if we win in the North American Open Cup.
-- Adrian Salas trains poorly. You don't know that name? Don't worry, you don't need to. I notice that like 15 of our players are unhappy with their training. I look through my team's individual training and in every instance its because of poor quality of training that we offer. Tell the board, guys, they won't let me hire more coaches.
-- The board is pleased with my leadership. Our 4-2 Atlantic Coast Cup win over San Juan is a highlight. Fans are complaining about DL David Campbell. He has been playing poorly, 6.50 average in 4 league appearances. We lost $17,000 last month.
Our losses financially are almost all taxes. I assume that's because we have cash we aren't using.
May 4th, 2016
North American Open Cup - First Qualifying Round
Wake Forst Cougars vs McLean
Sean Rongen at DL, I remembered that I had been meaning to work him in more at DL once I saw the fans' complaints about Campbell. Vega is a DMC/MC that played some last year and wasn't bad. Roth makes his first appearance after a long injury process.
3': A long ball from midfield over my defense gives them a clear cut chance very early on, but Gyan positions well and their man is a bit wide, he can't score from the tough angle.
12': Shakespeare shoots from long range, very wide.
23': We watch a very long highlight, possession given away many times on both sides, finally Crook makes it down the right side, crosses, its through the area, Shakespeare ends up with it and pulls it out left... he tries a cross, blocked, he recovers, this time his cross is better, and Roth is there and volleys it in! 1-0
46': Shakespeare with a nice ball to the left side of the area for Davidson, he has a clear cut chance, but right at the keeper.
HALF: We outshoot them 8-2, we are dominating in the air, which is the only real difference in any other stat outside of shots.
47': We change to a counterattacking style.
80': Back to a 4-1-4-1, Tapia in for Roth and at DMC. Wilkins in for Vega.
87': Crook wins us the ball with an interception, after some possession Davidson makes a run down the left, crosses in for Arredondo who has a clear cut chance, but its at a weird angle, I'm not sure why its considered such a good look... but anyway, saved.
90': They get a cross to the far post, they have a man there who appears alone with an open net, but Rongen comes in at the last second and heads it behind. We clear the corner.
93': They earn a corner off a cross, first corner is headed behind by Hernandez, the second is poorly taken and goes out of play on the other side.
That'll do it!
Wake Forest 1 : 0 McLean
Man of the Match: Mark Shakespeare (7.6)
Goal: Roth (7.1)
Notables: Jackson (7.2)
6.8-6.9 from the defense, Davidson (6.5) and Arredondo (6.4) a bit lower than most. Arreddondo failed to finish multiple clear cut chances.
-- We get $14,090 for this win, this is the cup worth way more money than it should be.
-- Joe Pickering resumes full training, we need to get him ready to play.
May 7th, 2016
Wake Forst Cougars (5-2-0, 1st) vs Gainseville Gators FC (3-0-4, 11th)
wholesale changes on 3 days rest today. We are 1:6 favorites, for most matches so far the home team has been 5:4/road team 7:4. We're getting recognition for our strong start. Now we have to not choke when favored.
4': We have the ball near midfield after they clear away a corner kick.. one of their ST's challenges DR Varela and wins the ball, Varela goes down injured immediately. Their ST has a clear run to the goal but its a long one, Forrest catches up with him and goes after him. Forrest brings him down just outside the area. Play stops, Varela is hurt and must leave the match immediately. Forrest, well he's given a red card. So we're going to play 86 minutes with 10 men and just lost two players.
Hernandez comes in for Varela. Shakespeare comes in for Cole. I move Tapia to DR, I don't have another defender available. I drop the midfielders back and we're in a straight 4-4-1. I tell the team to stall, to pass short, to drop back on defense and play at a slow tempo.
9': Yellow for their player named Roth, unsure what position.
14': Hernandez clears a ball off the line after its tipped by Gyan, we try a clear but its not fully out of the way, they get a long shot and its placed nicely for a goal. 0-1
30': We're watching them attack a lot, I just want this one over. They are missing lots of shots, or settling for long ones.
43': We control the ball in midfield, Rose makes a very long run on his own, he gets a cross in to Navarro, he's got a good look, but saved. They clear the corner.
HALF: They outshoot us 9-2 and don't expect it to get any better. Maybe we can get lucky with something here.
I bring MC Gary Glaser in for Fisher at the half, Fisher took a bit of a hit that tanked his fitness. Glaser will also be playing out of position. I'm trying to avoid an injury for Fisher. Also Glaser has had match fitness issues for awhile so I'm letting him run around for 45 minute here.
62': Gyan takes a goal kick long, it bounce over the defense and Navarro is off to the races. He gets what is considered a clear cut chance, but a defender has caught up to him and the shot is blocked
70': Mike Wilkins is hurt and must leave the match. We're down to 9 men.
83': Ronnie Navarro is hurt and must leave the match. We're down to 8 men.
84': Somehow we get a free kick from the left side, Galvis takes it, Glaser appears to be miles offsides, but its not called... and Glaser heads it in. I have no idea what I'm watching. 1-1
87': They earn a corner but take it poorly.
89': They get a clear cut chance in the area after a couple passes, but Gyan makes a diving stop!
90': Glaser picks up a minor injury.
90': There are SIX minutes of extra time today.
95': They earn one corner, headed behind.. another Tapia heads it out of the area. They try a cross but its a bad one.
That's it. We get 1 point but lose like half our team.
Wake Forest 1 : 1 Gainesville
Somehow one of their players is man of the match. Somehow Gyan only has a 6.9 rating, despite stopping 5 shots, a couple in fairly spectacular fashion.
Goal: Glaser (7.3)
Assist: Galvis (6.8)
-- I appeal Forrest's Red Card, I didn't think it looked bad at all, compared to other straight red highlights I've watched.
MC Mike Wilkins has strained some ligaments in his knee and is out 2-3 months.
DR Bob Varela has broken ribs and is out 2-3 months.
MC Gary Glaser has a bruised rib and is out 2 weeks.
Navarro is ok.
The Wilkins injury sucks, he's been playing really well, he doesn't have any assists or goals, but most of our production has been coming from the wingers and forwards in this formation. Still he has an average rating of 7.03, which is not that far behind Shakespeare's 7.17, even though he has 4 goals and 1 assist.
Ok, that disaster is over. On to the next one.
I'll probably be adjusting the money prizes in this cup, especially in the early stages, I think.
-- The FA denies my appeal on Forrest's red card, he'll miss a match.
North American Open Cup - Second Qualifying Round Draw
We draw Albuquerque United FC in the next round here. We'll be playing them on the road on May 18th. Albuquerque are in Gold Coast Division 2, that's one tier above us.
May 13th, 2016
Wake Forst Cougars (5-3-0, 1st) vs Port Charlotte Barracudas (3-1-4, 12th)
We lost to these guys in the group stage of the North American Open Cup in 2014, our only meeting.
We're 1:6 favorites here today.
4': Yellow card for their defender Roselli.
9': really nice goal from Port Charlotte, a lob from the middle about 35 yards out to the left side of the area, extremely strong half volley from their left mid to score. 0-1
30': Rose with a lob down the left side to Navarro, he crosses into the area, Cole is there and volleys it in! He comes down on a defender and has to leave the match for a bit, no injury though. 1-1
43': Long shot for one of their attackers is high, they had a decent through ball and that could have looked more scary.
HALF: They are actually outshooting us 6-1 here, outpossessing us as well. I tell the team that I'm quite unhappy with their play and I change us to an attacking mindset. Maybe playing a more open attacking game against a team we're supposed to beat will work better?
50': A cross from Rose in to NAvarro, he shoots and earns us a corner, but we can't do anything on the corner.
59': They have a goal disallowed due to offsides, pretty obvious offside.
60': Horrible pass from Tapia to give the ball away. It triggers a counter for Port Charlotte, and they get a goal from ST west from the penalty area after a pass in from the left. 1-2
65': Roth in for Cole.
73': Roth with a pass into the area for Shakespeare after a throwin, Shakepeare has a great look, but right at the keeper and he makes the save.
78': Jackson with a long clearance out of our end, Roth gets his foot on it, sends it ahead to Navarro who makes a nice move to get a good look in the area, and he scores! 2-2
78': I change both my wingers, Rose picked up a minor injury at some point. Davidson in for Rose, Fisher in for Crook.
81': Davidson ahead to Navarro, but his shot is wide.
89': They get a pass behind our defense but we catch up, they end up with a cross to a guy who is offsides.
That's it, I think that's our 4th draw in a row in league play?
Wake Forest 2 : 2 Port Charlotte
Man of the Match is on their side.
Goals: Cole (6.9), Navarro (7.7)
Assists: Navarro, Roth (6.7)
Jackson with a really poor 6.0 todya, lots of 6.4/6.5 ratings too. I tell the team that wasn't good enough.
We're about halfway through the season, we play everyone once so 19 total matches before the split. We haven't lost a match and are still in first but we've tied in 4 of our last 5 after the 4-0-0 start.
-- Ratzburg resumes full training from his last injury.
May 18th, 2016
North American Open Cup - Second Qualifying Round
Albaquerque United FC vs Wake Forst Cougars
We'll look to Counterattack today.
5': They get a very easy goal, a couple passes after a goal kick, through ball to ST Contreras and he finishes cleanly. 0-1
14': They have a goal kick, its headed backwards by one of their players, past their DC and Roth is first to it, he makes a run, pulls up and chips it over hte keeper, goal!! 1-1
16': Arrendondo to Roth, a shot is saved and we get a corner, corner is headed out.
27': We get two crosses in from the right, they head both away, but we control, we end up with a long shot from Shakespeare that is high.
35': They get a quick clear cut chance coming into a highlight, Gyan with the save though!
35': After a clearance out of our end the ball goes very deep in their end, they clear it poorly and we have many more men forward than they do, Shakespeare passes ahead to Roth and he finishes! 2-1
37': They get a through ball from the imdfield after just a few passes after kickoff and its another clear cut chance and another goal... 2-2
40': We get a ball up to Roth for what looked like a hat trick, but he's offsides. Both teams seem to have massive holes in the center of their defense.
HALF: shots are 7-7, most stats are really even here, just a lot of exciting opportunities for both teams.
48': there it is!! We intercept a ball in defense and counter, Roth ahead to Arredondo, back to Roth, its a shot from 18 yards out, goal!! 3-2
64': Arredondo with a long shot that's just barely wide.
66': Its yet another through ball for a clear cut chance, but its saved by Gyan.
70': Burke in for a tired Pickering.
73': They get a great looking coutnerattack after a 1v1 tackle on Roth, some nifty passing while they move forward, an extra pass in the area after Gyan rushes out to try to stop a shot and its a goal. 3-3
86': Shakespeare with a free kick from 20 yards out, its by the wall, the keeper gets a hand to it but it goes right by and its in! 4-3
86': Perkins in for Arredondo, Tapia to DMC and we're going to try to defend this out in a 4-1-4-1
We're able to do it, that's it!
Albuquerque United 3 : 4 Wake Forest
Man of the Match : Leon Roth (9.6)
Goals: Roth 3, Shakespeare (8.6)
Assists: Roth, Shakespeare, Arredondo (7.5)
Forrest with a 6.1 rating stands out here.
What a crazy game, 16-13 in shots, 15 total on target, 8 combined clear cut chances, really fun one.
-- We get $28,180 for this win.
North American Open Cup - Third Qualifying Round Draw
We have to go on the road again, we're going to be playing the Virginia Rush, Colonial Division 2, one tier above us. This match will be in one week. We do play one league match in between.
-- AML Luca Colangelo asks about his future with the team, he's a backup and that's all he'll ever be here, he wants his release so I give it to him. I'm way too happy with Rose and Davidson to try to work anyone else in just to make them happy.
May 21st, 2016
Port St Lucie Galleons (4-1-4, 10th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (5-4-0, 1st)
-- These guys are in Florida.
Arredondo will play AMR over Crook today (Fisher is tired), two backups at MC b/c Glaser is still not ready to go, Wilkins is hurt for a good long while yet, and Tapia/Shakespeare really need to rest. Glaser can come in as a sub but he's not good for more than a half.
We'll look to counterattack on the road.
2': A poor pass from Arredondo gives the ball away in midfield, a long ball to a striker is very very poorly defended, there's a centering pass as Gyan was forced to come out and its a free goal for them. Poor play everywhere. 0-1
20': Sandoval with a long ball ahead, Ratzburg wins a header for it about 25 yards out, redirects it nicely to a charging Navarro, he shoots from 18 yards out and scores! 1-1
25': They get another clear cut chance due to what looks like poor defending, a very strong shot to the right side of the net, but Gyan dives and stops it!
43': Ratzburg gets a decent look from the edge of the area, but its taken pretty weakly and wide left.
HALF: On our way to another draw? That might be ok, we are way behind in possession and with our two backup MC's are just struggling a lot.
56': They have a throwin deep in their own end, and take it poorly, we win it and Ratzburg has a good look in the area after a couple passes, but they block it.
71': They have a corner, taken into the 6 yard box and headed in. 1-2
71': Glaser in for Sandoval, Cole in for Ratzburg, and we will try to attack to get back even.
80': Perkins up ahead to Cole, he's covered well, almost tackled, but he turns and just blasts a shot from where he receives the pass and gets it by the keeper! 2-2
86': Scary free kick for them at the very edge of the box, it hits the crossbar.
86': Galvis in for Burke.
93': They get a clear cut chance on a pass in from the left, a near point blank shot but its taken very weakly and right at Gyan and he catches it.
Port St Lucie 2 : 2 Wake Forest
I'm ok with this one, on the road with some weaker subs.
Goals: Navarro (7.1), Cole (7.3)
Assists: Perkins (6.8), Ratzburg (6.7)
Campbell 6.3, he continues to to suck
May 25th, 2016
North American Open Cup - Third Qualifying Round
Virginia Rush vs Wake Forest Cougars
We counter on the road today.
24': Davidson with a free kick, taken into the area, Cole is brought down, penalty! Shakespeare takes it and scores! 1-0
34': Pickering comes out too far to defend a midfielder when there's a striker right next to him, the ball is passed ahead and its a clear cut chance, but sent high.
40': Free kick for Tapia, cross into the area, Cole strikes it and scores! 2-0
HALF: Only 3 shots for each team, but we have 2 goals to show for it, very good!
52': corner for Davidson, we can't get a shot off it, but the ball stays in the penalty area for what seems like forever, clearances are blocked, eventually Roth ends up getting brought down and its our second penalty. Shakespeare gets his second goal. 3-0
59': We'll go into a defensive mode here.
66': Fisher with a cross into the area, Cole with a clear cut chance, but saved.
75': They finally get one back on a throwin deep in our end, a pass into the area and a way too wide open shot given the set piece. 3-1
75': Glaser in for Roth, we'll go to a 4-1-4-1.
We hold on easily, no more threats from virginia.
Virginia 1 : 3 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Mark Shakespeare (8.8)
Goals: Shakespeare 2, Cole (8.1)
Assists: Cole, Tapia (7.4), Roth (6.8)
Notables: Diaz (7.0), Forrest (7.3), Pickering (7.0), Coggins (7.0)
Good ratings from defenders, its been a little while since we've seen that!
-- We receive $105,000 for this victory.
Maunabo... forgive me if I missed it, but where are they from?
Another club in the mod from Puerto Rico
North American Open Cup - First Round Draw
Well, our run ends here. We're at home but against the New York Cosmos in the NASL, they started in MLS but got relegated. We have a couple weeks until this match.
-- All of the other cups pick back up/start in June as well, so June is going to be packed with games.
May 31st, 2016
Carolina Giants (4-2-3, 13th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (5-5-0, 3rd)
-- These guys actually play in La Carolina, Puerto Rico, not North or South Carolina. Its a long trip to play in front of 98 people.
-- We'rd 3rd due to everyone around us having 1 more match. If we win we're back to first.
Gallardo gets a shot at AMR with Cooper still hurt and Fisher tired. We're going to be rotating our lineup a lot over the next few weeks.
We'll counter attack on the road.
1': Rongen gives it away pretty early and they look to attack, but Joe Jackson makes a good one on one play to win a ball in the area as they look for an opening.
8': They earn a corner on a cross, but Tapia heads it away.
10': They earn another corner on a cross attempt, we struggle to clear, but Pickering eventually gets it away.
15': They have 65% possession early on. Every highlight is of them attacking, but they haven't managed a shot yet.
33': We control the ball on the right for awhile,Shakespeare makes a good pass ahead to Roth who has a clear cut chance, but its saved.
36': Gallardo shoots on a free kick, high.
37': They get their first shot, but blocked, we look to counter, but their defense makes an interception in the end.
39': Davidson receives a pass just outside the area, he makes a great cut to get by his man, crosses it, Roth is there and volleys it in! 1-0
HALF: So despite most highlights showing them attacking, we actually outshoot them 9-1, we win 81% of our headers and 100% of our tackles so far to control the game. Possession evened out at 50% finally.
50': We win a header on a goal kick to take possession, ahead to Navarro, to Gallardo coming in from the right, clear cut chance... but saved. Corner is taken to Pickering, he's tackled, foul! Shakespeare with another penalty goal. 2-0
55': Davidson takes a corner, Pickering is on it and shoots, but blocked, rebound falls to Roth and he puts it in! 3-0
72': Shakespeare intercepts a clearance, ahead to Roth, he hits Gallardo cutting in, another clear cut chance... saved again.
72': Galser in for Shakespeare.
77': A goal kick takes a high bounce, over our defense and one of their ST's gets on it, he gets a good look and scores. 3-1
Carolina 1 : 3 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Leon Roth (8.8)
Goals: Roth 2, Shakespeare (7.3)
Assists: Davidson 2 (7.7), Pickering (6.8)
Notables: Hernandez (7.0)
6.8/6.9 everywhere else.
Roth now has 5 goals in his last two starts.
Yup, its a city on the southeast coast.
-- We play on the 3rd, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, and 24th, at least. The North America Amateur Cup begins in June too, the draw is soon and it will mix up the schedule a bit. Most of these will be cup matches.
-- Brian Williams trains well, he's still getting fit after long injuries.
-- The board is very pleased with my leadership. Team atmosphere is good, David Campbell is bad. We made $142,000 last month thanks to the North American Open.
AMR Ryan Crook is hurt in a reserves match designed to keep his fitness up and he's out 6-7 weeks. Cooper is still out for at least a month, but we have 3 guys who can play the position adequately after Fisher that we'll be giving a try. Arredondo, Gallardo and Michael Maurer, a youngster from last year who plays ST/AMR that has never really gotten a shot.
June 3rd, 2016
Wake Forest Cougars (6-5-0, 1st) vs Kendall SC (3-2-6, 17th)
-- This is our last league game for awhile.
My midfielders worry me today. We are big favorites here so I am going to go ahead and play an attacking style. Its raining today.
5': Their player Wichmann wtth a card.
5': Perkins with a shot after a cross in on a free kick saved easly.
10': Fisher passes ahead to Cole, its tackled awy from him, loos ball comes to Fisher, who shoots, but wide.
HALF: 35 minutes without a highlight and we're at the half. They are trying hard to defend I guess. 3 shots to 1 in our favor. I take the aggressive option and tell them I'm not happy, they are motivated, all of them.
49': Cole ends up with a shot after a throwin deep in their end, not a great one really.
70': This isn't getting us anywhere, I tell the guys to hit their crosses earlier and to play a more direct game.
79': Shakespeare, Navarro and Maurer in for Perkins, Arredondo, and Fisher.
85': They get a bit of a breakaway but can't hit their shot at all, well wide.
Wake Forest 0 : 0 Kendall SC
They packed in their defense nicely and we couldn't figure out a way to break it down.
Man of the Match: Joe Jackson (7.1)
Notable: Forrest (7.0)
We fall to second, too many draws here.
-- "Media-Friendly boss Richard Dixon will celebrate his 100th game as head coach ... in the North American Open Cup on Wednesday"
hooray for 100 games.
June 8th, 2016
North American Open Cup - First Round
Wake Forest Cougars vs New York Cosmos
-- New York are on top of the NASL and a favorite to get back into MLS. Uh-oh.
Who? Exactly. We play 3 more times in the next 13 days, all matches way more winnable than this. I tell our 3rd stringers (and below in some cases) that there is no pressure.
3': Some decent tackling by Rongen to stop an attack, and a save by Garcia, they earn a corner, galvis heads that away.
5': First clear cut chance for them, wide.
7': Ok we're averaging over a highlight a minute they're attacking so much. I drop us down to key highlights only.
12': There's their first goal, Diaz tried to clear a cross, but they head it back forward and get a nice shot. 0-1
29': Goal #2. 0-2
34': #3, their striker Ibanez intercepts a short goal kick and takes it himself. 0-3
.. I drop it to commentary only and there isn't any point in writing up more.
64': Until this! A lob pass from Castro ahead to Maurer, he heads it into the center of hte area for Alvarez who volleys it by the keeper! 1-6
91': Maurer is hurt and must leave the match.
Wake Forest 1 : 7 New York
I'm sorry to run any of these guys out there into this slaughter.
Michael Maurer is going to miss 2-3 months with an ACL injury. He missed his entire first year with a very long injury, and now this. I was going to give him some time somewhere before Cooper came back.
Atlantic Coast Cup - Quarterfinal Draw
-- We haven't played our round of 16 match yet, but the draw for the quarters happen here. If we can manage to beat IMG Bradenton, we'll play the winner of Montgomery Yellowhammers/Boise Roughriders.
Old North Cup - Semifinal Draw
-- We haven't played our quarterfinal match yet. If we beat Twin City to advance, we will get destroyed by Wilmington or the Carolina RailHawks in the semis.
June 11th, 2016
Old North Cup Quarterfinals
Twin City Patrol vs Wake Forest Cougars
-- We've played these guys twice, each team winning once. Both meetings were in 2014. Being in a higher division than them now we are 2:5 favorites even on the road.
Mostly starting caliber guys here but some backups to try to even out my strength over the next couple short rest days. We're going to try to attack the weaker opposition.
3': A long pass in from Arredondo to Cole leads to a clear cut chance, Cole should have gotten a bit closer before he shot though, he just stopped 20 yards out. Wide.
4': Some nice passing as Shakespeare puts it ahead for Roth for a clear cut chance, just inside the area, but again wide, that was a much better look.
7': Third clear cut chance of the match, Davidson crosses in to Cole, he hits Shakespeare trailing the play unmarked about 8 yards out, easy eays finish. 1-0
14': Clear cut chance #4 as Roth gets it ahead to Cole, Cole is really struggling to finish, right at the keeper.
17': they take their first shot, way high on a penalty.
24': Two bad giveaways, one by Shakespeare, one by Castro, eventually they find their way forard for a shot, but high.
31': Arrodondo sends it ahead for Roth, he takes a difficult shot from the right side of the area, keeper stops it, but there's a rebound, which Davidson puts into the open net. 2-0
45': Arredondo takes a corner, Burke heads it, saved.
HALF: 8 shots to 3 in our favor, but we have 5 clear cut chances, and converted two of them. We're dominating this one.
59': Pickering tries to clear a ball with a header but can't quite get it, they get a clear cut chance from ST Cullen, but Gyan does a good job rushing out and stops it.
62': Shakespeare ahead to Roth for clear cut chance #6, saved. Corner is terrible.
76': Diaz in for Jackson, Perkins in for Shakespeare
We close this esaily.
Twin City 0 : 2 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Mark Shakespeare (7.7)
Goals: Shakespeare, Davidson (7.4)
Assists: Roth (6.8), Cole (6.7)
Notables: Jackson (7.0), Pickering (7.0), Burke (7.4), Campbell (7.1)
Roth and Cole should have scored so much, we had 7 clear cut chances and only got 2 goals. Its ok though, we dominated a team we're supposed to dominate.
We advance to the semis of the Old North Cup where we will get destroyed by Wilmington or Carolina.
June 14th, 2016
Atlantic Coast Cup - Second Round
IMG Braddenton Academies vs Wake Forest Cougars
So we're pretty big dogs here, I'm going to go with a 4-1-4-1 for it. Defensive mindset. I could field a stronger team but we play again in 3 days, trying to find a little balance.
8': Gyan makes 3 saves in about a minute.
22': Rose is hurt and must leave the match. Shakespeare is in.
29': Forrest with a yellow.
33': Shakespeare ahead to Navarro, he holds the ball up and draws 2 defenders, Perkins makes a run, Navarro finds him and he scores from 15 yards out!! 1-0
40': We earn a corner but can't do anything with it.
HALF: They outshoot us 8-6 but only put 1 on target, they had a couple very threatening flurries but we seemed to handle it quite well.
49': Yellow for their midfielder Morales.
51': They get a break on a counter after we turn it over in the midfield, there's a long ball from midfield ahead to a striker who has a step on our defense and hits a nice shot. 1-1
55': They earn a corner, we head it behind, second one is cleared by Tapia.
61': Sandoval in for Castro.
82': They take a long shot, on target but Gyan easily scoops it up.
FULL TIME: They are more in control of things now, but anything can happen at this point. We didn't shoot a single time in the second half. Arredondo in at MR for Fisher.
HT ET: The first extra time period goes by without a single highlight.
112': Navarro picks up a minor injury.
113': A poor header by Hernandez gives one of rhtie strikers a clear cut chance from the edge of the area, but he puts it wide.
116': Lots of pressure now, we clear a cross after some buildup, but they get forward again, a shot is taken from 20 yards, wide.
We go to penalties. So we know penalties are a little ridiculous in this version so lets just see what happens.
Both teams make their first 5 penalties.
We get to 7-7 when they take one right at Gyan and he stops it. Coggins steps up with a chance to win and scores!!!!
IMG Bradenton (7) 1 : 1 (8)p Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Bayard Perkins (7.4)
Assists: Navarro (6.8)
Notables: Jackson (7.0), Hernandez (7.1)
Gyan gets a 5.7, is that because of the penalties?
-- The draw for the next round has already occurred, we play league rival Montgomery Yellowhammers in the quarterfinals!
-- We get $9,680 for this win.
Navarro is ok, but AMR Dylan Rose is out 3-4 weeks with a leg injury.
North America Amateur Cup - First Round Draw
We still haven't played our qualifying round match yet, its coming up soon against Nomads FC, if we win we get a home game against Palm Bay Pelicans, they're in the tier below us so if we get there we'll be favored.
June 17th, 2016
Caguas Huracan (2-5-5, 18th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (6-6-0, 2nd)
-- Our first league match in awhile since June is tons of cup play. We've been playing too many draws in league play lately, we really need to win here against a bottom feeder.
We have so many tired guys, |I should have held a lot of our reserves out of our last reserve match and played some younger guys here who may not get so complacent vs a bad team. But lets see how it goes.
We will attempt to attack against the weaker side here.
1': They start with possession but give it away quickly. We work the ball forward, Shakespeare heads it ahead, Roth has it, ahead to Fisher, a cross, Cole with a header in the box, its in! 1-0
8': Pickering with a yellow.
HALF: No more highlights after the first minute goal. We have 4 shots to their 1. I do drop back to a standard mindset in the hopes of not giving up a stupid goal on a counter or something, and we go forward.
48': Tapia a yellow.
53': Shakespeare gives it away int he midfield, they get a run down the right, a cross to the center of the area, a pass to the left side for a wid eopen man who scores easily. 1-1
58': Our defense falls apart and they get a ball into open space for a clear cut chance, but Burke rushes over and gets to it just in time to block it. Corner goes nowhere.
59': Lets attack again.
69': Davidson ahead to Campbell, a cross in to Fisher, the area is crowded though, its blocked.
72': We set up with some very nice passing, Roth over to Cole, their defense opens up, Cole hits Shakespeare making a run right down the middle, and Shakespeare scores! 2-1
77': ratzburg in for Roth, Castro in for Tapia.
78': Davidson earns us a corner after a long run down the left, corner is cleared.
86': They take a tough shot from the right side of the area and Gyan makes a nice save, they earn a corner, corner is headed behind by Davidson, second one goes nowhere.
86': Hernandez in for Burke.
We hang on for the win, our first league win in awhile.
Caguas Huracan 1 : 2 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Colin Cole (7.8)
Goals: Cole, Shakespeare (7.3)
Assists: Cole, Fisher (6.7)
Notables: Pickering (7.0), Campbell (7.1)
Nice to see Campbell have a good game, he's been really struggling. Roth had a poor one, 6.3, lower than everyone else out there.
-- We move back up to first with that win, 1 point ahead of Maunabo. Probably most importantly, with only 6 matches to play before the league split, we're 9 points clear of 11th place.
Back to cup play for the rest of the month.
-- Pickering's yellow earns him a 1 match suspension.
June 21st, 2016
North America Amateur Cup - Qualifying Round
Wake Forest vs Nomads SC
-- We're only 5:4 favorite here but this is a lower division team at home, we really should win.
Some reserves play today in Rongen, Diaz, Castro and Salas. We will attack.
18': They score on a really nice highlight, the first of the match. a lot of quick passing, and a nice give and go lets one of their ST's get an easy shot. 0-1
26': Gyan picks up a minor injury.
29': Salas with a minor injury.
32': We earn a corner but its cleared.
33': Ratzburg with a shot in a crowded area after a cross in from Arredondo, but wide.
37': Navarro with a minor injury, ugh.
HALF: We shoot 3 times to their 2, this has been a pretty crappy game. I bring Cole in for Navarro and reserve GK James Barton in for Gyan, both b/c of their injuries.
63': Arredondo ahead to Castro, a pass into the area for Ratzburg, he's 10 yards out, a little wide, its a nice finish. 1-1
70': We intercept a throwin, a quick pass ahead to Cole and a shot from 20 yards, but wide.
72': Watching a highlight with us on offense, we have 3 players offsides as Arredondo looks to make a cross...
85': There's a lot of back and forth, turnovers in the midfield, then Castro just launches a long ball from midfield, its very high, Cole does an immaculate job controlling it as it comes down, and he blasts a shot in from 15 yards! 2-1
No more highlights, we'll advance in this tournament.
Wake Forest 2 : 1 Nomads FC
Man of the Match: Colin Cole (8.2)
Goals: Cole, Ratzburg (7.2)
Assists: Castro 2 (7.5)
Notables: Rongen (7.4), Salas (7.1)
Some solid play from some younger guys today, I like it.
-- We receive $239 for this win. Har.
-- Shit. Ronnie Navarro is out for 6-7 weeks.
-- Adrian Salas is out 5-6 weeks, slightly less of a big deal.
-- Amidu Gyan is out for 3-4 weeks.
So we lose our top striker and our starting keeper for a significant stretch, very unfortunate. Our backup keeper is out for a bit too, Barton, the kid that came in for the second half of this one, is my 3rd stringer.
June 24th, 2016
Wake Forest Cougars (7-6-0, 1st) vs Cape Coral Iguanas (6-1-6, 10th)
-- We're pretty heavy favorites in this one.
Injuries to AM's and forwards are running us a little thin here. We get a much, much needed week off after this one.
Standard mindset at home today.
4': Coggins with a long ball up to Cole, we're in a real dangerous position, he sends it out to Gallardo, cross to the 6 yard box, Roth heads it... somehow wide. I don't see how you miss that.
HALF: And... that was the only highlight. We shoot twice, they shoot once. Ratzburg is in for Roth, both are tired so I knew going in they would split time here. We're going to try to attack harder in the second half.
56': Free kick from near the edge of the box, Cole hits the crossbar with it. Close.
58': They get a breakaway after a defender gets caught out of position (Hernandez I think), Barton rushes out and gets his hands on a shot though and they earn a corner, which we clear.
77': Glaser and Perkins in for Tapia/Shakespeare. We'll look to play more direct and try to get forward faster, and to shoot on sight.
91': Another period of poor positioning leaves an opening for one of their strikers, Barton stops one shot, but there's a rebound and they put it in. 0-1
And that's it. Our first loss of hte year in league play.
Wake Forest 0 : 1 Cape Coral
We just struggled to get anything done here. We did end up shooting 7 times to their 6 but only managed 1 on target all match, a very bland performance, hopefully a wake up call.
We fall to second with the loss but are still 9 points clear of 11th.
We get the regular injury report from our physio, its probably the worst I've seen:
AMR Ian Cooper, MC Mike Wilkins, DR Bob Varela, AMR Dylan Rose are "Close to being ready to return" - but all of these are long term injuries and their fitness is going to suck.
GK Gyan and AMR Ryan Crook are still a few weeks away.
ST Ronnie Navarro, ST Michael Maurer, AML Adrian Salas are all on the long term injury list.
-- Cooper and Wilkins were really just days away from full training, so that's really good to see.
-- Going into the month we have matches scheduled for the 1st, 5th, 8th, 12th, 15th, 20th, and 29th.
-- The board is very pleased with my leadership. Team atmosphere is a positive, a 2-2 draw with Port Charlotte is a negative (really?). We lost $9,940 last month.
July 1st, 2016
Wake Forest Cougars (7-6-1, 2nd) vs Naples Bay FC (4-7-3, 13th)
-- We're only 5:4 favorites here, I guess that's what one loss will do. Good.
A much stronger lineup with Davidson/Fisher. Glaser and Campbell are in b/c their morale is a littler higher than Coggins/Tapia at the moment. We're going to start out attacking.
2': A long ball from Jackson, a clearance really, but Roth gets behind the defense and has it all by himself after a high bounce... he's 1 on 1 with the keeper, but his shot is blocked. Disappointing.
21': We give up a clear cut chance as a striker on a run just isn't tracked by Forrest. They put it high though.
21': Another clear cut chance after the goal kick, some nice dribbling by their striker created an opening, Barton made the save.
35': We get a corner, Fisher ends up with a shot wide.
42': They earn a corner after a cross into the area, Barton is able to catch it though.
47': Another cross in for them, their man holds it up, passes out a a guy at the 20 yard mark, he lobs it forward and a shot comes in from close range, but Barton gets in front of it, seems like our 3rd string keeper is having a pretty good day here.
HALF: They outshoot us 7-5, possession is even, they're slightly better in the air but overall things look incredibly even. We drop back to a standard mindset at the half here.
52': Pickering is injured and he's done for the day. Hernandez is in.
56': A give and go on th right with Fisher and Cole, Fisher ends up with a shot that earns us a corner, which is cleared out.
67': Roth with a free kick from 20 yards, unsure if its a mis-hit or a pass, but he launches it into a crowd, Cole is the first to be able to control it and he shoots and scores! 1-0
77': Their 3rd clear cut chance as a long ball gets a man behind the defense, and its once again on target and once again Barton blocks it.
78': We answer with a clear cut chance of our own very quickly, Roth to Cole who has a great look but puts it well wide.
84': Tapia in for Glaser, Gallardo in for Davidson.
93': They have a pass in from the left side, a striker gets behind our last defender, he doesn't shoot right away, Barton rushes out, the attacker runs left and seems to have a wide open net... but I guess he has poor control of the ball? He overruns it and ends up trying an awful shot from the end line that hits the side netting. They should have tied it up there.
And we luck out and hold on for the 3 points.
Wake Forest 1 : 0 Naples Bay
One of their defenders is man of the match.
Goal: Cole (7.2)
Assist: Roth (6.7)
Notables: Jackson (7.2), Shakesperae (7.1)
Barton ends up with a 6.8 in goal.
-- We jump back up into first with that win.
We will be in the top half after the split. We've been in first place for most of the season, its extremely close but obviously our goal here is going to be to win the league.
-- Dylan Rose and Ryan Crook are back to full training. Along with Cooper and Wilkins coming back a week ago, we're starting to regain some strength.
July 5th, 2016
Old North Cup Semifinal
Wake Forest Cougars vs Carolina RailHawks
-- We sell this one out We are slight 30:1 dogs here. :P
So we field a mostly reasonable lineup here, but its really not as strong as it looks, as I'm using this to get Rose, Wilkins and Cooper match fit again for upcoming league play. We'll defend.
1': One of their mids Valentino picks up a very early yellow.
4': They get another yellow, it was a long name though i missed it as it went by.
34': Damn, Rose goes out hurt. Gallardo is in.
42': They get a long ball behind the defense, and a clear cut chance, but its put over.
45': Corner for Carolina, Williams makes a good tackle to stop the initial shot , but there's a second cross in and its a goal for Carolina. 0-1
HALF: They out-shoot us 10-1, its not quite as close as it looks. Perkins is in for Wilkins.
70': Fisher is in for Cooper, so I get two of my three recently recovered players out of there without hurting themselves.
83': DR Diaz is hurt and must leave the match. We used our subs on more important players so we're down to 10 guys.
87': Arredondo picks up a minor injury.
Wake Forest 0 : 1 Carolina
A couple poor'ish numbers, 6.2's from Diaz and Arredondo, nothing worrisome in this one though, we were never going to win.
DR Diaz is going to miss 4-5 weeks with the injury he picked up today.
ST Arredondo is going to miss 3 weeks with an elbow injury he picked up.
Both of these do hurt our depth noticibly.
We're out of a few cups now though, we're still in the North America Amateur Cup and the Atlantic Coast Cup, but we get to focus a bit more on things now.
North America Amateur Cup - Second Round Draw
We still have to play Palm Bay in the first round, but if we do win, we'll be at home against Queen City SC, a canadian squad in the same tier as us.
July 8th, 2016
Saturn FC (7-6-2, 3rd) vs Wake Forest Cougars (8-6-1, 1st)
-- Saturn is in East Point, GA.
We play a cup match in 4 days but really we have a legit shot to win this league and auto promote, I am not letting up here, we'll play a weaker lineup in the Amateur Cup. Counter attacking on the road today.
10': Cole with a free kick just outside the area, a fair bit right of center, his shot is over the wall and into the upper right corner of the net, great shot! 1-0
13': Hernandez with a good recovery as an attacker gets by Pickering and gets a clear cut chance, Hernandez gets a foot out and blocks it.
22': Fisher with a run down the right and a cross, its a horrible cross, but Cole gets to it near the end line, all he can do is weakly head it at the keeper though... somehow the keeper bobbles it and it slips through his hands and in. Own goal! 2-0
26': Saturn gets their second shot, and second clear cut chance, well wide though.
31': Davidson intercepts a pass near midfield, one pass to Ratzburg, he plays a very nice lob over the defense, they cry for an offsides but its not going to be given, Cole controls it, shoots, and scores! 3-0
38': Shakespeare sends it out wide for Fisher, a cross.. Cols is there and its a clear cut chance, but the keeper makes a nice diving stop, almost got the hat trick! Hernandez with a header off the corner, but wide.
44': They get a bit of a breakaway after a long pass, there's a shot, Barton gets a finger on it, and its just enough to redirect the ball into the post, and it bounces away. Whew.
HALF: We are playing great here!
47': We have a very deep throwin and work it into the area, t hey clear but we recover, Davidson gets it back into the area for Ratzburg, he makes a very nice pass to Cole for a clear cut chance, but the keeper stops it. There's a rebound, it falls to Fisher and he puts it in! 4-0
75': Glaser in for Shakespeare, Gallardo in for Davidson.
78': Saturn gets their 5th clear cut chance of the day and it hits the post.
83': They finally get on the board on a very difficult shot from the far left side of the area. 4-1
89': One more shot at a hat trick for Cole on a long ball from Gallardo, but he can't finish, its wide.
That's it, great win!
Saturn FC 1 : 4 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Colin Cole (9.3)
Goals: Cole 2, Fisher (9.2)
Assists: Fisher 2, Cole, Ratzburg (8.3)
Notables: Barton (7.1), Jackson (7.1), Hernandez (7.0), Pickering (7.2), Rongen (7.1), Davidson (7.3)
Tapia is the only starter not mentioned here, 6.8 for him.
-- Colin Cole was a youth pull this year, he looked good enough to give a shot along with our other strikers, but I never expected this. In 12 league matches, Cole has 7 goals and 3 assists and a 7.18 average rating. In 17 total matches including cup play, make it 10 goals/6 assists.
-- Gyan resumes full training. Barton has done great as a backup, but I'm happy to have him back anyway.
July 12th, 2016
North America Amateur Cup - First Round
Wake Forest Cougars vs Palm Bay Pelicans
Brian Williams gets his first start at MC, he's fallen out a good bit since I am not running a DMC frequently, I've been having him train as a central midfielder and he's ok at it now. With Arredondo, Maurer and Navarro all hurt I give Ben Goodwin a start at striker.
We'll play a standard game here.
16': We've seen two highlights, both shots from Davidson off free kicks, both fairly close but off target.
18': Another davidson free kick, wide.
24': After a lot of possession deep in their end, Rongen sends a pass to Davidson in the left side of the area, he shoots from a tough angle and scores! 1-0
32': We see the first Palm Bay attacking highlight, they put a shot over from 20 yards.
35': Davidson with a long pass ahead to Goodwin, he's behind the defense, has a clear cut chance, but it is from a bit of a wide angle, and he misses.
HALF: We outshoot them 6-2 and appear to be the clear better team here. Possession is even though and it looks like we're relying on superior tackling to prevent them from getting any sort of attacking going.
46': We get a run down the right from Fisher and a cross to Roth right off the start, but Roth just heads it very weakly and their keeper picks it up.
50': A bit of a breakaway after they try to tackle the ball from Roth, he passes ahead to Goodwin but Goodwin's shot is saved easily. Wasn't a clear cut chance for some reason.
56': We pass it around the midfield for a good while, finally Fisher with a great pass into the area for Goodwin, a clear cut chance... saved.
58': Gallardo in for Davidson, Crook in for Fisher, to keep Davidson/Fisher as fresh as possible since Cooper/Rose aren't quite fully strength yet.
70': They build up down the right side, get a pass into the area and its a clear cut chance as Burke is out of position, Barton makes a nice save.
75': Corner for Palm Beach, we clear once, they recover and send it back in but a shot is blocked and cleared.
75': We change to a counterattacking style.
78': They get another corner, taken out to the penalty spot, and volleyed into the net through the crowd of people there. 1-1
79': They get the ball back, passed ahead to a striker 20 yards out, Forrest is right there covering him, Forrest goes for the tackle and he just got straight up beaten 1v1, their striker into the area and drills a shot in. 1-2
79': We'll look to attack.
83': Cole in for Goodwin, for one last push.
84': Williams with a ball ahead to cole, out to Gallardo, he puts a cross into the area, Cole gets his head on it, it hits the crossbar and goes over.
86': We attack hard after winning a ball in midfield, Roth crosses into the area, a clear cut chance for Cole, but pushed away. Rebound to Cole, he's a bit wide right so its a tough angle, and he can't get it by the keeper. Damn!
90': Williams ahead to Cole after a battle in the midfield for the ball, Cole is completely unmarked... but he pulls up from 20 yards to shoot instead of going harder at the keeper. His shot is wide.
92': We again get the ball forward, Cole has it outside the area, he finds Perkins making a run into the box, Perkins chips it over the keeper who rushed out, and scores!!!! 2-2
FULL TIME: Holy crap that was exciting. Cole was everywhere as a super sub in the final 10 minutes. But now, he's got to be out thre for another 30. Ok, well, lets go win it.
We continue to attack. Screw penalties.
95': Jackson to Perkins after a throwin deep in their end, Perkins shoots from outside the area, high.
98': Barton with a long kick, Williams heads it on, Cole wins it over his defender and knocks it forward, he's about 30 yards out at this point, he rushes on to the ball, has his man beaten, shoots and scores! 3-2
105': Gallardo with a pretty awful giveaway in midfield, they rush up ahead, there's a long ball that I thought Barton could have come out for, but didn't. They cross into the area, thre's a shot, off the crossbar and back into play, Barton dove for it, and the rebound gets put into the net. 3-3
On to the second half of extra time.
106': Crook with a really pretty lob into the area for Cole, their defense is back and its crowded, but the keeper had to come over to Cole since it was so close to the goal, Cole lays it off for Roth who puts it in very easily. 4-3
106': We will try to defend this out.
112': They work it into the area for a shot but we have men back and Forrest blocks it.
118': They give the ball away on a pass back from a midfielder to a defender, after a Roth to Cole pass he ends up wtih a clear cut chance, but saved.
We run out the clock from there, wow that was crazy!
Wake Forest 4e : 3 Palm Bay
One of their guys scored two of their goals for man of the match.
Goals: Davidson (7.2), Perkins (7.4), Roth (7.5), Cole (8.2)
Assists: Cole 2, Williams (7.5), Rongen (6.9)
Goodwin with a pretty poor 6.2, if he could have finished once or twice I wouldn't have had to run Cole out there for 45 minutes.
-- We receive $374 for this win.
-- Our next cup match isn't until August. We will finish out the 3 games left before the league split next. We're already in the top half of the split but we're playing to win the league now so every point is critical.
July 15th, 2016
Wake Forest Cougars (9-6-1, 1st) vs Hattiesburg Rebels (7-3-6, 7th)
-- There are 7 teams with either 23 or 24 points right now between 6th and 12th, and one with 25, another with 22, so there's a crazy crazy fight for the top 10 spots in the league, Hattiesburg is mixed up in that.
-- We are 1:6 favorites at home today, ugh.
We are going to attack from the outset, I also try shorter passing and shoot on sight instructions, I dunno about using shoot on sight, I hope that it helps to prevent some of the spots where we just see 35 minutes fly by w/ no highlights, make something happen, etc.
4': Davidson hits Shakespeare on a run into the area for a clear cut chance, but blasted right at the keeper.
8': Fisher with a long cross through to the opposite side of the area, Davidson brings it down fairly well and gets a shot, but off the post.
10': fisher has a cross cleared out but we recover, Jackson feeds it right back forward to Shakespeare, back to the right edge of the box for Fisher, and there's that shoot on sight instruction I guess, he takes a shot instead of centering it, and he floats it above the keeper and itno the back corner of the net! 1-0
14': We build up down the right side, it goes to Cole, who pulls out wide instead of cutting toward sthe goal, he crosses through the 6 yard box.. the keeper *really* should have just picked that up, but he doesn't move, Daivdson is on the receiving end and puts it in. 2-0
31': Fisher ahead to Cole who shoots from the edge of the box, saved. We get a corner, they head it but can't clear, we get a second shot, from Ratzburg, the keeper dives for it and pushes it to the side, where Pickering puts in the rebound! 3-0
34': They get one back on a cross and volly, we had men there and it was a nice shot under a little pressure. 3-1
36': I change to a counterattacking mindset. I was tempted to keep the pressure on as it appears like they are crumbling against it, but I don't want to risk allowing another silly goal, at least before the half.
HALF: Well that strategy worked great, at least in this situation. We get 13 shots to their 2, control 57% of the possession and are just playing spectacularly well. I remove the shoot on sight instruction and change to retain possession, we'll see how this goes.
47': Free kick for Tapia just outside the area, his shot is high.
50': Free kick from the left for Davidson, he crosses in, Cole heads it, saved.
55': Cole with a nice lob ahead to Ratzburg for a clear cut chance, but he can't finish. He should have had that.
62': Roth in for Cole, we play again in 5 days and I want Cole playing then.
64': They cross into the area, shot is blocked behind for a corner. Pickering wins a contested header on the corner to clear.
76': Gallardo in for Fisher, Glaser in for Shakespeare.
91': They shoot a free kick over the bar.
Wake Forest 3 : 1 Hattiesburg
That first half may be the strongest half we've played all year.
Man of the Match: Adam Fisher (8.3)
Goals: Fisher, Davidson (7.2), Pickering (7.4)
Assists: Shakespeare (7.1), Cole (6.8), Ratzburg (6.7)
Solid work from everyone today.
July 20th, 2016
Mayaguez FC (5-2-10, 18th)) vs Wake Forest Cougars (10-6-1, 1st)
-- We played them in the Atlantic Coast Cup earlier in the year and won 3-1. We're even money to win this one, making Mayaguez 11:5.
A few changes today, Bob Varela and Mike Wilkins get their first starts since coming off injuries.
We will use the same instructions from last match, attacking, passing short and shooting on sight.
1': We kick off and get down the field twice only to lose possession, we turn it over in midfield and they have one long pass to a striker who outruns Pickering, gets a clear cut chance from just inside the box and scores. 0-1
6': Fisher with a long ball to Cole, its way wide right though and he tries a shot from a crazy tough angle, wide. Guess I can't complain about that if we use the shoot on sight instruction.
11': A free kick near midfield, after a couple passes Cole sends it into the area for Roth, clear cut chance and a great look really, somehow he misses.
17': I've seen Wilkins try 3 lobs for Cole and all of them given straight to a defender.
18': Davidson into the area for Roth who has another decent look, but wide.
23': They get two strikers moving forward a bit , I keep expecting one to play a through ball to the other, but he doesn't, he just runs straight by Hernandez and scores... damn. 0-2
33': A long ball for them to ST Maldanado, he has both goals so far, he gets behind the D but puts this one wid.e
38': A cross from them to Maldanado, he earns a corner as a shot is blocked. Corner is saved.
39': Roth with another shot well wide.
HALF: The stats are even but they've gotten a couple good goals where we look like shit. Two things kept coming up in higlights, Wilkins giving the ball away and Roth not able to come remotely close to the target. Shakespeare and Ratzburg are in at the half. I go with the aggressive "play better" talk.
72': We have a corner cleared out but recover possession, Shakespeare ahead to Ratzburg in the area, he lays it off to Cole who shoots from the penalty spot and scores! 1-2
75': We build up again and Shakespeare finds Cole for another clear cut chance, but saved. There's a rebound but its pretty wide and Ratzburg can't finish.
80': Throwin real deep for them, there's a pass into the area and a shot, Gyan dives to save it. Corner is cleared, but they recover and send it back into the area, offsides called.
85': Fisher is hurt and must leave the match immediately. Gallardo is in for him.
89': Overload it is!
90': We get a corner, taken poorly right at the keeper and caught.
91': We earn a corner, Shakespeare takes it, earns a second. This one is headed around a few times, before we get our third corner. Next one is cleared.
94': Shakespeare tries a desparate shot from very long range, no luck.
Mayaguez FC 2 : 1 Wake Forest
Perhaps too aggressive early on the road.
Goal: Cole (7.2)
Assist: Ratzburg (6.7)
Wilkins and Roth left with 6.2's. Pickering 6.3. We've played better.
AMR Adam Fisher is going to miss 2-3 months with the injury he picked up today. Crap! Fisher has a 6.97 average in 19 matches played, he's been solid for a 14 year old youth pull. We are very, very close to having access to both Cooper and Crook again, so the timing is good I guess.
North America Amateur Cup - Third Round Draw
-- We still haven't played our second round match. If we win vs Queen City, we will play Potomac in the Colonial Amateur League, the same tier as us.
-- Arredondo begins full training, that'll help with depth up front.
-- Ronnie Navarro resumes full training. Yesss.
-- The 2016 Copa America has been completed. Chile first, Venezuela second, Brazil third, USA fourth.
July 29th, 2016
vs Wake Forest Cougars (10-6-2, 1st) vs Maunabo (9-5-4, 3rd)
-- Obviously a key matchup against the #3 team. Despite this we are listed as big 1:2 favorites. Hopefully that doesn't mean we have complacency issues.
Navarro is match fit, but barely. He'd fall out of fitnes if I didn't play him, so I'll see how he does. Maunabo is led by Lionel Romano, he leads the league in goals with 10 in 15 matches. Cole is #3 on that list with 8. We will close down on Romano and tackle him hard.
Standard mindset, short passing but ditch the shoot on sight order for now.
6': They get a corner, a header.. just barely wide, whew.
8': Forrest heads away a dangerous cross.
15': They control it down the left side, there's a cross to the penalty spot, Romano is there, we have two men near him, Burke tries a header and whiffs, Romano scores. 0-1
19': Our first shot is a difficult one from Crook, well wide.
30': Burke a yellow.
37': A horrid pass from Jackson gives the ball away deep in their defensive end, but they try to pass it through the penalty area to clear, Cole intercepts, shoots... off target.
HALF: We look bad. Real bad. Only 3 shots for each team but they got the one easy one. We need to generate more chances here.
49': Corner for us, taken to the near post, Burke heads it... saved.
55': Burke comes too far out to defend a midfielder and they get an empty hole to pass the ball to Romano, he has a clear cut chance... but hits the crossbar.
58': We tackle the ball away from one striker as he looks to get into the area, but they recover and immediately cross into the 6 yard box and find a very easy finish. 0-2
68': They get another clear cut chance on a cross in from the left, but Gyan saves. We clear the corner.
69': Ratzburg for Navarro, Gallardo for Crook.
73': Ratzburg with a shot from 20 yards out, hits the post, rebound to Cole who puts it in... but offsides.
That's it, we watch them attack in one last highlight and its over.
Wake Forest 0 : 2 Maunabo
I dunno why we're 1:2 favorites over a team that we're only 4 points ahead of, I don't know if we're entering a slump here or if this is the annoying bit of playing like crap when favored.
Cole with a 5.8 today, Burke a 5.7, Campbell 5.9. Real ugly.
We've now played every team once and the league splits in half.
Sucks to be Gainesville, 4 points off of the playoffs but because of just 1 goal they're bottom half instead of top.
We'll play every other team in the top 10 one more time. First though are a couple more cup matches.
-- Michael Maurer resumes full training.
-- We currently are scheduled to play on the 3rd, 10th, 13th, 19th, 28th and 31st. Our first two matches are cup matches (Atlantic Coast Cup and North America Amateur Cup), so the schedule will get busier if we win in either of those.
-- The board is very pleased with my leadership. Our fantastic league performance is a highlight. There is still disappointment over Samir Pace being released back in January... WTF. We lost $14,960 last month.
August 3rd, 2016
Atlantic Coast Cup - Quarterfinal
Montgomery Yellowhammers vs Wake Forest Cougars
-- Montgomery is 18th in our league. We're 2-0-0 lifetime against them, including a 2:0 road win earlier in the season in league play.
-- We are 4:7 favorites here.
We go with backups in many positions here, and we're going to play a counterattacking game on the road with these guys.
16': We have a throwin in their end, we pass it short around the right side near the area, Roth with a pass to Arredondo near the 6 yard box, he shoots and scores! 1-0
22': Montgomery with a through ball to the right side of the area, their shot is wide though.
29': A very quick counter for Montgomery after winning a ball in their own end. A long ball to ST Donnelly who is really fast, but Forrest gets back just in time to block his shot.
44': Clear cut chance for Roth as we intercept a pass in midfield and Arredondo sends it ahead. The shot is saved though, corner goes nowhere.
HALF: We only managed to shoot twice in the first half, but we only allowed 4 shots. Possession is fairly even, we are much better tackling and winning balls in the air though.
47': Ratzburg to Wilkins, Wilkins gets it ahead to Roth who has a clear cut chance.. but saved. Roth could have finished that, but Wilkins really made a poor pass, Roth had tons of space in front of him but the pass was behind him and made him slow down for it.
60': We watch a long highlight that involves Gallardo giving the ball away three separate times, they finally get it forward and get a shot from 20 yards, its a dangerous one but saved by Garcia.
68': Gallardo with a first touch pass to Roth as we work the ball around the offensive end. Roth is in a great position and scores! 2-0
70': A poor clearance attempt from Varela gives them a solid look in the area, Burke blocks it though, corner goes nowhere.
72': Cooper in for Arredondo, Perkins in for Wilkins. Cooper's first appearance since a very long injury.
73': A long ball out of our half is chased down by Ratzburg, he outran a defender who should have been there first, Ratzburg crosses into the area and Roth heads it in, very nice! 3-0
82': They earn a corner, we head the first one behind, second corner is cleared by Glaser.
86': Varela heads a cross behind for a corner, Gallardo heads the second one behind for another, we clear that one out.
Montgomery 0 : 3 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Leon Roth (9.4)
Goals: Roth 2, Arredondo (7.6)
Assists: Roth, Ratzburg (7.5), Gallardo (8.4)
Notables: Garcia (7.0), Varela (7.6), Forrest (7.8), Burke (7.0), Rongen (7.4), Wilkins (7.5), Glaser (7.0)
The entire starting 11 is over 7.0 today.
-- We get $19,370 for winning this one. We're on to the semifinals of this tournament, thanks in part to some good draws along the way. Two of the three teams left are in the division above us.
Atlantic Coast Cup - Semifinal Draw
We're going to be going on the road, but it is going to be against the one team left in our current division, the Valdosta Victory. The other semifinal is Atlanta FC vs CASL Chelsea, both a division above us. Valdosta is second in the league right now so that will add some excitement to the matchup.
-- We won't play them until late September.
-- MC Ashley Sandoval is hurt in a reserve match, 2-3 weeks.
-- DL Coggins is hurt in the same reserve match, 2 weeks.
Coggins shouldn't have been playing in that match, I must have overlooked something when it asked me about making players available.
August 10th, 2016
North America Amateur Cup - Second Round
Wake Forest Cougars vs Queen City SC
-- We'd love to win this but we play a critical league match in 3 days, so that takes priority.
-- Queen City is 3rd in the All American Amateur League, same tier as us.
The rare start for Ben Goodwin. Otherwise, lots of backups/interchangable players.
Standard mindset at home.
2': Extremely pretty play. A ball ahead from Rongen, volleyed back by Goodwin to Perskins. Perkins back ahead to Goodwin, another first touch pass, this time to Roth in the perfect position, and he scores! 1-0
7': They have a corner, its headed in the area about 5 times before we finally get a clearance.
12': A long shot from Williams is strong and on target, but saved.
12': We switch to counterattacking.
19': They pass it around in front of goal for awhile before getting a clear cut chance from 18 yards out, but a shot is just high.
21': They even things up, a nice cross to the far post from the right side, easy header and goal. 1:1
21': Back to standard play for us.
31': Perkins with a yellow.
36': Hernandez with a goal saving block on a shot after a through ball, Gyan rushed out for it and ended up way out of position.
HALF: They have slight edges in possession, shots taken, and passing. We are better in the air and are tackling well. The big problem I suppose is that they've generated 3 easy chances, and we're lucky to have only allowed one in.
50': Yellow for Hernandez
52': Their fourth clear cut chance comes after a long ball, again our defense recovers pretty well to challenge the shot, and Gyan gets in front of it. THey earn a corner, which is taken poorly.
54': They get numbers forward after an interception and get clear cut chance #5, its wide.
59': After a throwin there's a cross into a crowded penalty area, Goodwin tries to shoot but blocked.
66': Crook intercepts a pass to start a break, ahead to Roth, ahead to Goodwin, he gets a decent look from 18 yards out, trie to chip it over the keeper rushing out.... hits the crossbar. Close.
88': We make three changes to try to get an edge in extra time. Navarro in for Goodwin, Cooper in for Crook, Glaser in for Williams.
FULL TIME: They seem like the better team today, but we've still got a chance.
104': they get a cross into the area and attempt a shot, but blocked.
HT ET: on to the second half of extra time. Our guys are exhausted. They are too i'm sure.
107': Gallardo ahead to Roth for a shot, but highly contested and Roth puts it over. Just nice to see an offensive highlight!
109': Varela starts a break with an interception, ahead to Cooper, long run down the right, a cross... Navarro shoots, but its blocked, corner. Gallardo with the corner, Navarro with a header towards the goal, keeper blocks it but can't hold it, Pickering is there to put in the rebound! 2-1
109': Lets defend this one out, and hold on to the ball more.
119': Roth to Navarro for a shot from 20 yards, just wide.
We hang on to the lead!
Wake Forest 2e : 1 Queen City
Man of the Match: Joe Pickering (8.4)
Goals: Pickering, Roth (7.3)
Assists: Gallardo (6.8), Goodwin (6.7)
Notables: Hernandez (7.0), Rongen (7.0)
Most of the defense are given good marks, Varela a 6.5 is the big exception. We got very lucky here, we allowed tons of easy looks and they just didn't convert.
-- The draw for the third round has already taken place, we will travel to play Potomac in a week. They're in the same tier as us.
-- We receive $746 for winning this one.
August 13th, 2016
Wake Forest Cougars (10-6-3, 1st) vs Maunabo (10-5-4, 3rd)
-- We lost to these guys in our last league match just a few weeks ago, 2:0, also at home. We are again listed as 1:2 favorites, pretty silly imo.
Counterattacking mindset from the start today.
8'; Yellow for midfielder Sanchez.
18': Davidson with a pass into the left side of the area for Shakespeare, he shoots, and its a pretty arcing shot into the back corner, very difficult! 1-0
21': They get a cross into the area in a very dangerous spot, Forrest blocks a shot though, corner. Forrest also heads the corner away.
33': Davidson plays a beautiful long ball into the area for Ratzburg, he's tackled... but no penalty given, bullshit! Cleared out, but back to Davidson, he sends another cross in, Cole is able to get to it and puts it in, but offsides.
34': Cole with a quick shot from 25 yards out, saved. Corner is cleared.
37': They get a man wide open in the box after a cross, its shot to the near side of the goal, Gyan makes a great diving stop.
HALF: Maunabo have outshot us 7-2, but they've only put 2 shots on target, the same as us. Our goal from Shakespeare really was a bit spectacular though, so we feel lucky. I'm not sure we can sit back and look to counter all match, but we will at least start the second half that way.
49': Cole gets a little space for a close range shot, but saved. Corner goes nowhere.
50': I add the "exploit the left flank" instruction, Davidson is so much better than Arredondo, lets get it to his side whenever we can.
57': A Tapia free kick earns us a corner, we get a header off it but nothing threatening.
73': We give up a corner, but it could have been worse, Burke made a quick move to block a shot, they can't do anything on the corner.
74': We change to a 4-1-4-1 to try to hold this lead. Crook in for Arredondo, Crook is better at MR. Tapia to DMC, Glaser in for Ratzburg to add the extra midfielder that we need.
78': We are passing it around the midfield, all of a sudden Shakespeare makes a run, Davidson lobs it ahead to him, Shakespeare stays strong and gets past one tackle attempt, recovers and shoots from the edge of the box and scores! 2-0
That'll do it!
Wake Forest 2 : 0 Maunabo
So much better than the last time we played.
Man of the Match: Brian Davidson (8.9)
Goals: Shakespeare 2 (8.8)
Assists: Davidson 2
Notables: Jackson (7.1), Forrest (7.2), Burke (7.4)
I'm really happy to see Davidson man of the match over the goal scorer, from the highlights I saw Davidson was definitely the key guy here.
-- Valdosta loses today, so we gain a little breathing room:
1. Wake Forest - 39 points
2. Valdosta - 35 points
3. Maunabo - 35 points
4. Saturn FC - 33 points
5. Cape Coral - 33 points
6. Lexington - 31 points
4 points clear in 1st place, 8 points clear for a playoff spot. 8 matches to go.
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