Archive for the ‘NCAA Men's Soccer’ Category

Group F Game 1 – Italy versus Paraguay

What does this man have up his sleeve to save Italy's blushes in this opening round

Well Paraguay played well enough to earn a point, but lets not count out Italy yet. They traditionally start each World Cup out slow but are always within the mix at the end. That said Italy were not that convincing as world champions.

TWEEEEEET TWEEEET PEEP

93:00 – Paraguay with a free kick. I like the Italian goalkeeper get up of each keeper having a neck warmer. Nothing comes from the set piece.

3 minutes of extra time.

88:00 - Paraguay now seem content with the shared points as they have lost their attacking verve. Meanwhile Italy are attacking with renewed vigor.

83:00 – Casually Montolivo shoots a scorching shot that Villar does very well to push around the bar. Good shot by the Italian midfielder.

81:00 – Paraguay pressing more and sending high balls in the box hoping Santa Cruz can get his head to the ball. They win a corner.

80:00 – Pepe takes a shot, its hit hard but straight at the keeper.

76:00 – Barrios off, Cardozo on for Paraguay.

74:00 – Recently Paraguay’s ball control and touch have been poor. I wonder if its a conditioning thing. They’re look much less dangerous and sure of themselves when the ball is at their feet.

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Who’s the Big Man on Campus: The Cavs

A very defensive game in North Carolina today as the Cavs come away with their 6th title in a game both teams deserved to win.

Will Bates and UVA come out on top of Akron...

The tightly contested match saw Akron dominate possession Barcelona-style, but fail to convert on numerous chances and build-ups.

Some bullets from this one:

• Virginia’s defense was stellar as advertised and most impressive to this writer was not one failure by the Cavs to stay with their men in crucial man marking situations. Each player was stellar on the backline for the Cavs with left back Hunter Jumper continually staying with crossing runs and making plays and right outside fullback Mike Volk nearly unbeatable when faced with one-on-one attacking threats. Kudos to the Cavs.

• Virginia midfielder Ross LaBeaux is a professional in waiting. LaBeaux consistently won possession in the middle of the field for UVA and knew when to push the play and when to lay back. Without getting to verbose, his game harkens the likes of the offensive d-mids for Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal squads past and present. While that’s a strong compliment, it’s deserved on the day for LaBeaux.

• Where Akron can be faulted in this one is trying to get to cute on some offensive buildups. The best chance for the Zips to score was when they moved the ball quickly into and around the Cavs defensive third. Too often, striker Teal Bunbury held up the play or failed to unleash a shot when he had space–trying to play for the perfect one. A few more shots would have likely equaled a few more rebounds on a very rainy and wet day and maybe an Akron score.

Instead the Zips often delayed the strike allowing the Cavs to pack it in and making the opportunities all the more difficult.

• A well-called game both on the field and in the press box. Supremely enjoyable from a spectator standpoint in that regard.

• The best chance in this one came in the opening minutes with Will Bates smacking a cross from Jonathan Villanueva off the post. That being said, UVA super mid Villanueva was often too cute on the day culminating with an attempt at a Ronaldo-esque stutter step penalty kick that he duffed into Akron keeper David Meves arms.

——–

Villanueva: Hardly cavalier...

The zippy Blair Gavin

Admittedly, TSG is not the best pub to preview this game. We’ve watched just a little of the college series this year.

From our rudimentary review, we’ll go out on a limp today and say the confidence, big college experience and a defense that looks downright comfy under pressure pushes Virginia to the top of the college soccer world.

You tell us who wins. Oh and if you didn’t see it, you must see UVA’s game winner on Friday.

And Then There Were Four…

The lasting image of one of my favorite games of all time....

I tried. I really did this year to get in more NCAA soccer time. Wasn’t able to do it.

The crossover of the USMNT to the MLS got me watching the easier-to-find-on-the-dial MLS games rather than college soccer.

I did watch a handful of Indiana, Bucknell (not sure how that one happened) and Maryland games this year–mostly on late Friday evenings on Fox Soccer Channel with such very challenged broadcast teams.

I was able to catch a USF game in person–sadly USF after coming in a top 30 team slid terribly this year…7-10-2….the highlight was a win over Santa Clara midseason at home…luckily the game I attended.

Best part about the college game, in my humble opinion, the all out full effort of the players. It might be a lack of discipline, but the field often looks like eleven Carlos Tevez(es) running around.

Tomorrow is the final four and I’m going to try and dial up ESPN’s fine 360 product for what should be a good one: Wake Forest at Virginia. The other game pits undefeated and untied Akron vs. UNC.

For those that don’t know or remember this column way back when, the 2007 college final between Ohio State and Wake Forest, featuring such players as a sophomore Cody Arnoux and Marcus Tracy was one of the most enjoyable soccer games I’ve ever watched. (Check out the video at the end of the column for sure.)

The game was monumental for Arnoux as in his freshman year he booted a great opportunity and made up for it in this Final.

Feel free to comment below on the games throughout the season if you are an expert or fan.

Everton adds another: Cody Arnoux joins the fight

Cody Arnoux

Cody Arnoux

Update: Read more TSG coverage of Everton here.

My support for Everton football just got a bit stronger — American Cody Arnoux is foregoing his senior season at powerhouse Wake Forest and joining Everton FC.

That makes this the second American signed by Everton just this year–little known Cal Poly alum Anton Peterlin was the first–to go with vet Timmy Howard between the wickets.

Everton has now clearly established itself as the EPL’s America FC wrestling the title from Fullham who set the tone (and consequently had many Americans in their corner) over the past few years. While the Fullham side still boasts Clint Dempsey and a renewed Eddie Johnson (plus alums Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegro), Everton has, count ‘em, three American born-and-bred players. Certainly another great step for American soccer.

While I personally enjoy watching some of the sensational international flavor that Everton has to offer: Aussie Tim Cahill is stellar in the air, Moroccan-born Belgium international Maroune Fellaini has the flair (and the hair) for the dramatic, and pint-sized South African Steven Pienaar can slalom through defenders with the best of them, the real story here has to be the program that Wake Forest has built. If you haven’t had a chance to watch any NCAA tournament soccer over the past few years, I encourage you to try and take a moment and watch the Demon Deacons come together for 90 minutes–the fighting spirit that 2007 and 2008 Coach of the Year Jay Vidovich has instilled is second to none.

wake-m-soccer-logo

Among just a sampling of the former and current players that Wake Forest counts among their locker room alum are:

Sam Cronin — featured in the U.S.-Haiti Gold Cup game last week

Michael Parkhurst – USMNT defender who will probably get the nod at CB today against Honduras

Cody Arnoux – bringing his 32 goals and 16 assists from last season with him to Everton FC

Marcus Tracy – Forward and now starter for the top Danish squad AaB

Ike Opara – 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year who runs with the U.S. U-20 squad

Pat Phelan – MLS New England Revolution starter

and a personal favorite….

Julian Valentin

Valentin is an alum of Wake Forest and the Los Angeles Galaxy, however he is probably best known for a vicious hit he received in the 2007 NCAA Championship game (one of the best college or pro games I have watched). Valentin went head first to defend a loose ball near the Wake Forest 18 and received a cleat in the face that is one of the worst if not the worst cosmetic injuries I’ve seen in soccer.

Kudos to a great Wake Forest program and to Cody Arnoux. Take a peek at that 2007 Championship game between Wake Forest and Ohio State here, along with the facial to Julian Valentin at the 1-minute mark of the clip. Apologies as the clip is grainy.

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