August 17th, 2016
North America Amateur Cup - Third Round
Potomac vs Wake Forest Cougars
Potomac is in our tier in the Colonial league system.
We're going on 4 days rest and play again in 3 more days, so we swap out literally our entire lineup here. Counterattacking on the road.
7': We build up down the left side and get a number of men fowrard, Williams with a ball into the area for Roth, he controls it, lays it off to Gallardo who shoots and scores! Nice play from Roth to make the extra pass there. 1-0
19': We get a counterattack going, Navarro sends it out left to Gallardo, ahead to Roth, he tries a shot, but blocked.
31': Williams wins a ball in our end, quickly to midfield for Roth, he sends it long for Navarro, who breaks behidn the defense. He's got a great look, clear cut chance, but its well wide, poorly taken.
HALF: We are dominating here, 60% possession, 5 shots to 1, far better passing/tackling/heading. We just need to not lapse and give up a poor goal.
54': They get a cross and easy goal, but, their man was miles offsides.
56': This time, no offsides. Their ST de la Rose gets open in the area, Garcia gets a hand on the shot but its in. 1-1
58': They send a cross in, but Hernandez heads it out. They recover and work their offense again, a striker just sprints by Hernandez to receive a pass and easily pokes it in. 1-2
70': We'll attack to try to get even here.
82': Garcia catches an errant cross and kicks it long. Williams at midfield, ahead to Roth, Roth sends it left to Gallardo, he makes a run into the area, gets his own chance, and scores!! 2-2
82': Cooper and Perkins in for Crook and Wilkins.
FULL TIME: Potomac played much, much better in the second half, but we got even and can still advance.
We watch one corner kick, only highlight of the first 15 minutes.
119': Leon Roth picks up a minor injury, ugh.
On to penalties, nothing at all happened in the extra time.
Brian Williams misses our first penalty kick. That would usually mean this is a done deal b/c penalties are weird in FM14, but they miss their 3rd penalty wide, so its 2-2 after 3 kicks each.
After 5 shots each we're tied at 4 and have to keep going.
I'm worried when Roth steps up for our 7th kick, his fitness went to shit when he got hurt, but he scores. After 8 kicks we're tied at 7.
Both keepers score on the 11th round, 10-10 and back to the start.
After 15 kicks its 14-14.
The 17th kick taken by Potomac is saved by Garcia, he dove the right way and got his hands on it! DR Bob Varela steps up with a chance to win the game, and does so.
This is so silly.
Potomac (15) 2 : 2p (16) Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Jeff Gallardo (8.8)
Goals: Gallardo 2
Assists: Roth 2 (7.6)
Varela with a 5.9 in defense, Wilkins and Crook 6.4's.
This is probably the first time I've ever been impressed by Jeff Gallardo, he's been a deep bench option for me for 2 years now
-- We receive $3,730 for this win.
ST Leon Roth has a hamstring injury that will keep him out 5-6 weeks. Assuming he needs some practice time to re-gain match fitness after he comes back, he may not play again this year.
Roth has been a secondary option in league play, just 2 goals in 7 matches, but he's started 10 times in various cups and has been an absolute beast, scoring 8 goals and making 6 assists in those 10 matches.
North America Amateur Cup - Fourth Round
We're down to 16 teams here, as we hope to make deep runs in both the Atlantic Coast Cup and this Amateur Cup this season. We're going to have to play on the road in the next round, against Montgomery County of the All American Amateur League, same tier as us.
That match will be on the 31st, we've got two league matches between now and then.
August 20th, 2016
Port St. Lucie Galleons (7-6-7, 10th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (11-6-3, 1st)
-- We are slim 5:4 favorites here. Our first match earlier in the season was a draw.
We'll counterattack, its working. I go ahead with the "exploit the left flank" instruction out of the gate.
1': They attack immeidately, building up quickly, a cross comes in from the left to the far post, they have two men there competing to head it in, one guy gets it, easy goal. 0-1
17': We get a shot off a corner, saved easily.
29': We have a throwin in their end, Davidson gets a shot from a tough angle, but saved.
30': We're going to attack the rest of the half.
43': Ratzburg hits Cole who has a clear cut chance at the edge of the box, he can't beat the keeper, saved.
46': They get a quick counter after a bad pass by Arredondo, there's a long ball to ST Johnson he's well behind our defense and has a very easy goal. 0-2
HALF: Awful game for us so far. I tell the team I think they're playing like shit and we will continue trying to attack.
58': Davidson is out near midfield, plays a long ball into the area for Cole, he has a good look, keeper rushed out though to cut off his angles, and its saved.
71': Well this is over. A cross in from the left, easy header, easy goal for them. Just not our day. 0-3
73': They do the exact same thing, run down the left, cross, header. 0-4
73': Goodwin in for Cole, Rose and Cooper in for Davidson and Arredondo, both are still struggling with fitness after countless injuries.
That'll do it. Lets get the hell out of here and forget this happened.
Port St Lucia 4 : 0 Wake Forest
Its really hard to play when you give up a goal 30 seconds into a match, but boy did we fail everywhere here.
5.6 Forrest, 5.9 Burke, 5.6 Campbell. Cole with one of his worst games at 6.1.
They actually only managed to shoot 5 times, and only 1 was a clear cut chance, but they converted everything.
1. Wake Forest - 39 points
2. Valdosta - 35 points
3. Maunabo - 35 points - 1 less match played
4. Saturn FC - 34 points
5. Cape Coral - 34 points
6. Jacksonville - 31 points
7. Lexington - 31 points - 1 less match played
Maunabo and Lexington have a game in hand, a Maunabo win would bring them to within 1 point of us. Valdosta lost again though so that helps us.
-- Ronnie Navarro twists a knee in training and is out 4-5 weeks... probably done for the year. Losing him and Roth within a week of each other really, really hurts.
-- ST Don Saunders is hurt and out 5-6 weeks. I normally wouldn't mention this, but well, he's a striker. All of a sudden we don't have a whole hell of a lot of those.
August 26th, 2016
Wake Forest Cougars (11-6-4, 1st) vs Hattiesburg Rebels (9-3-9, 9th)
-- We beat them 3:1 at our place back in July.
With such limited depth up front, we'll go back to the formation that we used all of last year, 1 striker and a DMC.
Standard mindset today.
4': A nice cross from Crook to Cole sees him put it in the net, but he was offsides.
11': Free kick for Davidson just outside the area, he shoots, high.
31': Throwin in their end, we work it to the opposite side of the field, and back again, but lose it before we can attack. they counter quickly and get a man up for a shot, but saved easily.
39': Crook earns us a corner with a cross attempt, corner goes nowhere.
43': We are dominating possession but they have 4 shots to our 1, here we see one go way wide.
HALF: We just aren't looking all that great, all the possession but we can't put it together. One of the coaching notes is that Cole is making lots of errors. I don't really want to bring him off though.
50': They have a corner, taken far post, a header is blocked... another header for them, blocked again. WHEW.
61': They have a corner, cleared and we coutner. Crook ahead to Shakespeare, ahead to Davidson... offsides.
65': Jackson ahead to Crook, their defense is back... but a defender just falls over, slipped in the rain I guess. Crook walks into the area, takes a clear cut chance, and scores it! 1-0
66': Lots of passing through the middle for us, a poor pass is cleared but we regain control and go up the middle again, Shakespeare puts a nice through ball into the area on the right side, Crook shoots from basically the same spot as his last goal, and its the same result, goal! 2-0
67': Hernandez in for Burke
73': Lets defend.
83': Free kick from Tapia, he crosses into the area , Forrest with a header, it hits a defender, falls to Davidson and Davidson puts it in! 3-0
That's it, good recovery from our last match where we got crushed 4:0.
Wake Forest 3 : 0 Hattiesburg
Man of the Match: Ryan Crook (8.9)
Goals: Crook 2, Davidson (7.9)
Assists: Jackson (8.1), Shakespeare (7.9)
Notables: Gyan (7.0), Forrest (7.5), Campbell (7.5), Williams (7.2), Tapia (7.1)
Burke and Cole are the only two not to get 7's out of the starting 11.
6 matches to play unless otherwise noted:
1. Wake Forest - 42 pts
2. Valdosta - 38 pts
3. Saturn - 37 pts
4. Maunabo - 35 pts - 8 left
5. Cape Coral - 34 pts
6. Jacksonville - 31 pts - 7 left
7. Lexington - 31 pts - 8 left
Maunabo could get to 41 points, just 1 behind us, with their two games in hand.
-- Maunabo make one of their matches up and win it, so they're 4 points behind us with a match in hand now.
August 31st, 2016
North America Amateur Cup - Fourth Round
Montgomery County vs Wake Forest Cougars
-- We're actually underdogs against a team in the same tier as us, Montgomery are even money favorites.
We have a week between matches after this and Ratzburg/Cole has been pretty great up front for us. We'll look to counter today.
20': They work the ball forward slowly after a midfield free kick, a cross into the area, a shot from very close range, but two defenders there, one blocks it and it goes behind for a corner, which we clear.
26': Cole to Ratzburg for a shot, its usually the other way around, Ratzburg's shot is blocked and its a corner, which goes nowhere.
30': Goal kick from Gyan, Wilkins heads it on to Cole, Cole ahead to Ratzburg immediately, he shoots and scores from the top of the circle! 1-0 Solid finish.
31': Campbell with a hard tackle just outside the area, its a yellow for him. The free kick is on target, Gyan jumps up to turn it over the bar. Corner is held by Gyan.
HALF: They outshoot us 5-3, and one of their plays was pretty dangerous though we did have a lot of men back at the time. But we've got the goal.
49': There's a pass by our last defender to a striker, that's going to be a clear look from inside the area, Gyan rushes out, and the shot is taken weakly right at Gyan, saved.
62': Cole to Ratzburg again, he shoots from 20 yards, well wide.
71': A long throw from Jackson... like, just on our side of midfield, it goes by everyone and starts to roll towards the penalty area, Ratzburg beats everyone to it, chips it over the keeper, goal! 2-0
71': Cooper in for Crook, Perkins in for Wilkins.
76': Yellow for Hernandez
78': Williams with a yellow.
81': Throwin deep in our end, headed forward by Davidson to Ratzburg, he passes to Cole and Cole has all the space in the world... he pulls up and shots from 20 yards out instead of attacking further, saved easily.
82': They get a pass ahead to a striker and Hernandez is just standing there watching it happen, guy goes by our defense and scores easily. 2-1
91': Perkins ahead to Cole, over to Ratzburg for our 5th clear cut chance of the match, but this one is saved. Corner generates a shot but its wide.
92': Ratzburg earns us a corner from a cross, Cooper takes it, earns a second corner, Davidson takes this one, to Pickering, but its almost over, he sends it back to Davidson, he gives it away but its too late.
Montgomery 1 : 2 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Patrick Ratzburg (8.8)
Goals: Ratzburg 2
Assists: Cole (6.9), Jackson (7.1)
Notables: Wilkins (7.1)
Hernandez takes the blame for the goal and gets a 6.3. Davidson had an off game for him, 6.5.
-- We get $11,190 for winnign here today.
-- Ratzburg had played over 10 hours without scoring before this, but honestly I didn't notice. At one point he was leading the Atlantic Coast Amateur League in assists.
-- A couple weeks ago Port St Lucie crushed us 4:0. Well, they just did the same thing to Maunabo while we were playing in this cup match. There was a mostly full slate of league matches today, so we actually have the game in hand now:
1. Wake Forest - 42 points - 6 left
2. Valdosta - 41 points - 5 left
3. Maunabo - 38 points - 6 left
4. Saturn - 37 points - 6 left
5. Port St Lucie - 36 points - 5 left
6. Cape Coral - 34 points - 6 left
7. Hattiesburg - 33 points - 5 left
8. Jacksonville - 31 points - 5 left
9. Lexington - 31 points - 7 left
Everyone but the Carolina Giants in 10th place has a real shot at making the playoffs still. Port St Lucie has stormed up into contention after crushing us and Maunabo.
We still sit in first of course but Valdosta is there if we slip up. We're in great shape to make the playoffs, but we've sat in first for so long, anything but 1st would be real disappointing now.
-- Hernandez is at his yellow card limit, which is only 2 which is silly but whatever. He'll miss our next match
-- We play on the 6th, 9th, 14th (North America Cup), 17th, 21st(atlantic cup), 24th, and 30th.
-- We play #2 Valdosta twice in a row, in the Atlantic Coast Cup on the 21st, and again on the 24th in league play.
-- The board is very pleased with our leadership. Locker room atmosphere is a positive. AML Dylan Rose is a negative.. he's been hurt so much he hasn't really bit fit all year. We made $15,670 last month.
North America Amateur Cup - Quarterfinal Draw
-- We get a home match against the Galveston Hurricane on the 14th. They're in the same tier as us. I think all of the Academy style teams have promoted up to semi-pro status, so we have as good a shot as anyone else to win this tournament.
September 6th, 2016
Wake Forest Cougars (12-6-4, 1st) vs Cape Coral Iguanas (10-4-8, 6th)
-- We lost 1:0 at home to these guys back in June.
Michael Maurer is another promising youngster who hasn't gotten as much of a chance as he deserves so far, so we work him in here. He's right on the edge of match fitness. If I sit him he has to play another reserve match and delays his entry into our rotation by another week... so screw it, he's playing.
More importantly, that's Ian Cooper in the starting lineup! We will start out counterattacking.
12': Maurer to Cole for a decent look 18 yards out, his shot is high though.
15': They take a goal kick, Cole wins the header, Maurer gets behind the defense as he runs onto the ball, he's got a clear cut chance... the keeper gets a hand to it, it goes almost striaght up in the air... and hits the crossbar.
19': We pass down the left side, Davidson plays a through ball for Maurer, he makes a good run to get to it, a step inside the area a bit on the left side, aims for the right side of the goal, and scores!! 1-0
22': We see Cape Coral's first offensive highlight, a nice pass to generate a decent look, but high.
31': Davidson with a corner, cleared out. We recover and work it forward again, Cole to Maurer... he's offsides, just barely, too bad b/c he would have scored there.
40': Davidson with a corner, lofted high into the 6 yard box, Forrest is there and gets up to win the header, goal! The keeper should have just caught that. 2-0
42': We pass it around for a long while, Coggins finally with a cross, MAurer controls it with his chest, shoots, but its high.
HALF: We only have 51% of the possession, but we've got 10 shots to their 1. We seem to be strongly in control here.
52': Oh lord. Cole picks up a minor injury.
55': Cole ahead to Cooper after an interception, that's a wide open look, but Cooper can't score, saved.
58': Wilkins in for Cole, before he gets hurt worse. I'm sure he's done for the year anyway with my luck. Tapia to DMC, Wilkins MC, just Maurer up front.
73': Jackson with a horrible giveaway after a throwin, they earn a corner on their counterattack, but we clear it out. Mainly wrote that up to call out Jackson, disgusting passing.
76': Goodwin on for Maurer, who is exhausted. Gallardo in for Cooper, he's still not quite fit to go all out for 90 minutes.
80': Their best look of the match so far on a through ball to the right side, but its wide.
85': Corner taken by Davidson, Gallardo wins the header, but wide.
90': Goodwin with a ball deep in the area, Davidson runs it down at the end line, controls it, passes back to Goodwin who has an easy shot from 6 yards out, goal! 3-0
We end up with 16 shots to 4 for Cape Coral, dominating performance today.
Wake Forest 3 : 0 Cape Coral
Man of the Match: Brian Davidson (9.1)
Goals: Goodwin (7.3), Maurer (7.1), Forrest (8.0)
Assists: Davidson 3
Notables: Gyan (7.2), Jackson (7.6), Pickering (7.2), Coggins (7.5), Shakespeare (7.2)
Tapia, Cole and Cooper with ratings under 7. Cooper struggled but its his first match in months. Davidson was spectacular.
-- Colin Cole will miss 6-9 days after an awkward fall. I can deal with a week.
Only a few teams played today, so the standings even out some.
5 left unless otherwise mentioned:
1. Wake Forest - 45 points
2. Valdosta - 41 points
3. Maunabo - 38 points
4. Saturn - 37 points - 6 left
5. Port St Lucie - 36 points
6. Lexington - 34 points - 6 left
7. Cape Coral - 34 points
8. Hattiesburg - 33 points
9. Jacksonville - 31 points
There's a fair chance our head to head matchup with Valdosta coming up in a couple weeks could allow us to clinch 1st place.
I hadn't looked before, but I do have to note that 4 of our last 5 are on the road, including the Valdosta match.
The end of the season is in sight, so I'm itching to get through the next couple months and see if we can promote.
September 9th, 2016
Saturn FC (4th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (13-6-4, 1st)
-- We crushed Saturn 4:1 on the road back in July. That's the last time they lost a match, 2 wins and 4 draws in league play since then.
-- This is the third match in a row where we are randomly listed as underdogs, I'll take it.
Arredondo starts in Cole's spot. We're going on 3 days rest so lots of changes here. Dylan Rose has only managed 3 appearances in our last 20 (going back to June 11th, 3 months). He got hurt in two of those...
9': Arredondo takes a corner to the far post, Hernandez is there, volleys it, and its in! 1-0
19': Varela with a long throw from our own end, Arredondo is on it, sends it up to Ratzburg immediately, Ratzburg shoots, but wide, its considered a clear cut chance b/c he got by his man I guess but that would have been a nice finish.
23': A Burke header starts a counter for us, Shakespeare to Ratzburg to Arredondo, another clear cut chance, this one looks a lot more promising, but he shoots it right at the keeper. Saved.
38': Shakespeare wins a ball in midfield and sets up the counterattack, one pass ahead to Ratzburg, he is about 45 yards out, sends it up ahead for Arredondo, he's got all kinds of room, he controls it, comes forward, takes his time, and easily beats the keeper. Very nice. Way too often my guys freak out in these 1 on 1s, Arredondo looked composed. 2-0
HALF: We look really good here. We generate 8 shots to their 2, 3 of ours are clear cut chances. We are dominant in the air as well, and many of our offensive highlights started with us winning a header to take possession.
I bring Wilkins in for Shakespeare, hopefully not too early to make this move. He played 3 days ago so its best if he doesn't go 90, but I really wanted him in here with all the other backups I have playing in my attacking spots (basically everyone but Ratzburg).
48': Arredondo with a yellow for diving.
52': We win a ball in midfield after a goal kick, Varela ahead to Crook, Crook with a long run, cross, Ratzburg heads it, goal! 3-0
59': They get a little space in the area and get a shot off, but Gyan stops it.
60': Goodwin in for Ratzburg.
71': Arredondo with a corner, taken near post to Burke, he heads it... off the post, can't believe he didn't score there.
76': Crook with a free kick from out right, just outside the area, he shoots and its just wide.
Saturn FC 0 : 3 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Patrick Ratzburg (8.7)
Goals: Ratzburg, Arredondo (8.4), Hernandez (8.0)
Assists: Ratzburg, Arredondo, Crook (7.9)
Notables: Varela (7.6), Burke (7.8), Williams (7.0)
Rose with a 6.7 but he lasted 90 minutes without getting hurt, so I'm happy. Shakespeare was average before he went out, Gyan just under 7 (6.9), and Campbell a 6.6, the only guy who didn't really come up big in defense I guess, but today it wasn't needed.
Maunabo beats Valdosta in a huge match that gives us a large lead.
1. Wake Forest - 48 points - 4 left
2. Valdosta - 41 points - 4 left
3. Maunabo - 41 points - 4 left
4. Port St Lucie - 39 points - 4 left
5. Saturn FC - 37 points - 5 left
6. Hattiesburg - 36 points - 4 left
7. Lexington - 34 points - 5 left
8. Cape Coral - 34 points - 4 left
We play a cup match next.
-- Navarro and Roth both resume full training. Roth could probably play as soon as he's rested. Navarro may only need 1 match with the reserves to be ready. I had feared worse for both of them.
September 14th, 2016
North America Amateur Cup - Quarterfinals
Wake Forest Cougars (1st, ACAL) vs Galveston Hurricane (9th, AAAL)
-- We are giant favorites todya, 1:6 to win, against the 9th place team from a team in the same tier as us.
-- We will look to counterattack again, we'll see how that works at the start. I'm playing a lot of backups today, with another league match in 3 days I am taking no chances. Perhaps I should be trying a little harder to win this tournament (coulda kept Gyan in, played Tapia and Davidson and Shakespeare and Ratzburg but risked not having them for the next league match).
17': We win a ball in midfield to start an attack, there's a pass down to Cooper, a cross.. it hits a defender and deflects in! I'm *pretty* sure the intended target of the cross was offsides, so we got lucky? 1-0
31': Maurer to Goodwin for a clear cut chance, he shoots from 18 yards... just wide.
37': Maurer out wide to Cooper, his cross is headed away, to Wilkins, ahead to Goodwin for a goal.. . but offsides.
40': Cooper has a corner cleared, then a cross cleared, no luck getting anything in there today so far that isn't off a defender.
44': They earn a corner off a cross, Hernandez clears the corner.
HALF: We have 4 shots to their 0, but all that matters so far is an own goal. Our defense is playing well.
52': Hernandez with a yellow. He'll miss the next match. He would have sat for Forrest anyway.
69': Cooper with a pass to Gallardo, he makes a move to get inside the area and shoot, but well off target.
73': Cooper to Maurer to Goodwin, a clear cut chance after Goodwin cuts inside of his defender, but the defender slides to block the shot.
78': Cooper with a corner, into the 6 yard box, Burke gets up and heads it in! 2-0
81': Gary Glaser is hurt and must leave the match immediately. Brian Williams is in. I also bring Leon Roth in for Maurer, to get him a little time.
87': Cooper with a really nice cross to the foot of Roth, his shot is saved though. We earn a corner, which is cleared out.
We are on fire!
Wake Forest 2 : 0 Galveston
Man of the Match: Mike Wilkins (8.0)
Goals: Burke (7.7)
Assists: Varela (7.4), Cooper (7.5)
Notables: Coggins (7.3), Glaser (7.0), Goodwin (7.0)
Wilkins was 76/102 passing with 5 key passes, no one else has more than 60 pass attempts. He also won 9 of 10 headers and had 8 interceptions. Guess that's how you get man of the match without being involved in a goal!
-- We get $29,840 for this win. We're on to the semifinals!
North America Amateur Cup - Semifinal Draw
We draw the weakest team left, the Jackson Red Shirts of the Appalachain Premier League, that's the division we promoted up from. The other semi is McLean Youth Soccer vs California Development Academy. So I guess there was one academy team left. They don't look unbeatable.
This will be on the 28th of September. We play 5 matches in 14 days starting with our next match. Two cup matches/3 league matches.
-- Whoa, huge day. Most of the league matches were on the 16th, our game was bumped back to the 17th due to our last cup match. Maunabo and Valdosta BOTH lost on the 16th. Port St Lucie is on a roll and is now up to 2nd. We can't clinch 1st today but we can put ourselves 9 points ahead of Port St Lucie with 3 to play so 1 point going our way anywhere would win us the league.
September 17th, 2016
Carolina Giants (10th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (1st)
-- We beat Carolina 3:1 back in May. We are 1:3 favorites.
Cole is back from his short injury. I hold Tapia and Davidson out again to try to start up a little rotation for this next two week stretch.
We'll counterattack, why not.
6': A nice Campbell clearance starts our offense, we can't get a fast counter, but we do build up and get a shot from Rose that their keeper has to dive for. We get a corner out of it but can't do anythign with it.
14': They get a strong shot from 18 yard sout, Gyan with a good stop.
16': Free kick from Crook from the edge of the area, hilariously bad shot attempt.
24': They win a ball in midfield off a goal kick and attack quickly, they get 3 men forward and our defense is a bit slow getting in position. A pass in from the left and a clear cut chance, they score. 0-1
24': Standard mindset.
43': A kick from Gyan after a save, up to Crook near midfield, he makes a run and slides it ahead to Shakespeare, a cross to Cole, header.. just wide.
44': Corner for Rose, taken to the near post, Pickering with a header... saved. Damn.
HALF: I tell the team they suck and they're motivated. We are outshooting them 8-3.
61': Cole with a shot on a free kick, but wide.
69': Davidson is in for Rose, so much for saving him for the next match.
76': Campbell is hurt and must leave the match immediately. Burke is in for him (he can play DL and DC)
76': We'll try to attack.
79': They win a ball in our end and coutner quickly, a long pass down the right, another long pass to a forward who makes a nice move and gets a clear ctu chance in the area, its a goal. 0-2
That'll do it.
Carolina 2 : 0 Wake Forest
Crook with a 6.0, everyone else is in normal ranges for a loss like this. Forrest a 6.3, a bit lower than the rest of the defense.
We did outshoot them 13-5, but we had a lot of trouble putting anything on target today, the highlights we saw were mostly just wild shots nowhere near the net. Maybe a one off game.
We're still in amazing shape despite the loss:
1. Wake Forest - 48 points - 3 left
2. Port St Lucie - 42 points - 3 left
3. Valdosta - 41 points - 3 left
4. Maunabo - 41 points - 3 left
5. Saturn FC - 40 points - 4 left
6. Hattiesburg - 39 points - 3 left
7. Lexington - 37 points - 4 left
We can go down to Georgia and stay there for a week. Our next two matches are both on the road at Valdosta. The first one will be the Atlantic Coast Cup Semifinals, the second a league match.
-- I forgot to mention it after the last match, David Campbell is going to miss 3 months with an injury he picked up in the last match, so he's done until we start training for next season.
September 21st, 2016
Atlantic Coast Cup Semifinals
Valdosta Victory (3rd, ACAL) vs Wake Forest Cougars (1st, ACAL)
-- We beat Valdosta 2:1 at their place back in April. We're 4:7 favorites today as the random odds continue.
Backups at DL/DR, one of our MC's, one of our ST's. I think its a pretty solid linep though. We'll counterattack on the road.
16': They get a through ball to the left side for a clear cut chance, Rongen does a nice job recovering to block it though.
18': ugghh, cooper with a minor injury.
35': Davidson with a cross to the far side of the 6 yard box, Roth is there for a volley, but its right at the keeper, there's a rebound, Cooper is there to follow up and he puts it in! 1-0
37': Maurer to Roth for a goal but he's so far offsides its almost not worth typing anything.
HALF: Its a pretty boring half, we outshoot them 4-1, both teams are tackling well and that seems to be limiting chances on both sides.
68': Cooper with a horrible giveaway in our half to start their attack, a cross in from the right, Pickering with a nice header, but they recover, send it back out right, there's another cross immediately, and this time they get the headed goal. 1-1
74': We work it up the middle after winning a goal kick, Maurer finds Roth at the penalty spot and he slams it in! 2-1
81': They try a shot from 20 yards out, just high.
82': They win it after our goal kick, quickly advance and try another shot from 25 yards, its strong and on target, Gyan has to dive to stop it. They get a corner but can only manage a poor shot wide after it.
82': Defensive mindset.
Valdosta 1 : 2 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Leon Roth (7.9)
Goals: Roth, Cooper (7.2)
Assists: Roth, Maurer (6.7)
Notables: Hernandez (7.0), Rongen (7.0)
Hopefully a sign of things to come in our next league match.
-- Atlanta FC beats CASL Chelsea in the other semifinal, we will meet Atlanta in the finals of the Atlantic Coast Cup.
-- We receive $48,430 for this win. Good money but at least in this tournament you have to basically go all the way to get it.
-- no injury for Ian Coooper, whew.
-- Lets play Valdosta again, this time trying to promote.
-- The day before our match Maunabo and Port St Lucie both win, keeping the pressure on us to perform. This means we can't clinch 1st quite yet.
September 24th, 2016
Valdosta Victory (12-5-8, 4th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (14-6-5, 1st)
-- We're now 2-0-0 lifetime against Valdosta, lets make it 3!
Cole has been struggling a bit lately, I really want to see how Navarro can do, his match fitness isn't where I want though, so he may just play a half.
3': first shot of the match is theirs, a free kick well wide.
7': We win a header on a free kick and look to attack, we build up down the left side for awhile, a ball goes to Ratzburg, he passes back to Navarro who tries a shot from 25 yards... its saved, but the keeper can't hold it, Ratzburg races to the rebound, beats the keeper to it and scores!! 1-0
10': Crook passes to Navarro in the area, he's near the end line, doesn't look dangerous, but he's tackled, penalty! Shakespeare buries it. 2-0
18': They have a corner, Burke heads it away, headed back in again, and headed out again by Burke. It falls to one of their guys 18 yards out, he blasts a shot through the crowd in the box and Gyan makes a nice reflex savve.
21': Burke blocks a shot to give them a corner, Gyan punches it away.
25': Shakespeare with a minor injury.
28': They counter after we lose the ball in midfield, our defense does a good job staying back though and Jackson blocks a shot in the area and clears it.
47': One last attack for them, they earn a corner, Burke heads the corner out.
HALF: They outshoot us 6-5, we are winning a lot in the air, really the only difference. In highlights it looks like our positioning on defense has been good enough to make it hard for them to get clear looks.
Perkins is on for Shakespeare at the half.
65': After a long clear from Burke, Navarro hits Crook running in from the right, he's got a clear cut chance but hits the crossbar with it.
69': Burke can't clear a ball after trying a tackle, they recover and we're out of position, they get a pass to a guy coming in from the left but Gyan makes a spectacular save.
75': They send a cross to the 6 yard box, Gyan tries to punch it out but fails, the ball falls to an unmarked attacker and they score. 2-1
79': Arredondo in for Navarro, Pickering in for Burke.
85': Defend/retain possession.
We watch them take one more desperate long shot but that's it.
Valdosta 1 : 2 Wake Forest
Their goal scorer is man of the match.
Goals: Ratzburg (7.2), Shakespeare (6.8)
Assists: Navarro (6.8)
Notables: Gyan (7.1), Burke (7.0), Coggins (7.1)
The left side of our defense, Burke and Coggins, great ratings, Jackson and Forrest 6.4/6.5, a big difference. Rose struggles too, 6.4 for him.
That was the win we needed, we've officially clinched a playoff spot. More importantly, we are 6 points clear of 2nd with 2 matches left. A single point anywhere gets us the league title.
1. Wake Forest - 51 points
2. Port St Lucie - 45 points
3. Maunabo - 44 points
4. Valdosta - 41 points
5. Saturn FC - 40 points - 3 left
6. Lexington - 40 points - 3 left
7. Hattiesburg - 39 points
2 left for everyone but Saturn and Lexington. Their game between each other may decide the last playoff spot. Valdosta is in a bit of a freefall, they could still fall all the way out too.
-- Today we find out if we can make two cup finals in the same year!
September 26th, 2016
North America Amateur Cup - Semifinals
Wake Forest Cougars (1st, ACAL) vs Jackson Red Shirts (10th, APL)
-- We were in the same league with Jackson for two seasons. In that time we beat them twice at home and lost once on the road. All matches were 1:0 results.
We mix things up some here. Standard mindset at home against a weaker team.
1': We try to attack out of the gate, Davidson ahead to Goodwin, a cross to Cole, but they win the cross.
3': Corner for Cooper, taken to Pickering, he gets a header, but wide.
12': A Tapia interception starts our offense, we go down the right, Cooper with a cross, Goodwin is there and volleys it in! 1-0
16': They get one back the same way, a cross down the right and a header. Rongen couldn't keep up. 1-1
17': Throwin in their end, but Wilkins ends up trying a long shot instead of building up on offense.
28': A Rongen interception starts our offense, up to Davidson, quickly to Goodwin, he struggles to control it but eventually does, feeds Cole in the area, clear cut chance, and he finishes! 2-1
29': Jesus. Awful, awful defense. Both our central defenders collapse on a guy like 35 yards out as they start to look forward, allowing a free run from their other striker, its a clear cut chance and a goal. 2-2
36': Goodwin ahead to Cole, he's out pretty far wide right, and can't finish.
HALF: We're supposed to win this, I tell the team they aren't playing good enough. I go out of my way to tell the defense they are costing us this game. They don't react terribly well to that, at least, Barton doesn't. We're outshooting them 7-4, but all their shots are on target.
48': Cooper ahead to Cole, he has a lot of space in front of him, makes a solid run into the area, shoots... saved.
77': We're going to attack, after 30 minutes of no highlights. Glaser is in for Wilkins.
91': We have a throwin in their end but its pretty ugly, a bad shot by Tapia from distance ends up wide.
FULL TIME: Gallardo comes in for a tired Cooper. We outshoot them 14-7 but just no highlights that entire half, frustrating.
97': Diaz is hurt and must come out immediately. Varela is in. That's our last sub.
100': Cole tries a shot from 20 yards out, wide. Coulda gotten something better there.
101': Again... This time Goodwin settles for a long shot he's never going to make.
105': After another long shot that seemed impatient and unnecessary, I add the "work ball into box" instruction.
105': We dodge a bullet, they cross a ball into the area, Barton is there and could ctach it, but instead Pickering heads it, the ball is headed a coupel times, they end up with a shot and a goal, but its a man offsides during the confusion.
HT ET: on to the second half.
106': We see Cole find Gallardo for a really nice shot and goal, but Gallardo was offsides. He was wide open, the defender he needed to stay level with was on the opposite side, he just didn't quite do it.
FULL TIME: We move to penalties.
Both teams convert all 5 penalties.
AFter 10 attempts we're tied at 10.
After 15 attempts we're tied at 15. Yawn.
After our 19th kick, they shoot low and right and Barton dives and stops it!
Wake Forest (19) 2p : 2 (18) Jackson
Goofy ass penalties. They get man of the match on their side.
Goals: Goodwin (7.8), Cole (7.1)
Assists: Goodwin, Cooper (6.7)
Notables: Pickering (7.1), Rongen (7.1)
We were very clearly the better team here, but we gave up two bad goals immediately after each of ours. We shot 19 times but only put 3 on target, settling for way way too many long shots.
But anyway, we are on to the finals!
We're going to play the California Development Academy in the finals. They are an academy team so they're scary, but not as dominant as some of those academy teams from the first couple seasons.
-- We get $59,690 for winning here.
-- Before our next match, Port St Laurie wins to keep pace, so we still haven't clinched. Just 1 point though.
-- League matches on the 1st and 15th. Atlantic Coast Cup finals on the 12th. North America Amateur Cup on the 19th.
-- The board is very pleased with my leadership. Our Atlantic Coast Cup play is the highlight. Our 4-0 loss to Port St Lucie is the negative. With the money coming in from two cups, we made $113,000 last month.
October 1st, 2016
Jacksonville Cyclones (8-8-1, 10th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (15-6-5, 1st)
-- We tied 1:1 in Wake Forest in our only meeting.
Counterattacking on the road.
7': Rose earns us a corner as a shot is blocked, corner goes nowhere.
8': Rose picks up a minor injury.
10': We control it forever but never manage to find a serious threat, Shakespeare with a long shot that's blocked.
12': They counter after we lose the ball on offense and get a man wide open in the box, defense too slow to get back, clear cut chance... it hits the post and bounces across the face of the goal, they get to the rebound but by this time its bounced a bit wide, and can't put it in.
HALF: And then we see 30 minutes of nothing. We out-shoot them 5-2 but haven't put one on target yet. Both their shots are off target as well. Overall a very even match. We just need 1 point but I'd rather just score some goals and make this simple!
46': They earn a corner on a cross right after kickoff, corner is cleared.
59': Gallardo in for Rose, whose fitness is dropping faster /w his injury.
61': Ratzburg ahead for Gallardo, he's alone in the area.. just for a moment, poor control of the ball lets defenders catch up. He shoots well wide.
72': Coggins a yellow.
82': Up to a standard mindset. Arredondo in for Roth.
86': Throwin deep in their end, Gallardo gets a cross in to Crook, he's only about 10 yards out but lots of people in the area, his shot is saved.
No more highlights. Not the best play from us today, but 1 point is all we needed!!
Jacksonville 0 : 0 Wake Forest
Ratzburg a 6.3 today, other ratings in the 6.5-6.9 range. Defense is all closer to the 6.9.
We now have 4 points on Port St Lucie with just 1 match left.
Wake Forest win Atlantic Coast Amateur League
We get the standard messages telling us how happy everyone is.
With the money we have, we should move up to semi-pro next year.
AML Dylan Rose is hurt and out 5-6 weeks. Standard.
Whew, ok, we can finish up cup finals and finish this season later on now that we've done our main job today!
October 12th, 2016
Atlantic Coast Cup Finals
Wake Forest Cougars (1st, ACAL) vs Atlanta FC (13th, ACPL)
-- This is actually two levels above us. One above us is Atlantic Coast Division 2, then above that is the Atlantic Coast Premier League, that's where Atlanta is.
-- This match is in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
The only tough decision here is whether to start Cole, who has been a little cold, or Roth, who has dominated in cup play. I think the team has been at its best with Ratzburg/Cole overall though.
We will counterattack.
1': They earn a corner as a cross is blocked out of the kickoff. Jackson heads out the corner.
5': We watch them pass it around for quite some time before a long shot is saved by Gyan.
14': A lob pass into the right side of the area for ST Hernandez, he scores easily. Our guys thought it was offsides, no luck. 0-1
17': They get forward quickly and get a shot in the area, Gyan saves easily.
18': Yellow for their guy Cabrera.
18': Tapia ahead to Ratzburg, he comes out left a bit and Davidson makes a run, Raztburg finds him, clear cut chance... but saved.
40': Poor clearance from the right side for Atlanta, the ball falls to Cooper about 35 yards out, He lobs it into the area immediately, Cole is there and has a great look, he scores!! 1-1
42': They have a free kick, a cross sent into the area, they get a volley off it but its well wide.
45': We get a shot from Ratzburg from 20 yards out, easily saved.
HALF: Not bad, not bad at all. They got 8 shots to our 6, that's after starting out with the first 4 shots in like 5 minutes though. We have 4 on target, they have 3. We are tackling better than them, other stats are pretty even.
51': Some back and forth play, eventually Davidson gets down the left, a great cross into the area, Ratzburg has a great look, he scores... but offsides. Damn.
64': They build up down the right, a long pass to their left side striker, he puts it into the area for the other striker, and he has a clear cut chance and our defense is out of position, he scores easily. 1-2
74': We watch a couple interceptions back and forth, finally we gain control, a pass to Davidson, he sprints by his man, cuts inside a step, tries a cross, its too deep, the keeper doesn't catch it though, he bobbles it, and it drops to Ratzburg in the 6 yard box, he puts it in!! 2-2
76': They have a free kick in our end. They take it short instead of crossing into the area, there's a pass, intercepted by Davidson, its a big break, they had a lot of men forward. Davidson sprints down the middle of the field, its basically a 2 on 1 break, Davidson draws the defender around 35 yards out, passes ahead, Cole is there, 1 on 1 with the keeper, Cole beats him!!!! 3-2
76': Brian Williams in for Ratzburg, we drop to a 4-1-4-1. Shakespeare moves to ML, as he plays it better than our AML's. Wilkins is in for Davidson. We look to defend.
89': They have the ball near midfield, but Jackson wins a header on a long ball forward, we get a counter going, Cole takes a pass and runs down the right side, a cross, Cooper with a volley from 15 yards, but wide.
90': They shoot from 25 yards, well wide.
90': We change to the contain mindset.
91': They try a lob into the area, Pickering heads it out. They try another ball in, Gyan runs out and picks it up.
91': We get forward and look to waste time, Tapia is tackled 25 yards out, foul. Wilkins takes the free kick and shoots, just barely over.
92': They kick it out of play trying to get it forward, our throwin.
Atlanta FC 2 : 3 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Colin Cole (8.8)
Goals: Cole 2, Ratzburg (7.4)
Assists: Davidson 2 (7.9), Cooper (6.9)
Notables: Jackson (7.0)
Wake Forest Win Atlantic Coast Cup
This has been a pretty damn good year!
-- The fans and board are thrilled with our performance here.
-- Somehow the Valdosta Victory are considered the "biggest overachievers" in this cup... they're in our league, we beat them last round!
-- Roth and Cole each scored 3 goals in the competition, in a long tie for 3rd. One guy scored 5. We had 4 guys with 2 assists.
-- Leon Roth was man of the match twice in the tournament, a few other players also got two man of the match awards, that is tied for first though.
-- Ratzburg had a 7.53 rating throughout the tournament, tons of players had better though, that was just good for 48th in the tournament.
-- We receive $96,870 for this win. Nice!
October 15th, 2016
Wake Forest Cougars (15-7-5, 1st) vs Lexington Thoroughbreds (13-2-12, 7th)
-- We beat them 3:2 at our place back in April.
Backups at every spot. We'll attack.
11': Through ball to Roth, clear cut chance, but saved.
19': Roth hits a cutting Gallardo for a shot, but high.
25': They get a pass into the left side of the area, there's a prety good looking shot, Barton dives and pushes it away. They get to the rebound but not quick enough, Barton recovers and gets back up, blocks the next shot and we clear.
46': Hernandez with a yellow. He'll miss our next match.
HALF: We outshoot them 5-2, their one attack at 25 minutes was it.
47': Rongen is hurt and must leave immediately. Hernandez moves to DL, reserve Jesus Antonio Guerrero is our backup defender today, he's in at DC.
60': They get a long ball ahead to a striker, he just outruns Guerrero, clear cut chance but Barton stops it.
67': Gallardo with a corner, they head it away but can't clear, it comes down to Williams who gets good shot off, but saved.
74': Navarro in for Roth, Perkins in for Wilkins.
76': We build up down the left side, Gallardo passes ahead to Navarro, he is well covered, lays it off for Perkins who has a good look, but right at the keeper.
84': Maurer to Gallardo, back to Maurer, he shoots from 20 yards out, its stopped, but there's a rebound, it falls to Crook, he blasts it in! 1-0
90': Varela to Maurer to Navarro after an interception, Navarro is behind the defense by a step, he shoots from 18 yards out, saved. Corner goes nowhere.
90': Crook with a run down the right, cross to the far post for Navarro, he heads it in! 2-0
That'll do it.
Wake Forest 2 : 0 Lexington
Man of the Match: Ryan Crook (8.1)
Goals: Crook, Navarro (7.3)
Assists: Crook, Maurer (7.5)
Notables: Valera (7.1), Hernandez (7.0)
I'm really happy to see Navarro get a goal. He's got 8 on the year but its been awhile b/c of injury issues.
-- This was our last match in league play. We get $116,000 for locking up first place.
The North America Amateur Cup finals are in a few days and then we're done with this season.
Congratulations on a great season so far! Finish it off by lifting the North America Amateur Cup. :popcorn:
I agree... what a tremendous run.
Wake Forest to the MLS in 2023, baby!
-- I've been hardcore into League of Legends lately so this fell off. I've reached my goals for this season in LoL, I will admit feeling overwhelmed by the process of going from amateur to semi-pro and not fucking everything up feels like a bit of a barrier here too, but really mostly its just been League :P
We do still have one match left
-- DC Hernandez apparently picked up a yellow in his last match so he's out for the cup Final.
October 19th, 2016
North America Amateur Cup Finals
Wake Forest Cougars (1st, ACAL) vs California Development Academy (1st, GCAL)
-- So CDA won the Gold Coast amateur league, but they didn't dominate it like some other Academy teams we've seen. They put up 50 points and a +16 goal differential there, compared to our 55 points and +21 differential in the equivalent league on the Atlantic Coast.
-- We're playing in Dallas, in front of about 1250 people.
We'll look to counterattack as it seems our best play style. We get what amounts to our best healthy lineup out there and I feel we should be pretty darn strong.
1': They start with the ball and after a few passes give it away, there's a quick pass ahead to Cole out wide right for Cooper, he runs with it, crosses into the 6 yard box, Navarro heads it, goal!! 1-0
3': Davidson a yellow.
23': Navarro intercepts a backwards pass in midfield to get us going... but Cole has it tackled away from him after a pass into the area.
38': Davidson with a corner that goes nowhere. They head it out but we get it back in, a shot from Cole, on target, but saved.
40': Yellow for their defender Dryden.
46': A last minute attack after a goal kick, Shakespeare wins the ball in midfield, passes down the left for Davidson, a cross, Cole has a great look, but heads it wide. Not listed a clear cut chance but I think it should have been.
HALF: They have most of the possession but the counter game is working well, we haven't allowed a single shot, taking 3 ourselves, putting 2 on target. We're tackling and winning balls in the air much better than they are.
49': Free kick near midfield, we take it short and pass quickly ahead, Navarro with a through ball to Cole, he's got a clear cut chance, a great look... saved and turned behind. Corner goes nowhere.
55': We allow a cross into the area from the left side due to some poor positioning, Pickering should have headed this out, they bring the ball down, Jackson tackles the man with the ball, and its a penalty given. They score on it. 1-1
61': CDA free kick from 25 yards, very poor shot.
62': After a goal kick midfielder Dryden bangs into Tapia, and that's a yellow, that's his second one, he's off!
76': Roth in for Cole, Williams in for Tapia, and we're going to try to attack with the man advantage.
85': After some buildup, JAckson finds Shakespeare in the area for a good look, but offsides.
89': We earn a corner, Cooper to Pickering for a header, but wide.
FULL TIME: Arredondo is going to come in for Cooper, our most tired player. I hope to pressure them with the man advantage in extra time.
96': Davidson with a free kick, poor shot.
HT ET: Only that one highlight.
106': We move down the field after kickoff easily, Arredondo with a cross in to Roth, he heads it to the center for Shakespeare, a shot... blocked.
111': Arredondo ahead to Roth, he passes to a charging Shakespeare, a shot from 20 yards... is wide.
And that's it. We're way better, only a bad foul in the area prevents the win. Well a bad foul and an inability to get the additional goals that we should have easily gotten. We outshoot them 11-2, getting more clear cut looks (3) than they did total shots, and can't manage the victory in regulation.
So its on to Penalties, which as always are dumb.
After 5 shots we're tied 5-5.
After 10 shots we're even 10-10.
After getting evened up at 11 apiece, One of their men takes a penalty, Gyan dives to his left, and he stops it. Shakespeare steps up, scores his shot, and we win in anticlimactic fashion, but, a win is a win, and we are cup champions!!
Wake Forest (12) 1p : 1 (11) California Development Academy
Man of the Match: Ronnie Navarro (7.4)
Assist: Cooper (6.7)
Notables: Pickering (7.3), Coggins (7.3)
Pretty damn amazing year, we win the Atlantic Coast Amateur League, Atlantic Coast Cup, and North America Amateur Cup.
-- We receive $111,000 for this win.
And that's our last match of the season, we will promote up and presumably go semi-pro next season and I will need to figure out how much money I can spend and where to spend it, which players to keep, and if any of our current amateur players deserve to be paid.
Great year! Going up will be pretty exciting for sure.
Valdosta promotes along with us, winning the league playoff. They beat Maunabo and Hattiesburg in the playoffs.
Our team stats, across all competitions, sorted by overall rating:
Roth only started 7 league matches, he ended up splitting his goals among our cup matches. Shakespeare got many of his goals on penalties, while our assists came from striker to striker or from the wings.
Other Notes staring at this screen:
-- Colin Cole was a hell of a youth pull.
-- Cooper and Navarro both missed significant time with injuries, its nice we were able to hold up so well without them, I don't know if that would have been true last year.
-- I'm happy with the sheer number of defenders that gave me solid, mostly consistent play and ended up with ratings in the 6.8-6.9 range. Pickering still seems to be a slight standout over others, but Hernandez, Forrest and Burke at DC, Varela and Jackson at DR, all quite solid. Rongen ends up our best DL somehow, Coggins a bit worse and Campbell was awful.
Atlantic Coast Amateur League Stats
League only, so totals don't match what you see in the overall stats screenshot:
1. Nestor Castro - Port St Lucie - 16 goals
2. Chris Johnson - Port St Lucie - 15 goals
2. David Jones - Kendall SC - 15 goals
4. Herman Vargas - Carolina - 14 goals
5. Jake Wilson - Peoria - 13 goals
14. Colin Cole -Wake Forest - 8 goals
17. Ronnie Navarro - Wake Forest - 7 goals
21. Mark Shakespeare - Wake Forest - 6 goals
1. Tino Kindel - Port St Lucie - 11 assists
2. Brian Davidson - Wake Forest - 10
2. Israel Hernandez - Naples Bay - 10
2. Jim Evans - Hattiesburg - 10
5. Neil South - Fayetteville - 9
7. Patrick Ratzburg - Wake Forest - 8
26. Adam Fisher - Wake Forest - 4
Ratzburg to Cole and Davidson crossing to whoever were hugely important for our league success.
Man of the Match Awards
1. David Jones - Kendall SC - 6
2. Andres Escobar - Atleticos Rio - 5
3. Jim Evans - Hattiesburg - 5
4. Herman Vargas - 5
5. Many Tied - 4 (including Wake Forest's Brian Davidson)
We had a few people win 2 man of the match awards.
-- We don't have anyone at the top of the "key tackles" or "key passes" stats, Ratzburg and Davidson both in the top 20 for key passes though. However, three of our DC's are in the top 10 for "Key Headers", Forrest, Burke and Hernandez. Pickering, like Roth, seemed to get rotated into cup matches way more and only played 9 league matches, or i'm sure he'd be here too.
1. Greg Urniasz - Port St Lucie - 7.35
2. Jim Evans - Hattiesburg - 7.31
3. Brian Davidson - Wake Forest - 7.30
4. Nestor Castro - Port St Lucie - 7.24
5. Stephen Lee - Lexington - 7.22
14. Patrick Ratzburg - 7.00
17. Mark Shakespeare - 6.99
27. Colin Cole - 6.92
29. Steve Forrest - 6.90
30. Dan Hernandez - 6.89
40. Joe Jackson - 6.85
58. Amidu Gyan - 6.81
Our Reserves and U18's continue to play through November for some reason. Going into November the board is clearly delighted with my leadership.
End of Season Meeting
I tell the team that I think they can avoid relegation next year as is (though of course I'll bring on players anyway). I get positive reactions from many, no one is upset. I usually piss off half the team at this point so I'm happy with this.
-- I set the players on vacation and tell them to report back on January 9th, giving us 5 weeks of preseason.
-- Los Angeles beat Chivas USA to win the North American Open Cup. They are the 3rd separate winner in 3 years, New England and Chicago won the first two years.
-- Looking up at MLS, Philadelphia wins MLS this year, beating Los Angeles in the finals. Los Angeles and Philadelphia were head and shoulders above the rest of the league going into the playoffs.
-- Tampa Bay Rowdies promoted up two years ago, they hung around in MLS last year, but they're dropping out this year. Along with them, FC Dallas is dropping down.
-- FC Edmonton won the NASL last year to promote into MLS, and they finished 11th this year, staying up easily.
-- So I just noticed in this version of the league, MLS does the mid-season split thing too, with the top 8 sectioning off and the bottom 12 sectioning off... I'm not sure if a current running league can be edited, and I'm a long way from MLS, but I sure hope I can fix that if I do make it up there.
That takes us into December.
We pay $210,000 in taxes based on our profits this year.
We get a 2 year jersey sponsorship worth $9,750/yr, that's up from $9,680 last season, woohoo.
The team also announces a profit of $425,000 on the year. We have a balance of $1.7 million currently.
-- CASL Chelsea asks us about a friendly in early February, we accept.
-- Confederations Cup draw takes place for the 2017 tournament. Poland, Russia, South Africa and the USA in one group, Chile, Germany, Iraq and New Zealand in the other.
January 1st Update
-- Colin Cole is named the Fans' Player of the Year. Shakespeare and Navarro have also won it.
Wake Forest Best Eleven
.............. no Colin Cole. I guess its done strictly by Overall rating, Roth 7.20/Ratzburg 7.14/Cole 7.11.
All Time Best Eleven
GK: Gyan (112 games/6.79 rating)
DR: Joe Jackson (54 games/6.80 rating)
DC: Joe Pickering (71 games/9 goals/6.95 rating)
DC: Hernando Galvis (39 games/1 goal/6.76 rating)
DL: David Campbell (46 games/1 goal/6.87 rating)
DMC: Mark Shakespeare (88 games/29 goals/7.24 rating)
MC: Jose Alejandro Tapia (50 games/4 goals/6.90 rating)
MC: Gary Glaser (37 games/2 goals/6.90 rating)
AMR: Ian Cooper (66 games/13 goals/7.07 rating)
AML: Brian Davidson (73 games/20 goals/7.14 rating)
ST: Ronnie Navarro (65 games/27 goals/7.05 rating)
Cole did make it onto the bench for this team in his first season. Galvis and Campbell and maybe Glaser probably won't last all that long on here.
-- The Atlantic Coast Division 2 schedule is announced. We'll play Chattanooga FC on March 28th.
-- Only two teams relegate out of this league, the worst team, and then the next 4 have a playoff to avoid relegation. That sounds interesting.
Wake Forest turn Semi-Professional
Initially we have a payroll of $13,130 per week. That's huge, and does seem to indicate things are a bit broken because of our cup play. It also does add some pressure on us to succeed in future cup play, as our income will be shit unless we go far enough in tournaments to sustain that. Our transfer budget is $0, so we may need to adjust that if we want to buy some players.
Youth Intake Announced
We'll get to this in another post.
I am given a 1 year contract worth $675 a week. Its a nice step up from $0.
I set up friendlies to get us going. Next up I'm hoping to be able to bring in a better, paid coaching and scouting staff, and I'm going to look around at the other teams in the league to get a feel for how much they are spending and how my current amateur players might hold up in the league.
Ah crap, I had an update at the end of the night last night and forgot to post it and lost it.
I have replaced my entire amateur coaching staff with a paid staff. I now have a Reserve Coach and a U18 coach instead of hoping my assistant can do all of that. I have two scouts who are WAY better than anyone at this level seems like they should be (like judging potential 14/judging ability 15 for $25/wk). I am allowed four regular coaches. I have one Physio, one coach who is decent at fitness, one goalkeeping coach, and one regular coach who happens to specialize in attacking.
Additionally, I asked the board for better training facilities, and that's going to happen, and cost us $325,000. That work will be completed in April.
Pre-Season Team Meeting
Ah here comes the team disappointment. Joe Pickering thinks we can do better than the "avoid relegation with our current guys" statement that I made before sending them off on vacation, but I'm not willing to push for more than that, so I tell the team that my goals stay the same. Pickering is real unhappy at my apparent lack of ambition. On the other side of things Leon Roth thinks I'm too ambitious. So he's unhappy too! None of this matters much, morale is fine, I just find it funny.
On the whole, 5 players are happy, 9 have poor reactions, most of the team is indifferent.
I still need to go through my youth pulls for this year, and I need to look at the transfer market and figure out which of my guys should get contracts and which shouldn't.
Some of our younger guys are apparently only wanting to stay amateur, the biggest player like this is Colin Cole at age 15. Looking around through my starters it appears most of them want between $175 and $450/wk.
Looking at the other teams in the league most players make between $40-$70/week. Each team looks like they have 2-3 players that make more than that. The #2 team last season, the Georgia Revolution, has one star at $450/wk, another guy at $200/wk, everyone else under $100. Other teams pay 2-3 key players $200/week and everyone else is cheaper.
We will certainly be outspending everyone, but I'm not looking to go crazy here. Amidu Gyan and Ronnie Navarro are basically asking to be 2 of the 4 or 5 highest paid players in the league, gotta figure out if they are really worth that or not.
I have my first difficult decision instantly. There is a free agent keeper available who played for the NC Fusion in this league last season, put up a 6.75 rating and only allowed 1 goal per match. His reflexes are better than Gyan's, but some other abilities show Gyan being better. Both of them want $400/wk or more and key player status. I can't afford them both.
I go with the known quality, and with loyalty, and sign Amidu Gyan to a $400/wk contract.
Holy crap this is going to be hard.
My new assistant, for what its worth, did feel that both players are 5* players. None of my other keepers come remotely close.
While we're talking about goalkeepers, I also have three new youth candidates at the position. One of them, GK Johannes Stenzel, has better reflexes (9) and better agility (9) than the others. I don't offer him a youth contract yet, but I terminate the other two keepers I got in.
I have a lot of crap here. Names like Clark Garcia and James Barton from last year were ok at times, and youth pull from last year Kenny Curfman seems ok too. No one is challenging for that starting job. I will probably just keep a backup, a reserve, and a U18 guy around and decide basically randomly. I hope to not pay any of them.
I probably won't go into this much detail for all positions... it'll go quicker as I get a little more comfortable evaluating... I hope?
I actually enjoyed reading about your efforts to pick your side. I am about to face the same process with my Strathspey Thistle team, and getting inside the head of another manager is helping me prepare for my own roster decisions.
Good luck creating your roster. I'll be following along.
Joe Jackson - 4*
Bob Varela - 4*
Fausto Diaz - 3*
Stephen Lacey - 3* (youth pull)
Servando Roberts - Silver
Our youth coordinator says Lacey is our best youth pull this year. 9 accel/9 sta. 5 marking/7 tackling. 6 anticipation/9 concentration/6 positioning/8 teamwork/12 work rate. Actually pretty solid. Determination is low, but he holds up pretty well against Joe Jackson and Bob Varela. I go ahead and offer Lacey Hot Prospect status, which is $70/wk.
Varela *asks* for a non-contract deal, with an appearance fee and shutout bonus and unused sub fee. I go ahead and give him that.
I look through my scouts recommendations and no one seems as solid overall as Joe Jackson, so I give Jackson the $130/wk he wants.
Diaz will stay without a contract and play on the reserves, Roberts will be cut.
Unlike at DR, my coaches hate all our left defenders. The one they like the most is actually youngster Arturo Flores. My assistants basically like all my DC's who happen to also be able to play DL better than everyone.
Arturo Flores - 3 1/2*
Sean Rongen - 2 1/2*
Danny Coggins - 2 1/2*
David Campbell - 1 1/2*
No youth candidates here.
Campbell really struggled last year, 6.57 rating. He's gone. Flores does look like a guy I ignored a bit last year, I give him a non contract offer that he wants at $120/appearance. I don't do anything with Rongen or Coggins yet.
There is a DL for Blacksburg who I tried to sign last year and he still seems appealing to me. I make him an offer, he also wants a non-contract deal with a per appearance fee. I offer it.
The four guys I relied on last year were Hernandez/Forrest/Pickering/Burke. My assistant likes Hernando Galvis too, but he just doesn't seem to work for me that well.
Hernandez I give what he wants, a contract in the $300/wk range. Pickering wants a non-contract deal, I give it to him as well.
Forrest wants over $400/wk. I'm not so sure there. I'm going to wait and see, if I lose him b/c of it so be it, I love these three guys (Hernandez/Pickering/Forrest) but I'm not sure about sinking over $1300/wk into DC's.
I spot a DC on a Colonial Division 2 team who might be available who also looks amazing, and I make him an offer.
I sit on all my other players, and I have a lot of DC's, so while I might decide I can't afford all of my favorites, depth won't be a concern here.
Thanks! I will say, I've done no research on how to do this, so I might screw up royally. If I didn't have way more money than I reasonably should it seems like I would be hoping a ton of these players would be willing to continue playing for free.
AMC/MC Justin Wright is a youth pull worth mentioning. 10 pace/10 accel/9 agi. 5 dribbling/9 first touch/7 passing. 7 composure/7 decisions/11 flair/9 off ball/9 teamwork/11 work rate. He seems decent in many areas. He's getting a youth contract immediately.
MC John Bradley is another youth pull who I am going to give a contract to, his numbers are a bit less than Wright's in most areas, but a technique of 13 is intriguing at this level, and physically he's on the same level as Wright. 10 pace/10 accel, so lets try him out too.
Mark Shakespeare is one of the best players on the team three years running. He only wants $130/wk, nothing comapred to those greedy defenders I just finished dealing with. Another no brainer.
Gary Glaser wants a non-contract deal with a $140 appearance fee. My assistant loves him, maybe he deserves to be playing a lot. But if he ends up as a fairly deep rotation player like last year, the appearance fee will be just fine. And if he's good enough to crack the rotation under new eyes, so be it.
MC Mike Wilkins is like a lot of the 15/16 year olds who doesn't seem to want a pro contract of any kind and I can't offer him a $70/wk hot prospect deal. So I want to keep him, I think, but he doesn't get any sort of offer for now.
MC Jose Alejandro Tapia is a guy who started for me last year along Shakespeare, and he's the more defensive minded mid, so he isn't going to put up great ratings, but his numbers dropped noticeably last season. I'm going to hold off before committing $150/wk to him.
DMC/MC Brian Williams is someone I've always liked, maybe irrationally so. If I run a DMC he's my best and favorite, and he did well at MC last year too, I could see starting him next to Shakespeare instead of Tapia. I give him $130/wk.
I sit on a number of other mids who saw limited action in the past.
I'm very intrigued by MC Brendan Dempsey, he's a free agent, because his semi-pro team got relegated so he got released. His ratings aren't spectacular, but they're fairly solid all the way around. The intriguing thing is that he played 24 matches for a team in this division last year with a 6.95 rating. He wants key player money though, over $300/wk.
I offer Dempsey a trial throughout the pre-season. If he takes it I will play him as much as possible and see what I think. In defense I didn't really find upgrades so much, I'm getting a little worried that I'm just taking the same team into a higher division, but now I'm spending a ton on them!
Left Attacking Mids
I have a bunch of guys that can play AML, but its always been Dylan Rose and Brian Davidson who have been worth playing. Rose was hurt a ton last year and Davidson ended up being a star. So here's the thing... my coaching staff hates all these guys.
Brian Davidson gets $120/wk. He's just always outperformed his ratings, I don't feel there's much risk there.
My scouts haven't found anything at all worth mentioning here. Rose is officially injury prone at this point in my opinion. I'm not willing to commit money to him right now. So everyone else here, including other guys who have never impressed me like Jeff Gallardo and Ben Goodwin, will sit w/o a contract for now. I assume at some point they'll just leave without one, or make demands? I guess we'll see!
Right Attacking Mids
Ian Cooper and Adam Fisher both did quite well as wingers on the right side last year, and I like both of them a lot. Both want $130/wk.
But this might be my chance to make a bit of a splash. There's another player in the transfer market who got dropped from Greensboro when they demoted last year. 19 y/o Josh Evans has reasonable speed, all of his mental attributes are in the 7-9 range (including decisions, which I'm used to seeing at like 4). 10 crossing, 11 dribbling, 10 first touch, 8 passing, 9 technique. Those numbers just absolute demolish anything I've ever had on my team. This is really the first guy I've seen who I look at and say "well by everythying I can see this is a huge upgrade". He has a couple other offers, but I jump in there with a $400/wk offer.
Either Cooper or Fisher, will likely get offers from me, and I'm not sure how likely I am to land this Evans kid. But we'll advance from here at least without anyone at AMR on the team being offered anything yet.
My coaches like Dan Saunders the best out of all our guys. And I can see why. Finishing 8, Heading 9, Composure 8, Flair 17 (!!), Teamwork 12, Work Rate 11, Off Ball 8. He is sloooooow, short (5'7), creativity and decision making are bad. I think I wanted to work him in at some point last year and we just had so much success with Colin Cole that I gave up on the idea.
Carlos Alberto Arredondo is another guy my scouts love. But he's best at AMC, didn't really put up numbers for me last year in more than enough time, and he wants to be paid $500/wk. So he's out.
Ronnie Navarro only wants $130/wk. Done, friend. His attributes aren't the best, and I worry about whether he can compete at this level, but for that price, no problem.
Colin Cole scored 15 goals for me last year. But he's like all the other 15 year olds it seems, he wants an amateur deal with hot prospect status. I can't seem of "offer" that the same way I can offer it to my youth pulls, so I will sit on him and hope we don't lose him.
Patrick Ratzburg is in the same amateur status boat as Cole. Ratzburg is a bit more of a supportive ST (lots of assists to Cole last year) so I'm unsure how I'd value him anyway.
Leon Roth wants a non-contract deal at $120/appearance. I'm ok with that too, given my depth here. If he can earn playing time at this level, I'll pay it, if he can't, it doesn't cost me.
There are lots of strikers available, one of them intrigues the hell out of me. A guy with rather average/poor technical abilities, but mentally he's basically a god at this level. Decent composure, ok decisions for this level, but 17 determination/10 flair/10 off ball/16 teamwork/12 work rate, and physically he's above average as well. I'm just super curious about him and I make him the good offer he wants.
So I haven't advanced yet after making all these offers, we'll knock that out soon.
Basically I offered a lot more deals to my defenders, and the further along in the process I got, the more I decided to say "lets just leave things be without contracts for a bit and see what happens". I also have taken a couple risks at AMR/ST in the transfer market, as I started to get worried about the lack of clear upgrades that I see available to me. I didn't dominate my last league *that* much that I expect o just come in and win this division or anything!
Most of my offers are immediately accepted.
19 y/o DL Abdul Rahim Otoo - Otoo has always played in leagues lower than this, but he's always been very very good, a 7.18 average rating for Blackburg last season in 16 matches is huge from a defensive position. I tried to sign him last year, and Campbell and Coggins at DL are two of my worst performing starters/rotation guys. Seems an obvious signing. Otoo is on a non-contract deal, he'll make $150/appearance, $25 per shutout.
11 accel. 6 composure/6 positioning/9 teamwork/8 work rate. 7 marking/7 tackling/7 passing.
Really nothing special, but for a non-contract deal its low risk, and he seems like a guy who has a history of outperforming his ratings.
MC Brendan Dempsey agrees to go on trial at Wake Forest for the duration of the preseason. This is the guy who put up a 6.95 rating in a full season in Atlantic Coast Division 2 last year for Greensboro. 6 marking/8 passing/8 tackling/8 technique is decent to solid. 7 composure/8 decisions/6 positioning/8 teamwork/12 work rate is decent as well. I don't exactly see why this guy might be worth almost $300/wk that he's asking for, but as I mentioned, he proved he could hold his own in this division, something none of my guys can do.
I'll be playing Dempsey as much as I can while on trial, lining him up in my defensive role next to Shakespeare and in the offensive role next to Williams or Tapia to see how he does.
Josh Evans, the AMR I got fairly excited about, signs with the Raleigh Pioneers. Darn.
We are up to $2,189/wk in salaries by the way. We're allowed $10.6k/wk, but I have no intention of spending anywhere near that.
We get the first transfer offer for one of our players... the Raleigh Pioneers want DC Dan Hernandez, for free. Uh, no?
The Striker I was going after, Brian Gonzalez, signs with the NC Fusion. There are a lot of other Strikers who my scouts like, I'm going to take a look and see if I see anything worth signing, or if I should head into the season with known quantities instead.
Welcome 18 y/o DC Charlie Ashe to Wake Forest. We signed Ashe away from the Virginia Beach Piranhas in the Colonial Division 2. Ashe is 6'4". Jumping 13/Strength 11. Composure 5/Decisions 6/Determination 11/Positioning 7. Heading 8/Marking 8/Tackling 8. Ratings wise, he looks better than Don Burke in every way. Technically, he looks drastically better. We'll see if that makes a difference on the pitch. I haven't released Burke, I just haven't offered him a contract yet.
Ashe will be making $150/wk.
-- I look for other Strikers, and I just don't see anyone worth committing $$ to at this point. There is a free agent striker available who looks... ok, no reason to think he's better than Navarro or Cole, but I decide to offer him a trial anyway.
I had some issues finding friendly partners, so we're opening up against our U-18 squad. I do put a number of guys who spend time on the main roster down in the U18 squad just to try to get more playing time for more guys. But its still a pretty embarrassing game for the main squad. The U18's work harder and end up winning 2-1. Cooper to Pickering on a set piece for a headed goal was the main squad's only success.
No one got hurt though.
One thing that's abundantly clear after one friendly is I have too many damn players. When you don't have to pay guys, if they aren't going to complain its easy to just let them waste away in the reserves. But that always becomes a serious issue when its time to get guys into shape for the next season and have to allocate playing time in order to do so.
With that said, I feel like I have to put together some sort of depth chart right now just to make sure the right folks get into shape.
1. Amidu Gyan - 29 y/o - $400/wk
2. Who Cares
I have 3 other guys on the roster. None will play outside of early round cup matches if Gyan stays healthy.
1. Joe Jackson - 29 y/o - $130/wk
2. Stephen Lacey - 14 y/o - $70/wk
3. Bob Varela - 18 y/o - Amateur
4. Fausto Diaz - 16 y/o - Amateur
Since Lacey is being touted as my best youth player I feel like I need to go out of my way to give him playing time. He'll get a fair shot to compete for a starting job.
1. Abdul Rahim Otoo - 19 y/o - Appearance Fee
2. Arturo Flores - 15 y/o - Amateur
3. Sean Rongen - 19 y/o - Amateur
4. Danny Coggins - 27 y/o - Amateur
Coggins was actually ok last year. But this position has always felt like a weakness, so I'm going to give ample time to my new signing Otoo, and youngster Flores to try to earn the minutes.
1. Dan Hernandez - 19 y/o - $325/wk
2. Joe Pickering - 19 y/o - Appearance Fee
3. Steve Forrest - 24 y/o - $400/wk
4. Charlie Ashe - 18 y/o - $150/wk
5. Don Burke - 27 y/o - Amateur
There are others here but no one that really seems like they are worth playing time. I had initially held off on paying Steve Forrest, but now that its clear that we aren't going to be paying all kinds of new signings crazy money, I'm happy to pay Forrest. Hernandez/Forrest/Pickering have been quite reliable for me. Ashe gets his chance to break into the lineup over Burke.
1. Mark Shakespeare - 19 y/o - $130/wk
2. Brendan Dempsey - 19 y/o - Trial
3. Jose Alejandro Tapia - 26 y/o - Amateur
4. Brian Williams - 19 y/o - $130/wk
5. Mike Wilkins - 15 y/o - Amateur
6. Gary Glaser - 20 y/o - Appearance Fee
7. Justin Wright - 14 y/o - $70/wk Hot Prospect
8. John Bradley - 14 y/o - $70/wk Youngster
Another spot where we just have too many players. Dempsey is on trial so not on the team yet. Tapia/Shakespeare seemed to work well as my starting midfield last year, but Tapia isn't someone I'm completely confident about. Wilkins seemed to fit the more attacking spot that Shakespeare fills here best last year. My coaches love Glaser, he's never been bad for me or anything, and then there are two youth pulls that I deemed worthy of keeping around.
This position was too crowded last year too. I release Bayard Perkins, Ashley Sandoval, and put previous youth pulls Alan Bartlett and Adalberto Vega on the unwanted list (b/c I can't seem to release them outright).
1. Ian Cooper - 19 y/o - $130/wk
2. Adam Fisher - 15 y/o - Amateur
3. Ryan Crook - 27 y/o - Amateur
I go ahead and offer Cooper a contract now that I have a better understanding of the team.
1. Brian Davidson - 22 y/o - $120/wk
2. Dylan Rose - 19 y/o - Amateur
3. Chris Maurer - 14 y/o - Youngster
I put Jeff Gallardo on the unwanted list as well. Maurer is a youth pull that i haven't mentioned, because he's fairly marginal. But Gallardo has already proven he's not up to the task, so Maurer gets a shot.
1. Colin Cole - 15 y/o - $325/wk
2. Ronnie Navarro - 19 y/o - $130/wk
3. Patrick Ratzburg - 15 y/o - Appearance Fee
4. Leon Roth - 19 y/o - Amateur
5. Michael Maurer - 16 y/o - Amateur
6. Dan Saunders - 15 y/o - Amateur
7. Carloa Alberto Arredondo - 30 y/o - Amateur
8. Will Willis - 14 y/o - $70/wk Youth
Cole is now willing to sign a contract, and without clearly better options in the market, I'm willing to pay him. In fact I probably overpaid him, b/c he wasn't asking for anything specific. I should have tried like $130/wk, heh. But I was trying to pay him less than the other top strikers in the league.
Even though Navarro is listed as #2 here, Ratzburg/Cole seemed to be the magic combo last year, and then pairing Roth/Navarro worked too. Maurer and Saunders are youngsters who seem decent, my coaches love Saunders, he's ok but very slow which worries me. Willis is a youth pull whose numbers were decent enough that I was willing to pay him a youth salary. Unless we have huge injury problems I'm not sure I'll make the time for him.
There are other guys not listed here, and this list is already too big in spots. But for now we'll be specifically trying to get the guys at the top of these spots fit over our friendly matches for the next month or so.
DR Stephen Lacey hurts his back while lifting weights, out 4-6 weeks. I guess we'll have to wait awhile to see if he can earn some minutes at fullback.
We host the Raleigh Pioneers. We get an early goal as Otoo wins a header in our end, gets it to Dempsey, to Shakespeare, ahead to Cole, he lobs it into the area from 35 yards out, Cooper charges onto it and scores. Happy to see all those guys involved in the play. They tie it up on a lob pass in the 32nd minute. Both Otoo and Ashe were nearby and seemed to struggle with the high ball. Late in the first half Cooper scores again, I've noticed Dempsey making multiple decisive passes forward, maybe not terribly difficult ones, but I'm liking what I'm seeing anyway.
We make our subs at halftime, full new team. We get a 3rd goal in the 65th minute, Wilkins is the scorer after Pickering wins a header on a goal kick and we charge forward quickly. Roth with the assist. 78th minute Fisher lobs a ball towards the area, their defender misjudges it, Roth is there and scores easily.
Wake Forest 4 : 1 Raleigh
2 goals Cooper, 1 from Wilkins and Roth. 2 Assists Cole, 1 from Fisher, 1 from Roth. Otoo is the only man to struggle today, I assume he took the blame for their goal. 6.2 from him.
GK Amidu Gyan is out for ~2 weeks with a bruised thigh in training.
The Georgia Revolution are the favorites to win the league this year at 5:4. They finished 2nd last year but lost out in the playoffs. The NC Fusion are 3:1, then there is a big cluster of 10 teams between 5:1 and 8:1. On the other end, at the very bottom are the Valdosta Victory at 300:1, the Tornados de Humacao at 150:1, and the Hickory Heat at 100:1.
Wake Forest are expected to be better than those three teams, but to fight against relegation in the end. We are tied with the Miami Tango for the 16th/17th spots at 40:1.
-- We have to decide team win bonuses, I stick with the "Normal" bonuses for both league and cup play. That's $160k payed out to the players for winning the league, $45k if they win a cup.
-- The final group stage of World Cup Qualifying has begun in North America. The group is the USA, Mexico, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Canada and Panama. Top three qualify, 4th has a playoff
-- As we near the transfer deadline, I look through the rosters of all the other teams in the state of North Carolina, looking to see if there is a player out there somewhre who we could overpay for, who might play for us, that could be a game changer. I doubt I'll get anyone, I do make one offer though for a striker who is a backup on a team a couple levels above us but seems like he might be a superstar for us... if he's willing to sink to our level.
-- And days later, no luck. Charlotte accepts our offer, but the player is not interested in playing for us at all.
-- On February first one of our players leaves the team b/c he doesn't have a contract. Its a deep backup/reserve MC that I didn't want anyway, but it makes me wonder do I need to lock up some of these guys who are just sitting out there?
I end up making non-contract/appearance type offers to a few players that I really don't want to lose just to be safe.
-- I decide to take part in media day, just to see if anything pops up at the last minute that I might want to get in on.
Players who were lingering on amateur status who have agreed to some kind of deal in the hopes that they don't just walk away:
-- MC Mike Wilkins
-- ST Colin Cole
-- ST Patrick Ratzburg
-- AMR Adam Fisher
-- MC Jose Alejandro Tapia
All of these are either $120-$140/wk type deals, or appearance fee deals.
We host CASL Elite, this isn't a league team, so I think they should be super weak and beatable. I start Tapia/Dempsey in midfield to see how that would look.
Its scoreless at the half, we aren't playing bad but aren't looking great either. I wait until the 60 minute mark to bring in all the subs. In the end we win but its not that pretty, Cole is fouled in the box in the 86th minute, Shakespeare hits the penalty (I had started Ratzburg/Navarro up front today, and Dempsey over Shakespeare).
Wake Forest 1 : 0 CASL Elite
-- The Transfer deadline comes and goes uneventfully. Only three transfers occur in Atlantic Coast Division 2, all free ones. None players that I would have been interested in.
-- The Detroit Arsenal, a team in the USL-Pro West league, makes an offer for DC Dan Hernandez. I decline of course, but that is 2 leagues above mine, so that's pretty impressive.
-- My assistant lets me know that 27 of my players are either on expired contracts or on contracts expiring this year. Whee.
Old North Cup Qualifying Round Draw
This is the cup for teams in North Carolina. We get a home match against the Twin City Patrol in the bottom tier. At this point of the 15 teams in the tournament there are 4 or 5 in tiers ahead of us, a couple in our tier, and most below. So we should expect to reach the quarterfinals most years, and the semifinals on occasion. Wilmington/Charlotte/Carolina are still light years ahead though so it really comes down to when you run into one of them.
MC Brendan Dempsey signs with the NC Fusion, a rival team in our league. I didn't realize I didn't necessarily have until the end of our trial period to make him an offer. I'll know next time, I probably would have taken a chance on him based on what I'd seen so far.
We host CASL Chelsea, they're in the tier above us.
They're the better team for most of the match but we hang in there and don't allow anything. In the 81st minute we get a counter, Davidson hits it ahead to Navarro for an easy goal. In the 83rd minute Cole earns us a corner, Davidson takes it into the 6 yard box and one of their defenders hits it back into his own net.
Wake Forest 2 : 0 CASL Chelsea
AMR Adam Fisher was hurt at the end of the match, but nothing long term.
Moving up a division isn't quite enough to get the fans excited. We sell 81 season tickets, 1 more than the 80 last year.
DC Don Burke hurts himself in a reserve match and is out 2 months. On the same day, Stephen Lacey returns to full training.
February 22nd, 2017
Old North Cup Qualifying Round
Wake Forest Cougars vs Twin City Patrol
We've played these guys 3 times, all on the road, most recently last year in this same tournament. We've won twice, including that meeting last year.
Attendance - 234
Some guys played on the reserves recently and are tired and are sitting. In a couple spots I'm looking to start younger guys who will hopefully be motivated to play well vs lesser opposition. Wright and Saunders and Maurer are younger guys.
6': They get a shot on target after a bit of a counter attack, but Curfman is up to the task and saves.
45': yellow card for Lopez on their team.
HALF: We haven't managed a shot yet and look out of sync. I bring Rose in for Maurer at the half. They only have 3 shots, all on target.
48': Ashe a yellow.
48': They get a clear cut look after a lob into the area, Varela makes a great play to get around the attacker and block the ball behind for a corner.
55': Ian Cooper has a minor injury.
60': A nice pass from Cooper to Saunders for a goal but he was just offsides.
74': ST Maurer on for Saunders, Wilkins in for Shakespeare.
79': Rongen takes a pass from Wright and crosses from a fair distance out, the keeper punches at it but its straight up, Roth is there when it comes down and pokes it in! 1-0
85': Cooper ahead for Maurer who has a few steps on his man, he gets a clear cut chance but shanks it wide.
89': Yellow for defender Gonzalez for Twin City.
Wake Forest 1 : 0 Twin City
Man of the Match: Leon Roth (7.2)
Assist: Rongen (7.1)
Notables: Curfman (7.0)
A 7.0 from a defender, damn. Looking at our new guys, Ashe 6.6, MC Justin Wright 6.4, AML Chris Maurer 6.8, ST Dan Saunders 6.3.
-- No long term injury for Cooper.
Old North Cup Quarterfinal Draw
We get a home match, but its against the Carolina RailHawks, one of two teams in the NASL, the 2nd tier of American soccer. That won't be until June.
-- At this point we aren't scheduled to play again for another month. I look to add a few friendlies.
We have a few friendlies scheduled, then the Atlantic Coast Cup starts on March 22nd, and our first two league matches will be on March 28th and March 31st.
-- The board is satisfied with my leadership. My "extremely tight control" over payroll is a positive, the departure of David Campbell is a negative, which is funny because more than once his poor play was singled out in these monthly updates as a concern.
-- We lost $34,090 last month. Financially the team is secure but "It is predicted that the club finances will continue to deteriorate in the coming months." We are gonna be really reliant on cup success.
March 2nd Friendly
We host the Carolina Dynamo, a team from the All-American Premier League, a tier above us (if we promote, we'd promote to the Atlantic Premier League). Whoa. Carolina's head coach is Tony Meola. I haven't heard that name in a long time. I had let some guys play with the reserves just a day ago since we have so much work to do on match fitness still. So my lineup today is mostly dictated around that.
1st Half: We get a nice goal in the 19th minute, we win a header off a goal kick and attack hard up the middle, Roth to Maurer to Shakespeare, he feeds Rose coming in from the left for a goal. Shakespeare tries to clear a corner off the line and fails, own goal, doh. Tied at halftime.
2nd Half: We give up one goal in the second half on a long pass/breakaway, and can't manage anything ourselves.
Wake Forest 1 : 2 Carolina Dynamo
No big deal, we had a lot of young kids out there today.
DL Sean Rongen is hurt in the match today and he will miss 5-6 gmaes.
March 7th Friendly
Not content to just get destroyed once by the Carolina RailHawks later in the Old North Cup, we went ahead and scheduled them in a friendly as well. Obviously I build the entire setup around match fitness and tell the team winning doesn't matter today. Ratzburg actually finds Cooper for a clear cut chance in the 4th minute, a spectacular look, but he whiffs, way wide.
They are outshooting us 13-2 in the 61st minute, Fisher sends a cross in, their entire defense seems to stop and raise their hands wanting offsides, Ratzburg is on the ball and he puts it in!! We do give one back and they tie the match, but we withstand it from there.
In the end they shoot 18 times to our 3, but its fun to preserve a draw against a far better team, even in a friendly.
Wake Forest 1 : 1 Carolina RailHawks
Atlantic Coast Cup - Qualifying Round Draw
At the top of the page... Defending Champions - Wake Forest. Yes indeed. 56 teams in the draw this round. We get a home match against the Hattiesburg Rebels in the Atlantic Coast Amateur League (the league we just promoted from). We play in two weeks.
March 15th Friendly
We host the Pittsburgh Riverhounds from the NASL. We give up a goal early on, but get it back on a corner, Davidson to Pickering, header for a goal. We give up a goal late in the first half to drop behind 2-1. We make our subs in the 68th minute.
In the second half we give up two more goals, both of them due to allowing wingers to cut in from the outside too easily, so Coggins and Lacey take the blame for those. We get a second goal ourself, again on a set piece, corner taken by Fisher, poor clearance, and Rose is able to put it in.
Wake Forest 2 : 4 Pittsburgh
With that we are done with friendlies, Atlantic Coast Cup is in a week, and after that league play starts!
March 22nd, 2017
Atlantic Coast Cup Qualifying Round
Wake Forest Cougars vs Hattiesburg Rebels
We're 4:6 favorites today, as expected against a lower team. We played them twice last year, both times at homme, 3:0 and 3:1.
Attendance - 232
We play three matches in a week so I balance the roster some. We also have some players fully ready to go and some still getting into shape, so I try to balance that a bit too.
Standard mindset at home vs weaker team.
10': We get hit on a counter attack, Ashe and Hernandez look out of place as a ball is sent over them and they don't respond well, leading to an easy goal. 0-1
17': Lets attack.
17': Tapia intercepts a pass in midfield to start a break, ahead to Navarro, sent ahead to Roth, he controls it well, the keeper comes out but Roth gets it by him. 1-1
19': Long bit of possession for us after a throwin, eventually Navarro gets a pass from Wilkins and tries a shot from just inside the box, the keeper turns it behind, we can't do anything on the corner.
22': A quick attack after an interception, Cooper gets a pass in a good spot but doesn't try to score, he centers for Navarro, ahead to Rose near the 6 yard box, Rose has a clear cut chance, but saved... rebound back to him, saved again.
38': free kick from out left for them, they cross it into the 6 yard box and we don't have a single defender there, basically free header for them, goal. 1-2
39': Corner for Cooper, tapia tries to head it, it either bounces off a defender or its taken awfully and goes a bit sideways, but Charlie Ashe is there and finishes! 2-2
HALF: We outshoot them 9-4, we put a ton of pressure on once we started attacking, but the one set piece goal we allowed has it even still. Davidson is in for a very tired Rose at the half.
48': Cooper with a run down the right, cross into Navarro, he controls it well, shoots and easily scores! 3-2
57': Corner taken by Cooper, Hernandez with the header... just wide.
61': We intercept a pass pretty close to the penalty area, after a couple passes Lacey hits Navarro for a strong shot, but wide.
63': They get a counterattack and get two quick shots in a chaotic setting, but Gyan is able to stop them both. One was a clear cut chance from 18 yards out.
66': Glaser in for Wilkins.
66': Back to our comfortable counterattacking mindset with the lead.
73': Glaser ahead for Navarro, he has the ball tackled away, Cooper is there and sends it to the other side of the area, Roth on the volley, goal! 4-2
84': Brian Williams in for Tapia.
92': After we win control following a goal kick near midfield, Otoo just launches a long ball from our own half, Navarro runs under it and has great control of it, he shoots, scores!! 5-2
Wake Forest 5 : 2 Hattiesburg
Man of the Match: Ronnie Navarro (9.3)
Goals: Navarro 2, Roth 2 (8.8), Ashe (7.7)
Assists: Cooper 3 (9.1), Navarro, Otoo (7.4)
Notables: Gyan (7.1), Lacey (7.1), Hernandez (7.1)
Tapia (6.9) and Wilkins (6.6) the only starters under 7.0. Not the best first half but we did what we needed in the second, and more.
-- We get $969 for the win.
Atlantic Coast Cup First Round Draw
32 teams remain. Ohh, tough draw. It is at home, but we face the Reggae Boys, a team in the Atlantic Coast Premier League above us. They've made the playoffs in that league each of the last two seasons but just failed to promote. We'll play May 9th.
March 28th, 2017
Wake Forest Cougars vs Chattanooga FC
Attendance - 312
-- First meeting. Chattanooga has struggled each of the last two years, finishing 14th and 19th. Only the playoff for relegations saved them last season.
-- We keep some of the lineup the same, we did have 5 days so some guys are good to go, Otoo/Ashe/Navarro/Cooper all played very well and have enough fitness to go again, so why not. We'll look to counter since its our best strat, we'll attack more if we have to later.
10': They get a striker on the ball after a long goal kick, but Ashe and Forrest defend well. A long shot is saved.
11': A quick strike on a ball from Shakespeare to cooper... easy goal for Cooper but he's called offsides.
13': Following a throwin from them, there's a cross into the box, and a goal. Damn. 0-1
18': Glaser with a long ball ahead to Davidson, real nice pass, a clear cut chance from 15 yards for Davidson, but wide.
42': We'll attack.
HALF: We get outshot 4-1, we are doing ok though, passing and winning balls int he air much better than them, we just need to be more aggressive I think. Ashe and Forrest both have poor ratings, I decide to tell the defense that I don't think they have been good enough, and it seems to fire them up.
61': Hernandez in for Ashe, Michael Maurer in for Navarro, lets make something happen.
62': After another long goal kick from Chattanooga they get a clear cut chance, but Gyan comes up big on the save. We look to counter as we recover the ball, the defense gets back gbut we do get a shot, but its well wide from Cooper.
73': Glaser with a cross to Maurer for a goal, but he was slightly offsides. Second time today.
74': ANTOHER long goal kick for them and a striker gets literally 10 yards behind the defense... he scores easily. 0-2
80': Fisher in for Cooper.
83': Shakespeare ahead to Maurer, a tough shot from a tough angle, and its wide.
91': Shakespeare with a pass down the left for Davidson, he puts it in the middle of the box, Ratzburg is there, he beats the keeper! 1-2
That's it though.
Wake Forest 1 : 2 Chattanooga
Our goal came too late but I'm happy we did score in our first appearance in Division 2.
They have the man of the match today.
Goal: Ratzburg (7.2)
Assist: Davidson (6.7)
Lots of 6.7-6.9 ratings, Ashe, Cooper, Navarro, Hernandez seemed to struggle a bit. 6.1 for Ashe, 6.4 for the others.
Two disallowed goals is pretty dissapointing as well.
March 31st, 2017
Georgia Revolution (0-0-1, 13th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (0-0-1, 16th)
Attendance - 519
-- First meeting. Georgia was in the tier above us initially, but relegated down here. They finished 3rd last year but couldn't advance in the playoffs. They are even money favorites to win today.
AM: C Maurer/Fisher
ST: M Maurer/Cole
Arturo Flores, Chris Maurer both are guys who are 3rd on the depth chart but get a start today as we still try to get everyone fit a bit later than we'd like. Two Maurer's in today.
We look to counterattack.
13': Throwin in their end, its cleared but we regain control, Wilkins slips a pass in for Cole who has a great look from the edge of the box, but its wide.
16': Wilkins with a long pass from within our own end, great pinpoint look for Cole, he has his second clear cut chance in 3 minutes, this one is saved, a good diving stop for the keeper. Corner is cleared.
41': Cole with a pass ahead to Maurer after we win a ball in midfield, a defender stops Maurer, he's considered to have stopped a free run at the goal, and that's a straight red card! We're up a man in the second half.
HALF: Each team with 4 shots, we actually have a huge lead in possession somehow, 59/41. Georgia is passing very poorly. We haven't seen a ton of chances but we did get a few nice passes to generate a few things.
46': A pass down the right from Cole to Fisher gets us a corner right after kickoff, we can't do anything with it though.
69': Fisher with a run down the right, he cuts towards the area, the ball is tackled free, but Fisher gets back to it, in the area, and he's brought down, penalty! Wilkins will take it, he hits ti right at the keeper and its saved. Nooooo.
70': Ratzburg in for Cole, Forrest in for Pickering.
72': Goal kick for Georgia, Tapia wins the header and heads it forward to Ratzburg, the defense is a bit out of position, Ratzburg is going to get a really good look, he shoots from just outside the area, and its saved. That was our 4th clear cut chance. Corner is awful.
73': Lets attack a man up. Maybe a mistake but I feel like we have them on the ropes.
81': Free kick from the right side, its cleared but we control, after some passing Ratzburg finds Mike Maurer in the area, our 5th clear cut chance... off the post. That was awful awful awful.
82': A poor throw by the goalkeeper gives it to us again in a dangerous spot, Fisher finds Ratzburg but his shot is wide.
92': Hernandez with a yellow for diving on a corner taken by Fisher.
Georgia 0 : 0 Wake Forest
So the good news is we got a draw on the road vs a team that's probably a lot better than us. The bad news is that given the way it played out we really should have won this 3-0 or more.
Notables: Hernandez (7.0), Flores (7.0)
Cole was having a rough day, 6.2 rating when I pulled him.
Flores with a very solid 7.0 in his first outing. We end up outshooting them 14-6 and pushed them really hard with the man advantage in the 2nd half, too bad.
-- We have matches scheduled for April 4th, 7th, 11th, 14th, 18th, 21st, 25th, and 28th... all league matches. Really? We play twice a week the whole damn time?
-- The board is satisfied with my coaching, budget control is a positive, David Campbell leaving a negative. We lost $38,150 last month.
April 4th, 2017
Wake Forest Cougars (0-1-1, 16th) vs Clearwater (1-1-0, 4th)
Attendance - 277
-- First meeting. Clearwater was 3rd two years ago but struggled and fell to 16th last year in this division.
9': Gyan with a long kick after scooping up a pass. Cole is on it, not a completely free run at goal, but in a pretty decent spot. He cuts out right a bit, shoots... off the right post, so close.
13': Otoo wins a ball in the midfield with a volley ahead to Davidson, Davidson with a little run, a cross, Ratzburg is there 8 yards out with the header, goal!! 1-0
45': Gyan a goal kick, we win it and attack quickly, their defense breaks down a bit, Williams ahead to Davidson, Davidson has a great look from the left side of the area... but saved. He probably should have scored.
HALF: We look like the better team here, 6 shots to their 2, none on target for Clearwater yet. We have 55% possession and are passing and winning balls in the air much, much better than them.
52': We dodge a bullet, they win the ball after a goal kick, get a through ball to a striker who has snuck behind Forrest, a 1 on 1 with Gyan, he beats Gyan, but hits the left post and we clear. Whew.
54': Ratzburg is hurt and must leave the match immediately. Michael Maurer is in.
58': We intercept a pass in their end, Maurer ahead to Cole, clear cut chance from the edge of the box, but the keeper dives and turns it behind. Corner is awful.
60': Clearwater seems to be pressing a bit more. We drop back to defensive outlook and will try to retain possession more.
85': Justin Wright in for Brian Williams at MC.
86': First highlight in a real long time, they get a pass into the area and a shot, but pretty well defended and the shot is wide.
92': A red card on Clearwater as Cooper is brought down from behind after a Shakespeare pass saw him running free towards the penalty area. We try to shoot on the free kick and its closer to the sideline than the goal on the shot from Davidson.
95': The match is basically over, but we mount one last attack, Cooper with a very nice cross from 35 yards out, Maurer controls it well, no defenders are close to him at all, he shoots and easily puts it in! 2-0
Wake Forest 2 : 0 Clearwater
Man of the Match: Brian Davidson (7.5)
Goals: Maurer (7.1), Ratzburg (7.2)
Assists: Davidson, Cooper (7.0)
Notables: Varela (7.0), Ashe (7.4), Forrest (7.0), Otoo (7.1), Shakespeare (7.3)
Really great day all around here, our first Division 2 win! Ashe wins 10 out of 12 headers and makes 13 interceptions for his 7.4 to stand out in defense.
Patrick Ratzburg is going to miss 2 months with a broken rib, ouch.
April 7th, 2017
Weston FC (2-0-1, 4th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (1-1-1, 10th)
-- First match with Weston. They have been in this division all three years, struggling at first but last year finished 5th and made the playoffs.
Full lineup change since we're playign twice a week for awhile. We'll look to counterattack on the road.
3': One of those "accidental" shots that FM14 is well known for, a cross from left mid Semoli for Weston, goes right at the keeper, and Gyan just botches it and gives up the goal. 0-1
4': A long ball by Weston, a ST gets to it, I thought maybe offsides but no, Hernandez tackles it away, but we can't control it, they get a man to it who scores with relative ease. 0-2
10': We work the ball forward, Maurer loses control of it trying to rush into the area, but Roth is there, pokes the ball ahead to Navarro, and Navarro scores! 1-2
21': Tapia with a free kick at the edge of the box, well wide.
22': Really pretty long ball from Wilkins for Roth, Roth is behind the defense but his first touch could be better, he gets a shot off and its a clear cut chance, but saved. He should have scored there.
HALF: A couple missed shots in later highlights but that's really it going into the half, the action was all early. They outshoot us 9-4, but we have more on target (3) and the only 2 clear cut chances of the match. Possession isn't too far off, 53/47 in their favor, and we are better in the air so far. Really if it wasn't for the fluke goal(their first one) this would feel winnable.
Mike Wilkins struggles this half with a 6.1 rating. I bring Glaser in for him at the half.
47': Pickering with a minor injury.
56': Tapia with a nice header in midfield to win possession for us, we build up and pass it around for awhile, Roth ends up hitting NAvarro for our 3rd clear cut chance, but their keeper stops it. We get a corner but that doesn't go anywhere.
58': We have it in midfield when ML Chris Maurer passes backwards towards Pickering, its not a good pass, and Pickering is slowed from being hurt, they get a striker to it first, he charges into the area and beats Gyan 1v1.
61': Ashe is in for Pickering.
63': I give the "exploit the right flank" instruction, Fisher is so much better than Maurer out there, lets favor him. We'll also try to attack and get a goal back.
75': They get a 4th goal on a counterattack as we try to push up to generate pressure. Doh. 1-4
79': They earn a corner, and Lacey is called for a foul on it... penalty, which they score. 1-5
79': Mike Maurer in for Roth.
83': M. Maurer with a shot from the area, just high.
We give up one more goal in the end just for good measure, holy crap.
Weston 6 : 1 Wake Forest
Goal: Navarro (6.9)
Assist: Roth (6.7)
Lacey with a 5.2, Flores a 4.7, the rest of the defense and midfield in the 6.0-6.2 range. Really really bad.
-- Backup keeper James Barton complains about his playing time. I tell him he's not getting any more, he doesn't want to hang around, so I release him.
April 11th, 2017
Wake Forest Cougars (1-1-2, 15th) vs Valdosta Victory (0-1-3, 17th)
-- We've played Valdosta 3 times back in the previous league, they're the other team that promoted up with us. We're 3-0-0 in those 3.
Eder Castro and Carlos Alberto Arredondo both get their first action with the first team, due to the Ratzburg injury and fitness issues in the midfield. Standard mindset against a weaker team at home.
2': They have a throwin deep in their own end, and they give it away immediately, Davidson has it, passes to Shakespeare, he shoots from 25 yards out, and he scores on the long shot!! That was unexpected. 1-0
4': We build up down the right, Cooper with a pass into Cole, Cole shoots from a tough angle but he scores, nice shot! 2-0
9': We have a corner, taken to Ashe, he has 3 men around him, he's brought down and its a penalty! Shakespeare takes it and scores his 2nd goal! 3-0
30': They work it down the right side, cross into the 6 yard box, Forrest runs into it and deflects it in, oops. 3-1
HALF: well, we've scored 4 goals, unfortunately one of them was into our own net. But things are looking good and I just tell the team that I think they can be even better. Valdosta hasn't taken a shot yet.
62': Throwin in their end for us, Davidson with a header forward to Arredondo, he crosses to the other side where Cooper is all alone and he puts it right in! 4-1
64': Cooper with a nice pass ahead to Cole for a clear cut chance, but he puts it wide.
75': Castro picks up a minor injury.
78': They have two midfielders with yellow cards, one of them brings down Shakespeare and gets his second yellow, they're down to 10.
82': They take their first shot.
89': Cooper makes a great run down the right and crosses it in to Arredondo for a goal, but he's clearly offsides.
91': Davidson ahead to Cole, Cole has drawn their entire defense into the left side of the area, he passes it over to Cooper who is once again all alone and once again puts it into the net! 5-1
Well that feels satisfying after the last match.
Wake Forest 5 : 1 Valdosta
Man of the Match: Ian Cooper (9.5)
Goals: Cooper 2, Shakespeare 2 (9.3), Cole (8.6)
Assists: Davidson 2 (8.2), Ashe (8.1), Cooper, Cole
Notables: Gyan (7.2), Varela (7.5), Forrest (7.6), Otoo (7.5), Castro (7.4), Arredondo (7.3)
Forrest with a 7.6 despite the own goal.
Castro is going to miss about 10 days with a toe injury he picked up today.
-- Our training facilities have been updated. We now have "Basic" corporate, training, and youth facilities.
April 14th, 2017
Hickory Heat (1-1-2, 15th) vs Wake Forest Cougars (2-1-2, 9th)
-- We played Hickory once in our very first season to a 1-1 draw. Hickory promoted in each of their first two seasons, last year they were 17th in Division 2, this is their second year here.
Some changes from the team that lost 6:1 a few games ago. Brian Williams in midfield, Rose at AML, I give Cooper his second start in a row, the goal there to set up Rose/Cooper and Davidson/Fisher rotations. Maurer starts where Roth played last match, fitness reasons.
We'll look to counter on the road.
3': Cooper takes a corner, Pickering with the clear cut chance on the header... saved.
4': We get a break after winning a ball in the midfield, Navarro to Maurer, Maurer out to the left side of the area, passes back towards the center, Rose is charging in, blasts it from 10 yards out, the keeper had no chance. Goal! 1-0
12': Wilkins tries to head the ball forward to the offense, but they get a defender to it, but the defender has very poor control and it bounces free to Navarro, he gets into the area and its a clear cut chance... but he puts it high. Shoulda scored.
28': Cooper with a cross into the 6 yard box, Navarro heads it in... but offsides. That was close, I didn't think he was offsides.
37': They pressure up the middle, Hernandez and Pickering each make key tackles, but we just can't clear the ball, they get a pass to the right side, a low cross in and a goal to tie things up. 1-1
HALF: We outshoot them 5-4, dominating possession 58/42 and really should have scored twice in this one. We do seem to be the better team so hopefully we can pull ahead in the 2nd.
60': Ashe in for Pickering Glaser in for Wilkins, both just seem to be struggling today.
69': Yellow for defender Lassiter, he brings down Cooper. Cooper takes the free kick, nothing happens with it.
70': Hernandez clears out a cross and we are out on the counter, ahead to Maurer, off to Glaser, he gets it to Navarro for a pretty good look, but saved.
74': Arredondo in for Maurer.
77: Williams with a nice cross to Navarro for a goal, but NAvarro was offsides... apparently. I really disagree with that call. If I get the chance to complain about the refs after this one I will.
82': Cooper wins the ball on a long goal kick, one pass ahead to Navarro for a good looking shot... saved.
86': Lacey wins a header to start a counter, Arredondo sends it ahead, Navarro gets to it, clear cut chance... and saved. Poor 1 on 1 effort from Navarro.
Hickory 1 : 1 Wake Forest
Man of the Match: Dylan Rose (7.3)
Assist: Maurer (6.7)
Ronnie Navarro actually ends the game with a 5.9 rating, he just had so many chances there and couldn't convert.
On the whole, first season in a new league I should probably be happy any time I get a point on the road, but we were the better team today and deserved 3.
I don't get a chance to complain about the refs in a post match press conference.
My scouts find a 29 y/o MC who looks fairly appealing, he's been playing at the level above ours for awhile, not great, but his ratings look decent, I offer him a trial... which in retrospect is that even useful? I assume I can't use a trialist in a league match. Oh well, we'll see.
April 18th, 2017
Wake Forest Cougars (2-2-2, 10th) vs FC JAX Destroyers (3-0-3, 8th)
-- First match ever against them. The Jax is of course, Jacksonville. They started out in the Atlantic Coast Premier League, a tier above us, but relegated last season.
Counterattacking b/c its what we're best at.
19': Ashe with a nice tackle to win the ball in defense, we build up on offense, not a quick counter or anything, Fisher lays it off to Cole down the right side, Cole with a very nice cross from the right corner to the far post, Davidson with the header, its in! 1-0
22': Fisher a yellow.
26': We allow a ball into the area, Otoo tackles it away... and everyone freaks out, or something. Forrest doesn't turn around to get the ball, Gyan doesn't move back to the center of the net, so their attacker gets to put it in for free. That looked a little buggy. 1-1
36': Cole with a through ball to Roth, he holds it though and ends up with a bad, awkward shot that's saved.
40': We control it on the right side, Cole passes it to Shakespeare near the midfield line, he sends a nice ball ahead to Davidson, Davdidson holds it up, then hits Roth for a volley and a goal! 2-1
46': Shakespeare again with a long ball down the left, Davidson receives it running towards the goal, shoots... saved, turned behind for a corner, but we take it poorly.
HALF: Forrest has a 6.1 rating due to giving up the goal I think. I'm going to leave him in for now, but will be fairly quick to sub him if I need to. We again seem the far better team, outshooting Jax 8-1, controlling possession, winning everything really.
52': forrest tries to make an aggressive tackle 1 on 1 near the box, fails, and allows his man a free run into the area for a clear cut chance, Gyan plays it well though and stops it.
59': Pickering in for Forrest.
60': Shakespeare to Davidson is so deadly today, but Davidson can't quite get this one in either, saved. We get a shot off the corner but they have a defener clear the shot off the line.
71': Shakespeare to Fisher for our 3rd clear cut chance on the day, just high.
73': Jackson in for Varela, Arredondo in for Cole.
82': Davidson with a free kick out wide left, a cross into the area is headed by Ashe, but saved.
91': They have a free kick, a cross and a headed goal, but the player who scored was just straight up lined off offsides, disallowed.
That'll do it.
Wake Forest 2 : 1 FC JAX
Man of the Mach: Brian Davidson (7.9)
Goals: Davidson, Roth (7.1)
Assists: Davidson, Cole (6.7)
We really dominated that match, 15 shots to 3, we should have won by more, but 3 points is 3 points.
I like bringing willing people in for trials to corroborate/repudiate the scout's impressions with the coaches' take on the guy.
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