Bob Ammann: From The Bench

October 16, 2007: Cal State Fullerton Men's Soccer Head Coach Bob Ammann Shares His Thoughts on the Titans' 2007 Season.

UC Riverside 0-1

The most disappointed I have been with the team all year. The players that were available didn’t come out of the locker room with the motivation, desire and hunger that is necessary to be successful. Some of the players still haven’t figured out that just because it worked before (youth level) doesn’t mean it is going to work now. They need to adapt and adjust in order to be successful at this level.

You can usually tell in pre-game if a team is flat or not. They didn’t show any signs of this until after the whistle. I believe that they didn’t show UCR enough respect and seemed a bit over confident. No matter how much talent you might have or think you have, you need to compete, battle and fight.

Although we weren’t playing well UCR never really posed any significant danger. I was definitely happy to get into the locker room 0-0 and have the opportunity to express to them my displeasure in hope that they would jumpstart themselves.

It was one of the only games this year that we had no offensive corners in the first half which to me is a sign of not being aggressive enough and forcing ourselves in the attack.

The second half we were a bit more aggressive and had 6 corners to show for it. Defensively we did pretty well. We did hold them to only 5 shots.

The turning point of the game came about 15 minutes into the half when Pete Kingman went down with a broken leg. I could see that the players were a bit shaken and shortly after getting him cleared off, a turnover in our defensive third led to what turned out to be the only goal of the game. It was taken well but I think Brent was a bit surprised by the turnover and thus was a bit late in reacting.

The game was another physical affair. UCR was whistled 19 times to our 15. They were issued 5 yellows while we were shown 2 yellows and a red. The decision on the red card might have been a bit harsh being that it was a fifty-fifty and he had no prior yellow. What upset me the most was that it should have been avoided and came while we were in possession. An sloppy pass from Matt Sanders put Freshman TJ Detviler in a bad situation that if not challenged for could have resulted in a scoring chance for UCR. This was the second time in the past three games that we were forced to play a man down.

It is easy to give excuses as to why things didn’t go our way but the bottom line is that mentally we weren’t prepared and that affected the outcome. We aren’t good enough to just step on the field.

UC Irvine 1-2 OT

After the discussions about the previous game I knew that the attitude would be proper and the boys would be ready to compete. The only problem was that our squad was very short. Not in height but in numbers. This has kind of been the theme of the season but surely hit the lowest point.

The UC Davis coach made a comment that in his most recent game he only had 15 players and how difficult it was. At the start of this game we only had 3 subs available.

As has been the case many times already this season we needed to shuffle the lineup and formation. A number of players started in positions that they hadn’t played before or had little experience playing. Tony Terrazas, who’s brother played for UCI, was needed to play right back in place of the suspended TJ Detviler and Sean Keefe started up top. Both players played well and affected the game positively. Sean’s physical presence up front was clearly evident and created a number of chances for us. Tony ended up marking his brother and didn’t give up anything to his older sibling.

The first half was fairly even. Neither team dominated but we did create some very good chances that we were unable to capitalize on. On one of those chances Skyler Thuresson served a tempting ball across the six between two defenders and the keeper that Jacob Shumway and Gabe Farfan were rushing to get on the end of. Unfortunately, Gabe stopped his run prior to entering the six and the ball never made it through to Jacob.  

I told the boys at the half that UCI didn’t pose any real danger of breaking us down during the run of play and that their only opportunities would come from set pieces or balls getting in behind us.

Ten minutes into the half Tony Terrazas unleashes a shot from about 35 yards out. I had a perfect view as it was right in front of our bench. The ball looked to be heading in the upper far corner only to bang off the cross bar and out toward the top of the box. Still somewhat shocked and feeling the obvious pressure UCI clears the ball long up field and out of danger. The clearance paid dividends immediately for the Eaters. Although the clearance looked harmless and had no intent of creating anything we suddenly found ourselves in big trouble. Matt Sanders was forced to chase the ball down while being pressured by a UCI attacker. This pressure and the under hit header allowed an interception and 1v1 situation. The forward intercepted the ball just outside the box and while entering was taken down by Brent Douglas. The result was a red card and penalty.

Tyler Andrews was thrust into action replacing Brent and Reid Baker was the unfortunate sub casualty of the red card. A red card to a keeper is worse than a field player. With a field player you lose one. With a keeper, you lose two players because you need to replace the keeper by using a field position. A much more complicated issue.

The penalty resulted in the first goal of the game and was an obvious concern being we have only scored 1 goal in our previous 4 games.

I was once again pleased with our response. Although we were playing down a man we forced the game and created a number of chances. Our problems have not been creating chances but finishing those chances. The past few weeks we have been promoting pulling the trigger and forcing the keeper to make saves. Just hit it!

Our  diligence was rewarded with 15 minutes to play as Jacob Shumway’s shot squirted through the keepers arms and legs and into the far post to tie the game at one. The goal energized the boys and I could see the confidence and belief rise. We had a couple of great chances to win the game in the the last few minutes. Matt Sanders hit a bomb that hit off the post and behind the keeper where it was waiting for someone to pounce on but unfortunately a defender got to it before we could and cleared it out of danger.

We seemed to be in the attacking third most of the second half and had 7 corners to show for it. Each of these corners set up great opportunities to change the outcome of the game.

Regulation would end 1-1 and I was proud of the way we battled and took the game to them. All this was done being a man down.

The game would end 4 minutes into overtime on a play that resembled the earlier goal. Although it didn’t come from a penalty or misjudged back pass it was equally as frustrating. We had the ball in the attacking third and looked to have been fouled. The official puts the whistle up to his mouth but decides not to blow while Irvine starts in the opposite direction. The ball gets played to the same player that got taken down for the penalty about 40 yards from goal who zigzagged his way through two defenders and slipped the ball past a charging Tyler Andrews for the victory.

This is now the 5th straight game to be decided by a goal. We are 0-4-1 in these games.

It was the first league game that we allowed more than one goal.

We have played short due to red cards in 3 of these past 5 games. We now stand in last place in league but are only 4 points out of third. Although you all should know this you get 3 points for a win 1 for a tie.

Upcoming games

UC Riverside (Wed. 3:00pm @ UCR)

I won’t have to say too much in the pre-game. Playing exactly a week since our first meeting it is still very fresh in all of our minds. Hopefully we will have learned and make the necessary adjustments. We will once again be very limited in the player selections and options and will need guys to step up.

Brent Douglas will sit out due to his suspension but we will get Kevin Puder back. Kevin has been out exactly one month since injuring himself against Ohio State. We have had a number of players that missed practiced due to different ailments and will see what we have available come game time.

UCR will be very confident which will make our job even more difficult but it is very difficult to beat a team twice and we will be motivated to erase last weeks performance. Since the result against us last Wednesday they went to Northridge a drew 0-0. They are 1-1-2 and have a total of 5 points (win vs. us & 2 draws vs CSN & SLO, loss vs Davis).

UC Davis (Sat. 1:00pm @ Davis)

This will be the first meeting of the year between us and our third road league game. Davis has a record of 6-2-3 overall (1-2-1 in league) although they will play Northridge tomorrow. They are currently tied for 4th place on 4 points with UCI.

Davis is always a tough place to play. They are a very athletic and physical team. They are always very energized especially when playing at home and we will need to be ready to play. They rank second in the nation with a scoring average of 2.45 goals per game.

In closing

We are getting to the point of the season where card accumulation starts to affect games. Players that have 5 yellows must sit out and then every additional third after that is also a game suspension. We have a few players that are nearing the magic number and with our lack of depth we can’t afford sitting out players.

As competitive as we have been we still have nothing to show for our performances up to this point. We have 8 games to play and anything is possible. We hope to get everyone healthy and be able to field the strongest squad possible.

The NCAA has just released publicly a midseason RPI. As of today out of the 202 D-1 programs we are 80th. Six of our remaining eight games are against teams that are above us and four of those are against teams in the top 45 so we have a great opportunity to improve.

We lost 4 of the last 5 games by a total of 4 goals. With any luck we could be 7-3-1 even with everything that we have been through. We have 8 games to go make some luck and turn this season around. Lets go Titans!

Have a great week.