Strong of­fense, but loss to Dal for X-men

The Casket - - Sports - SAM MAC­DON­ALD sam­mac­don­ald@the­cas­ket.ca

Although the St. F.X. X-men soc­cer team out­shot the Dal­housie Tigers, they were un­able to pull off a win with that ag­gres­sive play, with the game end­ing in a 4-0 de­feat.

St. F.X. played a highly of­fen­sive game at Oland Sta­dium on Oct. 13, tak­ing 29 shots on Dal­housie’s goal, as op­posed to the seven the lat­ter took. Head coach Gra­ham Kennedy said the goals scored against St. F.X. were the re­sult of a cou­ple of mishaps that set the tone for the rest of the game.

"We had a goal­keeper er­ror early in the game re­sult­ing in one goal, and then, early in the sec­ond half, Dal­housie scored from a cor­ner kick."

From that point on, two-nil on er­rors, Kennedy noted the X-men were chas­ing the game. He de­scribed Dal­housie’s two early goals as ones that put the X-men "on their back feet," try­ing to keep up for the rest of the match.

"There was a lot of pres­sure to score, and as the game went on, we went on, push­ing for­ward. At one point, we said ‘do we push for­ward and lose 3-0 or re­main bal­anced de­fen­sively and lose 2-0?’ We went for it, and paid for it," Kennedy said, not­ing they fo­cused on play­ing of­fen­sively for the rest of the game.

Kennedy knew they were go­ing into a tough game on Satur­day, given that Dal­housie "hasn’t al­lowed a goal in all year, up to that point," play­ing a strong de­fen­sive game in ad­di­tion to its ef­fi­cient of­fense.

"We knew they were strong in goal. We were quite con­fi­dent we could con­trol the mid­field, which we did, and quite con­fi­dent we could pen­e­trate, which we did," Kennedy said. "What we didn’t ex­pect was to give up two easy goals."

Kennedy em­pha­sized the need, go­ing for­war, for more de­ci­sive, quick work with the ball.

"When you have the other team pushed back, you have to be re­ally quick and pre­cise with your shoot­ing," Kennedy said. "You don’t have the op­por­tu­nity to take two or three touches be­fore you shoot it."

Pass­ing too much "be­comes pre­dictable against a goal­keeper like [Dal­housie keeper] Ben Grondin, and you’re not go­ing to score," Kennedy noted, adding, "You need to cy­cle the ball faster, and if we’re go­ing to score, it’s go­ing to be from one-touch goals, and close to the goal."

Kennedy said an­other les­son for the team was "mak­ing sure we’re ab­so­lutely pre­pared to start a game."

"By the time we were ready to start, we were two-nil. A big les­son for us is get­ting a more dis­ci­plined start to the game. We’re a team that can dom­i­nate pos­ses­sion of the ball. And that can man­i­fest it­self as goals scored, but that’s not al­ways the case," Kennedy said. "Pos­ses­sion with­out pen­e­tra­tion is dan­ger­ous, and that’s what hap­pened."

The big thing, in Kennedy’s mind is that the X-men have oth­er­wise had a good sea­son.

"We played well, and what we had was four min­utes out of 90, that we weren’t our­selves. And in those four min­utes, we didn’t do some of the things we wanted to. It’s not a per­ma­nent prob­lem, it’s tem­po­rary, and I think it’s al­ready been fixed."

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