“Holy Moses is this game ever going to end?!”. I repeated that line numerous times as almost 7 minutes of stoppage time drifted methodically by. It’s like the ref didn’t believe that Hartford had enough chances yet, and wanted to see one more effort out of them. Sure enough he got his wish, and Hartford almost had a late equalizer which would’ve made me quit writing about soccer indefinitely. Ultimately – despite the best efforts of the official – as the final whistle blew, 901 FC recorded their 2nd ever win.
Man, did we look sloppy. I’m talking division 4 men’s soccer at Mike Rose Soccer Complex sloppy. A sloppy where most of the game people are cracking tall boys, and you draw straws for goalie sloppy. We had the better bit of possession for most of the game, finishing at 57%, but there wasn’t much to show for it. We looked like ducks out there we were so flatfooted, and since Hartford had no wins in 9 games, we looked content to try and control possession and win by wearing them down. That didn’t work. Regardless, we are happy to gather 4 out of 6 points in the past 2 games, and see 5 goals in the past 3 games (matching the same goal total from our first 8 games). We’re in the middle of an easier schedule, and ideally we can continue to capitalize.
#1 Jeff Caldwell (6) – Our keeper wasn’t called on too much this game. I think after last Saturdays loss vs Birmingham I bet Caldwell had some words with his team and their lack of effort in closing down the opposing attackers. You could tell they were better this game, coming out like angry bees to start (terrible analogy, I know). Caldwell couldn’t have saved the first goal, but there was another play that helped define his game. Lindley played the most hospital ball I’ve ever seen that I believe an ambulance pulled up in anticipation for the collision of Caldwell and the forward. Luckily, Caldwell came to our rescue as always, and we all lived happily ever after.
#3 Abdi Mohamed (8) – I’m really vibing with the current back 4 (maybe Charpie only part of the time), and Mohamed is a staple piece to this. You can almost guarantee that Mohamed will win the ball, get fouled, and still play an outlet pass to get the pressure off the defense. He’s also been swinging around the outside on offense which ultimately led to a great pass and the first goal of the game.
#5 Tristan Hodge (7.5) – Hodge kept consistent form from the last game, and I think he got the message to close down sooner as well. No one on offense for Hartford (at least in the second half) had time to turn with the ball, and if they were already facing the goal, there was a good chance they were about to lose possession. I think Hodge’s specialty this game was stopping offensive action before it became a thing. Earlier in the 2nd half, Hodge stopped a counter attack that saw the forward laying on the ground. You have to be tough and smart as a center back, it just so happens that Hodge is both of those with the extra bonus of being quick.
#6 Dan Metzger (5) – I don’t have much on Metzger this game. He got a ridiculous card (it shouldn’t have been a card) midway through the first, and he could’ve maybe slid over and helped stop the first goal, but mentally I don’t think he was there this match. A couple of sloppy passes didn’t help our momentum this game either. Ultimately he was subbed off in the 71st, so I think coach McQueen also saw that Metzger wasn’t performing to the level we expect.
#8 Marc Burch (6.5) – The main complaint I have about Burch this game is that he looked flatfooted for most of it. Granted, most of the team suffered from this as I’ve stated. He could’ve potentially moved in front of the striker for the first goal and made the stop if he would’ve been more mobile, but it happens. I will say that Burch put on his captain hat tonight, and it showed. Burch was commanding from the back, barking orders to close down forwards/midfielders, and even getting into a little tussle in the first half (I got $50 on Burch). I think the tie with Birmingham got to him the most, and it should have as the captain knowing that we could have a few more points if we would close down on players.
#10 Adam Najem (7.5) – This guy is pure class each night, and unbelievably skilled with the slightest touches to meg a defender. Najem didn’t have a goal or a normal assist (got himself a hockey assist though) this game, but he was instrumental in the win. What I like most from Najem though this game was his ability to use his body. Najem is 5’9 on a good day (according to The Google Machine) and maybe 160 lbs., but he could shoulder Marc Burch off a ball 50% of the time. If I didn’t live in another state, I would be first in line to get the Najem shirt next home game. Well in!
#18 Elliot Collier (8) – Collier has really stepped back into the light for me. He was surprisingly the most dynamic payer this game, including working magic on many Hartford players to get around them, and probably could’ve had an assist early in the second if the ref didn’t shield off our player. His shining moment of course was scoring the game winning goal for us in the 70th. The interchange each game between him, Graf, and Dally has made for an exciting emergence again in Collier, and I can dig it.
#21 Duane Muckette (6.5) – Uuuggghhh how many times will we have a goal scored on us because we don’t mark our runner??? At least 5 more times this season I would imagine, because it feels like half the opposing goals are from this. Muckette scored the first goal, and that was solely on him being a smart player, and making a timely run into the box. This is why I know he could do better, and have stopped the run for the first goal. Even a foul right there is better than an open shot at the top of the 18. I will say that Muckette played great outside of this mental flub. He even started shooting again, which is welcomed from one of our leading goal scorers.
#22 Wesley Charpie (4.5) – oommpphh. Let’s start with the good. Charpie is talented and does a great job of getting outside our forwards on the attack for the outlet pass leading to a cross in. This is how we got our second goal, and I am grateful. Now, let’s dive into the problems. First, the left forward had his way with Charpie this game, and it was more than obvious. The guy did the same step over move 3 times, and 3 times Charpie bit. Considering the game tying goal last game came from Charpie pulling this stabbing tomfoolery, it’s no longer a one-off, but a trend. We need this fixed pronto. Second, the dude almost got his second yellow before the first half was over. Composure is something that Charpie exhibits only half the time. Lastly, the dude missed a clearance early on that almost led to a great chance for Hartford. He’s going to have a lot to work on during practice next week.
#27 Cam Lindley (5) – Man, what a different performance from Lindley compared to the Birmingham game. He felt absent this game, and he had so many bad passes – like all his swagger was used up a week ago. His defining bad pass came early when he played the worst ball imaginable back to somebody (literally was in between 3 of our players, so I have no clue who it was supposed to go to). Hartford pounced and if it wasn’t Caldwell, the end score could be very different. I will say that he played a much better second half. Lindley connected on some great passes with Collier while also finding his place defensively in the midfield. Let’s call this a fluke performance as it is not the standard we’ve come to expect from Lindley.
#28 Jochen Graf (6) – Really some great runs from Graf still this game. Unfortunately for him, our passing accuracy was just atrocious. We couldn’t play it to his feet to save our lives, and Graf took note. His frustration boiled over in the second half when he made a great run into the box looking for the cross, only for the ball to not make it anywhere near him. He didn’t look pleased. The only reason his ranking is a 6 is due to no one really giving him the chance to perform this game, and that’s just a shame.
#17 Rashawn Dally (5) – Dally was subbed on for Muckette in the 69th and had a few shining moments (one of the best chest passes I’ve ever seen to Graf), but also had a bad giveaway in the 95th minute while the ref was taking his sweet time blowing the whistle. WHY DID THE GAME LAST SO LONG??? Sorry, I’m calm now. All in all, Dally was adequate for what was needed.
#17 Ewan Grandison (N/A) – Grandison was subbed in for Metzger in the 71st, and the only noteworthy thing was a bad tackle in the 89th that allowed for a threatening free kick, but that was squandered so no real threat.
#2 Morgan Hackworth (N/A) – Hackworth subbed on for Graf in the 80th minute. Nothing really to report.
901 FC’s next match will be at home on Wednesday, May 15th against the New York Red Bulls U-23 squad. This match is a part of the U.S. Open Cup. Kickoff is at 7p cst and will be shown on ESPN+.
— Casey Long