What did our beloved Claret and Cobalt do the evening of March, 10th? They did what they trained for. They did what they most wanted. They did what they are capable of. They “came to score” (The Aggrolites).
Ah, the morning of match day. It's all a bit different when you won't be there, isn't it? Anyhow, that's of little concern and is mostly me just whining a bit. Alas, there is nothing to be done about that now, so let's get on with things, shall we?
One of the problems our side has encountered this season — as I detailed with juicy numbers on The Sovereign yesterday — is our lack of shooting from distance. In some sense, this isn't all bad, as it means we're trying to create more, shall I say, genuine scoring opportunities, as opposed to simply having a go whenever it pleases us. It's certainly a bit more disciplined.
More important than our scoring, though? We've been allowing an abnormal amount of our shots conceded to become goals through, uh, the magic of life. Or, you know. Something like that. It's not exactly to our credit, is it? We've conceded the fifth-highest number of goals from attempts inside the box (30 of 169 shots). That's not pretty.
How do we fix this? That's a question for Jason Kreis. If I had him answering this question, that quote would go here, but as I don't — well, it is what it is. Is it down to the defense? I don't know, but it's hard to hold them blameless; that much is certain. If I were to try to put a finger on it very quickly, I'd suspect that it's a combination of midfield turnovers and defensive shakiness. Whatever the cause, we've got to shut it out quickly — and it does seem we have a bit recently, but it's one of those things you will want to pay attention to moving forward.
Right, a lineup prediction. We're a bit better off than we were even two weeks ago — Chris Schuler's nearly back, Olave is recovering, and with any luck, Fabian Espindola isn't fatigued. We are, however, missing Kenny Mansaly, and as he's a good option off the bench, that does hurt a bit.
In goal, Rimando continues — why wouldn't he? It's always difficult to know how much a goalkeeper saves a defense or harms a defense, but I'm certainly well-inclined to believe that he saves our defense more often than not. Can you imagine if we had an average or below-average keeper in there? Our form might look rather worse.
In defense, why not go first(ish) choice? Beltran, Borchers, Watson-Siriboe, Wingert. I don't anticipate Chris Schuler making a full return quite yet — caution should keep him out just a bit longer — but Watson-Siriboe has done quite well in there. It'll be a blow when he loses his place, but as he didn't anticipate playing much when he first arrived, it should be ever so slightly easier to handle.
In the midfield, again, first choice? Why not. Beckerman, Grabavoy, Johnson, Morales. Done, solved. I don't anticipate us returning to the five-man midfield at home, as it's a slight defensive shift to affairs. I'd like to see more shooting from these folks — only just over 25 percent of our shots come from our first-choice midfield four.
Up front, Fabian Espindola should be back from his fatigue layoff, though I have no evidence to confirm that, and Alvaro Saborio should be continuing to build up the goals. We may be grasping if we say the Supporters Shield is still up for grabs, but I don't think it's stretching to say that Alvaro Saborio could well be in with a shout for the Golden Boot, or whatever it is we call it here. I've forgotten.
Right, hard to say what else we need to do — it's another must-win, but saying we must win is different than spelling out how we might do that. Let's have at it.