Bob Ammann: From the Bench

September 11, 2007: Cal State Fullerton Men's Soccer Head Coach Bob Ammann Shares His Thoughts on the Titans' 2007 Season

Memphis Game
"I felt that the boys were really mentally prepared for this game. We had a game plan in place and were intent on executing it. Getting the early goal was huge and what a beautiful goal it was. The service from Andres to Michael was fantastic and Michael obviously did well with the finish. Our defending throughout the game was good and we were intent on limiting their space. Brent gobbled up everything they threw in the box and made the saves that he needed to.

"The second goal was a great individual effort by Jacob, cutting his man and out hustling three Memphis players to put away the rebound. It was great to see him score his first career goal and that happiness was shared by all his teammates.

"I was proud of the hustle and determination we showed up to the final whistle. That effort will be necessary and determine our success throughout the season. The 3 shutouts to start the season was the best start since 1981 and put the streak at 4 including the final game of last season (2-0 win versus SLO).

"We have scored 5 goals in our first 3 games, each being scored by a different player. It was a great way to start the season against a very good team. Memphis will cause a lot of people trouble this year.

Michigan Game
"At the time I thought that we were ready to play, but, in retrospec,t we might have been too excited. We were really eager to finish the tournament as the only undefeated team and win the Championship match.

"What had been a strength (limiting mistakes) in the first three games was our downfall and ultimately cost us the game. A quick free kick caught us unable to react properly and was capped by a goalkeeping mistake which broke the shutout streak.

"I was not happy with how we responded mentally to going a goal down. The boys acted like giving up this goal was the end of the game/season. Being down for the first time this year unraveled us and we lost our composure when there was no need to. On top of being down 1-0 our keeper was sent to the hospital after an errant kick to his head. Kevin was put in the unenviable situation of coming off the bench and playing behind a team that at that moment was rattled. Shortly after his entry Michigan scored their second. The goal was a gift on an errant clearance right to the top of the box where after a quick touch the Michigan player put it in the upper corner.

"Coming out for the second half I really felt that if we could reduce the mistakes and tighten things up in the back we could get ourselves back into the game. Unfortunately, 5 minutes into the second half the referee red cards Michael on what looked to me a questionable call (even after seeing it on tape). Michael hadn't received a yellow nor previously been talked to by the official and to be shown a straight red I felt was a bit harsh. Especially when he was the player in possession of the ball.

"Being 2-0 down and reduced to 10 basically sealed the result. We could have packed it in and lost 2-0 but that isn't my style. We didn't do a good job collectively and had players trying to do too much. The three previous games we did a much better job of sharing and moving the ball around. All in all it was a poor performance. We didn't do a good job when called upon and our response was not what I expect from my team."

Weekend review
"Although we weren't pleased with our performance and the result versus Michigan, it wasn't a terrible tournament. All 4 teams entered undefeated and we managed to end up in second place. We had 3 players chosen on the All Tournament team (Amir, Andres and Brent). Michigan entered the top 20 nationally after the weekend's results and Memphis was voted the No. 4 team in its region. "

Upcoming Tournament
"This will be our second of 3 Big Ten Teams we play this week. We will obviously be looking for a better performance than we displayed versus Michigan. Penn St is coming in with a record of 1-3 after splitting this past weekends two games.

Penn State
"It will be very important that we don't look at their record (1-3) and think that it will be an easy game. They have lost 2 of the 3 games by 0-1 scores and surely will be looking at our Michigan game's result and get motivated. They lost 0-1 to West Virginia, which is ranked highly (and beat Maryland) so I am sure that they will be very tough. They have only allowed three goals in their last 3 games while scoring 4 in their only win of the season. We will have our hands full and will need to make sure that we come prepared to play.

Ohio State
"Ohio State comes into this weekend undefeated (3-0-1) and with a No. 12 national Ranking. They are playing at a very high level going 6 games (including 2 scrimmages) to start the season undefeated. They played in the Big Ten Championship last year but were not selected to the NCAA tournament with an 11-7-3 record. They have a large number of extremely motivated returning players that will be looking at continuing their good start while playing two good West Coast teams. These are the type of games that can ultimately get you in or keep you from getting into the NCAA tournament.

"Three of their four wins have come by shutout so we know we will be up against a difficult opponent. On top of playing well defensively they seem to be clicking offensively, scoring 9 goals in the 4 games. The have played against two nationally ranked opponents in Creighton (2-2 scrimmage) and West Virginia (won 1-0)."

Weekend Outlook
"I know the team is very eager to play again this week. They know that they didn't play very well Sunday and the errors we committed were our undoing. The best and worst thing about college soccer is that you often have another game to prepare for in a short period of time. In this case we are very happy that we have this chance to redeem ourselves and show everyone that the result from this past Sunday is not who we are. I anticipate a very physical game from both of our opponents. We will need to make sure that we are physically prepared and mentally ready. We will have a short 40 hours to put the Penn State game behind us before we play Ohio State.

"At this point I am not sure who will be available to play. I do know that Brent is not available this weekend (probably out 3 to 4 weeks) after he suffered a broken cheek and eye orbit during a collision with a Michigan player. Michael has to sit out Friday night's game but will be back in the lineup Sunday. Other than that, it is day to day and we will probably know the lineup come game day. Our medical staff is working overtime trying to get everyone put together.

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