Playing within the scheme

Sports Reporter

by Eric Oslund

Sports Reporter

When the final whistle had blown during Tuesday’s game, and the Spectrum boys soccer team defeated PACT 2-0, head coach Richard Sonterre walked over to talk to his opposition. And as the two of them broke down the game they had just witnessed, Sonterre couldn’t hep but smile.

Huy Nguyen has done a great job filling in for the team’s starting goaltender. Going 3-0, and recording back-to-back shutouts. (Photo by Eric Oslund)

PACT’s head coach told him that the Sting had his players spread out all over the field, and chasing the ball around east to west – possibly the biggest compliment Sonterre could receive.

The system he has installed at Spectrum is one that maximizes the width of the soccer field. They keep their outside midfielders out very wide in this scheme, so one of two things can happen. Either their opponents will spread their defense out wide to cover everyone – in which case there are more openings in front of the net – or they will stay tight in front of the net, leaving guys on the outside wide open for passes.

“When it’s executed right, it’s a difficult system to beat,” the head coach said.

At first, it may seem as though it would be a basic strategy to implement or one easy to execute, but, like any strategy, there are a lot of things that need to take place for it to run correctly and if there is even one mishap then it fails to be productive.

The most important key to this approach is ball movement and working together as a team. That’s exactly what the Sting were able to do against PACT, start the ball on one side of the field and work it to the other, spread out the defense and then attack the openings.

Brandon Bergren weaved his way through the defense, launched a ball on net, and then banked his shot off a PACT defender to give the Sting a 1-0 lead. (Photo by Eric Oslund)

“Really good ball distribution both in the sense that we got the ball outside, but starting play on the left side, seeing the defense, go strong to the left side and then making a pass to the middle, a pass to the right, and now we’ve got them going east and west instead of north and south,” Sonterre explained. “That’s fantastic.”

It was a game where there was nothing the players really did wrong. The coaches addressed some issues they saw in the first half during halftime, but those were even small details such as defending on the inside of the body versus the outside, and doing better at 50/50 balls – when the ball is in the air.

And the players responded, doubling the amount of 50/50 balls they won in the second half and continuing to neutralize the speed PACT had on the offensive end.

After a game like that, there is not much else Sonterre can say to his players other than, ‘Good job.’ They executed his game plan to perfection and came away with a win.

“When the game is executed as well as it was today, I just want to emphasize how many things we did right,” the head coach said. “All I wanted to do was reiterate all the things we were doing right. If you understand how well we’re playing the system, you see the end result.”

Dylan Smith (24) celebrates with his teammates after his goal put the Sting up 2-0 over PACT. (Photo by Eric Oslund)

That win improved the Sting to 3-0 on the season, and 1-0 in the conference. They know they it may not always stay perfect like that, as there are some very talented teams in their conference coming up on their schedule, but Sonterre hopes that games like this can help his team moving forward.

“It’s one of those things, especially with this age group, it’s infectious,” he said of winning. “They are now getting a taste for winning and they like it, so that motivates them, I think, to play the way they need to play. It’s an exciting time.”