Saturday’s weather was great. Clear skies and cool temperatures in the morning giving way to warm and sunny by the early afternoon.
Just like Friday night, we had six of our seven players.
Pre-match, I started the boys off on some 2v1 and then 2v2 play as players arrive. I had both “teams” play to the same goal. Some of the kids complained that they didn’t like that – because it didn’t give them a chance to recover if they lost the ball. I still saw kids reluctant to engage on defense on a 1v1 basis and instead hang back more.
Before match start we reviewed the roles and positioning. The kids seemed to understand our objectives, and we did our team cheer and took the field.
Our team played great during the first quarter. They did what was asked of them – stayed fairly composed on defense, engaged with the other team and were able to keep the other team out of the box for most of the quarter. The other team scored a goal on a shot that went over our goalkeeper’s head, so there was nothing we could do about that goal.
Near the end of the first quarter, Aidan was able to get the ball forward and beat their defenders and the goal keeper and score an equalizer. The quarter ended 1-1 and the kids came off the field.
The Second quarter and the rest of the game, we couldn’t match the performance of the fist half. Our Center back took a ball to the nose and had to come off. I switched another player to the position and he got beat several times because he got too far forward when he didn’t have the ball. (I want my center defenders to dribble the ball out versus having him just blasting the ball away).
More than anything – we didn’t engage in 1v1 defending and the other team had lots of chances to blast shots on goal. The opponent had time and space to set up a shot, and our players ran to the goal to cover the goal. Shot after shot went through because you can’t defend standing near the net.
We did almost score a few more goals in the second half – Aidan got free to the left of the goal and almost put one past the keeper but it was stopped.
I wonder why we can’t have kids play 3v3 for longer in soccer as the competition outlet. I’m not sure whether it’s the format, or that the skills differential is lower, but kids seem to pick up the sport so much faster at 3v3 than in the older age group. (There will be a post coming on this topic this week.)
Our new scorer from last week continued on that path this week with a few more goals, and two other kids really started to engage on defense.
Evan continued his dominant play and worked on a couple of his cut moves pre-game. He’s doing the club’s skills enrichment program and I’m really encouraging him to continue to experiment with these skills during the game.
The kids seemed to enjoy playing again this week and everyone went away happy.