City Dominates Columbus and Takes Another Step Forward to Making the Playoffs
First Half Demolition
The opening minutes were sloppy. Both teams struggled to gain any traction as passes ran errant and shots skimped away from the goal. Then, at the 18 minute mark, City took off. It was a combination goal between Jared Santos and Aldony Mendez that opened the flood gates and put City up 1-0. Two minutes later a cheeky goal by Dylan Lack put City up 2-0. Within a minute after that goal, Jared Santos played a ball across the court to Jeremy Klepal who beat a player and smashed a left foot rocket into the top right corner of the goal to make it 3-0. Columbus was struggling to hold possession of the ball under the high pressing defense of City, and City was flying forward creating one opportunity after another. At the 12 minute mark, Willy Guerrero beat a player down the wing and placed a lovely chip right over the keeper to Ryan Derby who headed the ball into the net making it 4-0. One minute later, Jared Santos beat a defender and cut inside from the right wing to the center of the court and smashed a left footer into the back of the net to make it 5-0. With 8 minutes to go in the half Jared Santos played a ball across the court, again, to Jeremy Klepal who left the Columbus defender in the dust and smashed a goal from a tough angle into the top right corner to make it 6-0. Two minutes later a brilliant run by Aldony Mendez created space on the outside for Jeremy Klepal who zinged a ball back post to Jared Klepal who put the ball in from the back post to make it 7-0. The first half was all City.
Second Half Sputter
The second half started out a little shaky for City. A quick goal off a defensive error gave Columbus some hope and made it 7-1. Then another defensive error made it 7-2 and then another 7-3. Head coach, Jacob Derby, was livid. You could hear him commanding the players from the sideline to get their focus back in the game. Must have worked. City put the pedal to the metal again and scored 5 more goals in the second half and only gave up one. Aldony Mendez had a brilliant goal set up by Jared Santos, Ryan Derby's never quite attitude earned him a goal, Dylan Lack snuck one in from the side of the court and Jared Santos smashed one in from the left side to put City up 12-4. It was a total domination in a must win game.
High pressing Defense proves effective
Are City's defensive struggles a thing of the past? We think that it is good to say that they are improving but maybe not solved. The new high press style seems to fit City. Columbus and Connecticut really looked uncomfortable on the ball and City looked much more engaged and attentive in the high press style. We talked to coach Jacob Derby, who communicated before the game that they were switching to a high press approach because of Columbus tendencies of playing right into the pivot. And boy did we like what we saw! Is this tactic going to continue in the games going forward? We are planning to sit down with Derby and talk to him this week about his defensive tactics for the home game this Friday against New York.
Goal scoring? No problems there!
City has scored 35 goals in the past 4 games. Jeremy Klepal and Aldony Mendez continue to be a threat anytime they get the ball at their feet. What we are seeing though, is a dramatic improvement in some of the other members of the team contributing to the attack! Jared Santos is becoming more and more of a threat in that low ala spot and has smashed in a couple long range efforts these past couple games. Ryan Derby and Jared Klepal create "somethings out of nothings" with their "never quite" attitude and approach to the game. Dylan Lack is coming into a consistent goal scoring form and Willy Guerrero seems to be settling in an ala role for City and has come up with some great plays in the past couple games.
City has their last home game this Friday at 7:30 P.M against New York. New York is 5-1-1 on the season and is one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference. This might be the most important game of the season for City. After the results from the weekend come in from around the league we will update you on where City stands and what they need to do to continue to stay in the playoff race.