Cretin Derham Hall Recap September 12
September 17, 2013East Ridge Boys Soccer
Touch. In soccer parlance, this is simply one of the most important aspects of the game. If you have 'touch', your control is sure. Confidence is high. Options are wide open. Touch allows you to control the ball into a position of use. The ability to have a good 'touch' is a differentiator especially when it done well under pressure.
The opposite is also true.
This was proven in the first 15 seconds of the Raptors Thursday night 2-0 win over the Cretin Derham Hall Raiders. Cretin took the kick off and played it back to its defense. This is a normal start for most teams as the idea is that 4 defenders can easily possess against 2-3 offensive players. From a Raptors POV, the idea is to pressure the ball with speed while cutting off passing lanes of relief. Aggression is critical to creating pressure. As the ball swung between defenders...the receiving defender's touch eluded him under Jarrod Ronquillo's pressure. It was a simple thing really...but the result was devasting. Jarrod stripped the ball and took the end line...and as he has done in previous games, he knew his attack mate would be center bound. A simple centering pass was perfectly weighted...and Zack Boerjan's touch was true in passing it into the net. 15 seconds. One bad touch by a defender. Aggressive play by Jarrod. A good touch by a Zack. 1-0 Raptors.
That is the way to start a game.
For the next 20 minutes, Cretin carried the possession. The Raptors had to be content with countering in a direct manner...finding Zack on several forays forward. Zack is a hard worker and created his own opportunity when, again, the Cretin defensive touch was not good enough. He blocked a pass then found space down the left, turned the corner and was in on goal. He slid into the middle and was cut down by an angling defender. Certain PK and a red-card for last man. Instead...a yellow card was brandished to Zack for a 'dive'. The crowd was incredulous. Zack is not a diver. If he goes down, it is because someone made him go down.
This was just one of several questionable calls by the referree throughout the game. It seemed that the Raptors received the short end of almost every interaction and the crowd became increasingly perturbed at the one sided nature.
Cretin went back on the attack. Then Samuel Ruiz-Plaza found heaps of expanse through the middle taking 50 yards of space. And just as he had in the White Bear game, he found space enough to blast one hoping for a screen shot through defenders. His effort was deflected and then collected by Jarrod breaking hard right. The keeper came out but Jarrod's quick touch was true and his finish was handsome. 2-0 Raptors...with 20 minutes to half. Perhaps it was against the run of play...but it was deserving.
For the rest of the game, the offense continued to look for direct balls forward and into the corners. Several opportunities just missed through Connor, Zack, and Jarrod. Then Danny Muntner provided his mortar like bombs from throw-ins. The tight field meant that Danny could get his throws to the goal mouth and troubled the keeper time and again. What a keen weapon. Danny was also aggressive in pressuring and was set on the break time and again by Samo...almost winning a kick just outside of the box after having been clipped. Danny, in contrast to Zack, knows how to make it look when he gets fouled. The ref somehow looked passed it to the gripes of the crowd.
But this game was clearly a celebration of defense. Having only given up one goal all season, the pressure from Cretin was substantial. Time and again they advanced forward only to be met by the Maginot Line of Alec Tostenrud (Toast), Joseph Kays (KZ), Calvin, and Kris Broughton. The techniques employed were ruthless in their efficiency resulting in Cretin being content with long range efforts that Chris Knight easily collected. Whenever there was a need for a physical and athletic response, there was Toast. His influence on the game was substantial and sure. Taking most of the kicks, he turned defensive moments in to offensive opportunities.
KZ's continued to play his quarterbacking role in the back. His main charge was to neutralize Cretin's big center striker. Time and again the ball would be thrown into the Cretin striker. Like a high center posting up in basketball who distributes to darting guards, the Cretin striker would look to pass aggressively. Every time he was met and pressured by KZ and stripped. Higher and higher up the field this play happened as KZ would simply not let him turn. Cretin eventually got wise to this and tried to change slightly to their advantage. The problem was that Toast was backing KZ up. The trust between the two Captains is something to behold. Working together like two blades of a scissors, they kept cutting Cretin down to size. This kept Cretin at bay...forcing them to the edges.
The attack would then put pressure on the defensive flanks manned by Calvin and Thomas Redden on the left...and Kris on the right. Their preferred approach was to angle long balls through the right. Kris would have none of it. He never gave enough room and aggressively intercepted every ball into his area. Then he would go forward and join the attack. Kris's play was exceptionally good on both sides of the ball winning him Man-of-the-Match honors for his combined play. He seemed to be everywhere at times and was positionally rotated through the middle because of his influence. His game has gotten steadily stronger through the season and he is playing with a great deal of joy and fearlessness that is infectious.
The 2-0 win improves the Raptors record to 6-0 and 3-0 in the SEC. This was a very hard fought game and Cretin is very strong. All reflected that this was a game was one that could have gone differently if it weren't for 'touch'.
The Raptors now travel to South St. Paul on Saturday, then have a home game against Hastings before they enter into the most dangerous and difficult stretch of the season. They are a bit nicked up and need some time to rest their sore bodies in order to heal.
Remember to look for the slideshows on the right side of the iHigh website.