It was a disappointing end to an otherwise excellent first home stand as the Greenville Triumph fell to the Richmond Kickers last Saturday in near arctic conditions. Ok, so maybe it was not that cold, but it was chilly. While Greenville looked the better team in the first half, it was Richmond who was able to frustrate the Triumph attack in the second 45′ and earn the full three points thanks to an incredible Joe Gallardo goal in the 49th minute.
What Looked Good:
- Dominic Boland – The defender played well enough in last week’s match to earn the start on the right side this week. While he had to be subbed at halftime after he pulled up limp near the end of the first half, Boland looked strong in the high pressing scheme. He was able to move the ball up the right side and distribute to set up some decent attacks for Greenville.
- Omar Mohamed – The former Portland Timber 2 man saw his first action of the season after recovering from injury to start his career in the upstate. From the moment he touched the field, Omar shined in his ability to dribble through defenders and send incredible crosses into the box. Do not be surprised if we see his name as a staple on the starting lineup once he is back up to full fitness and chemistry.
- The High-Press, still – This may sound like I am beating the same drum, but the high press attack is working wonders for Greenville. This press works from the outside in, and that may be the one drawback to it. The Triumph produced 28 crosses in this match, had ten shots, but were not able to hit the back of the net. Which brings me to another item we have mentioned before…
What Needs Improvement:
- Have we mentioned that finishing is an issue? – I believe that Jake Keegan has what it takes to be a strong finisher for this team. It is why I predicted he would score at least 17 goals this season. But right now it is clear that Greenville needs some more attacking depth, and more guys who have a knack for scoring. The team are not without chances (see above), but they must start finishing in order to balance out the team’s strong defense.
- Lethargy – This was the worst match of the season in terms of how the team played; particularly in the second half. While the Triumph looked like the far superior team in the first half, an early second half goal for Richmond seemed to demoralize the players. It was not until the final ten minutes, after a few key substitutions (Guediri and Mohamed) that they looked to be fighting for the comeback. No team, on any level of soccer, is without these types of moments. I just hope that this is a learning opportunity and one this team will grow from.
- Polak in space – I try to not point out individual mistakes in my recaps as I do not think that is tremendously productive. Also, I love every player on this team. However, this week we saw team captain Tyler Polak start on the wing in the attacking midfield instead of in his tradition left back position. In the second half, he migrated back to his defender role with the loss of Boland. What I realized is that Tyler Polak likes to play high up the field. This makes him a great fit in this pressing system. But, for everything that he brings to the team (leadership, experience, etc.), he also brings age. He is not as fast as many of the players on the field and this has made him a bit of a liability as a defender. I actually think that midfield role may be a better fit for him because it frees him up from having to retreat to take such a critical defensive role. I will be interested to see what role he plays with the team going forward.
CASHINHO’s Man of the Match:
Despite picking up a late yellow card for trying to take a charge in soccer, my man of the match for this week is midfielder, Paul Clowes. Paul had one shot on target, two interceptions, seven recoveries, seven won tackles, and 34 successful passes in this match.
Paul has been a linchpin in the midfield all season, but it is in matches like this one where his presence shines the most. The fact that he is able to contribute on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball makes him indispensable to this Triumph side.
The Triumph travel to Breese Stevens Field to take on Forward Madison FC on Saturday April 27 at 8:00 pm. Stay tuned to GVLSoccer.com for a preview of that match-up later this week.
Greenville Triumph SC – 0
Richmond Kickers – 1
Richmond Kickers – Joe Gallardo – 49′