Thursday Q&A: Rumors, San Francisco Thoughts, The Goal Situation

Well this is unusual and new. Unfortunately, the Bold City Soccer Show did not air this week as Kyle, what a guy he is, misplaced an audio cable that disallowed us from recording. The cable is in transit via express shipping, though it will be on his door step come Saturday, and I will be in New York City. Anyways, that is the excuse this week but we will for sure return behind the microphones with fire takes come Monday.

I know you all have plenty of questions that you wanted to be answered on the podcast, therefore I am doing a Question & Answer article right here. With that being said, let’s jump right into it!

Jake Silick (@sportzfrk) – Q: We get blasted (beaten) on Saturday (against New York Cosmos) right?

Not necessarily. Though the attack has been lacking and there has been no urgency or ability to create opportunities in the opponent’s half, the defense looks to be strong and legit. We are not sure what to make of New York Cosmos, either, as their results have been all over the place during the first three games. A draw at Puerto Rico is fair, but getting thrashed 3-0 at home to Miami was a shock. The next week in the return game at Miami, NYC snatched the victory in 2-0 fashion, though it was not a clean and thorough performance. Miami dominated the match and forced Jimmy Maurer into two double saves, a few miraculous saves, and they also hit the post twice. Credit to NYC, though they do not look the same level of talent as last year, and I firmly believe Jacksonville can draw or potentially steal three points at MCU Park. Final score? 1-1.

@BROOT32 – Q: Has (Derek) Gebhard proven himself enough to start?

I want to say yes, but unfortunately, no. We have only witnessed Gebhard start a few games since his arrival to Jacksonville, and in those starts he has not made impactful performances to sway the game. The kid is quick and can keep defenders busy throughout the night, but he lacks a goalscoring threat. Whether he has started, which has been minimal, or has come off the bench, Gebhard has appeared for the club 17 times and has never scored. I am still confident Jonathan Glenn is the man, we just need to give him a bit more time before we make serious assumptions of his skill or what he brings to the side. He scored in preseason, and he is capable of scoring in the regular season. To answer the question bluntly, Gebhard will prove his worth when he sinks one into the back of the net and becomes more of a threat on the attack in creating chances for himself and players around him.

Ryan Stallings (@kiserstallings) – Q: With a couple of D3 leagues fomenting, what do you see as most feasible/likely/advantageous to Armada FC? Choices: Move to USL (D2), Move to new USL (D3), Move to other new D3, New D3 absorbs NASL teams.

If anyone did not hear, a report was released by Nipun Chopra of “Soc Takes” regarding an alternate Division 3 league spearheaded by Peter Wilt and Club 9 Sports. This is the same charge that revived the North American Soccer League. The new league will join the USL Second Division on the same level of the American soccer pyramid, Division Three, if it is to be legitimate and happening. Whatever this league may be, Wilt and co. are targeting top tier NPSL clubs such as the likes of Chattanooga to structure the league. The speculation regarding this news consists highly of promotion/relegation talk. Being a partner league to NASL, could the NASL and its D3 counterpart commence in promotion and relegation between itself? Then, I remembered that NASL will either be D2 next year or it will not make the cut. Due to U.S. Soccer Federation stating that only one league will hold the status of D2 next year, between USL and NASL, that may determine more of what happens with the newly released league. This and other questions still remain, though there was an interesting portion of the article that turned heads in Jacksonville.

Chopra wrote “Ownership groups in Jacksonville, Chattanooga, Birmingham and Greenville are said to be interested in the project. It is unclear if these groups are associated with existing teams or are novel projects entirely.” Plans of expansion of a new league will show availability to feature teams from all over the country, not constrain to operating through geographic zones like the NPSL and PDL. With no owner announced at the moment, and no exact plan for the future, Jacksonville could be open and available for a move to this new league, though we know nothing as of yet. I will link the article at the end of this answer.

I personally think USL is out of the question. It would be nice to arrive into a growing league like USL and be apart of what is happening there, and to join Tampa Bay and revive Florida match-ups like those, but I do not see it happening. My first thought when reading this article is that of NASL being beaten in the Division Two race and conceding to form their own D3 league. I stand by this thought and think that the NASL will be absorbed by this new D3 league that Peter Wilt has in mind. Don’t rule anything out regarding the fate of where Jacksonville will be playing next year, though.

@JaxJosh904 – Q: Former Timbers midfielder Kalif Alhassan, was signed this year by Cosmos. He had an off year last year and hasn’t seen many minutes. Do you think he is going to bounce back and will we see him against Armada?

I’ve always loved watching Alhassan, both when we played at Portland and when he played at Minnesota. Unfortunately, with only one substitute appearance this year, which was during Week One of the regular season, Alhassan has had limited opportunities to make a claim to be apart of the Starting XI. Still, it is early in the season and there is a chance we see Alhassan on Sunday as he has the capability to provide a spark in the attack, but to be honest I haven’t got a clue.

Will he bounce back from last year? It’s possible and he has the ability to perform at the level he did for Portland. Alhassan needs time on the pitch to be able to prove his worth and have an opportunity to bounce back, but manager Gio Savarese has excluded him from the lineup multiple times which has hurt him this year.

James Watson – Q: Who has been your favorite player thus far?

Watching J.C. Banks and Zach Steinberger connect well and score has been a joy, but there is more potential to the two and what they can bring to the table. I’ve enjoyed watching them play, though my choice is Mechak Jérôme. Such a consistent defender he is, the Haitian is strong, knowledgable, and does not let much attack get through him. He was been a beast in the air this year and has helped lead Jacksonville to three shutouts in their first three matches.

Chavella Rochelle – Q: Why was (Alhassane) Keita at practice?

The Guinean striker is back! Just kidding. He did not make the Tampa Bay Rowdies squad and has been in the area looking for an offer from Europe. Like the nice guy Mark Lowry is, he let Keita train with the side for at least a day which is what we know, could have been more. Though, don’t expect Keita to make a return to the Fleet. And thank God he is not.

Daniel Johnson – Q: Is San Francisco our new rival replacing Tampa Bay?

I am under the impression we have not made a rival yet. Matches with Tampa Bay were always heated, though I think it was too early to call that a rivalry, though PR ate that headline all up calling it the Ponce de Leon Derby or something crazy like that. I think San Francisco and Jacksonville’s match on Saturday was chippy due to both teams being at the upper end of the table. The winner would take first place in the league essentially, which is pivotal and would have given either squad a much better advantage furthering themselves into the Spring title race. There are true competitors on both teams, so i fully expect these match-ups to be hotly contested throughout the year. Rivalry? Nah. Just some very competitive and entertaining soccer matches.

Kevin Karolewicz – Q: Who is going to be our goalscorer this year and when?

Jonathan Glenn has got to step up for this side and bang the goals or else it will be a long year, with an unsure replacement like Derek Gebhard on the bench, who as I mentioned before still has quite a bit to prove. I am not sure when, but I will say, the longer the drought, the more we fall in the table. Steinberger and Banks can not carry the load and score all of the goals. The pair can score, but they are not absurdly natural in the goalscoring department. The weight falls on Glenn and he needs to start scoring now or else we can kiss first place goodbye. Yet, also keep in mind that he needs chances created for him and that comes from Jack Blake, Steinberger, Banks and co. The attack needs to shape up and play more aggressively and with menace.

Aaron Wallace (@Wallace_LFC) – Q: How concerned are you with the @JaxArmadaFC lack of goal scoring? Does it even matter? Would you make a change up top?

Of course, not being able to score is a concern and it matters. I am not completely and 100% worried about the lack of scoring now, though, as we have only come across two different sides in the league. The defense is working tirelessly to preserve shutouts and keep the squad in these matches, now it is time for the forwards to complement the back line with goals to alleviate pressure. I would be worried if we are struggling to find goals and still on this topic a few matches from now.

Right now, I am still certain Glenn is the right man for the spot in the starting lineup, though these next few games will speak highly of what he can bring to this side. If he continues through a goalless struggle, I would advise bringing on a healthy and lively Derek Gebhard and see what the young striker can produce. For now, Glenn is fine. I just hope he can find the back of the net soon.

Brian Healy – Q: Why do we pass backward? Why do the attacking elements stand around and not make runs?

Short and simple for you. Possession! Just kidding I will dig into this. Our strength as a team, and what Lowry requires of the squad, is to possess the ball and remain in control during matches. Unfortunately, our liability is that in advancing the ball into the attack and creating opportunities. The forwards definitely have ability to create efforts on goal and around the goal, though we are not showing a desire to do more and work harder around the opposition’s box. This sort of ties into the second part of the question.

Our attacking elements are Jonathan Glenn, Zach Steinberger, and J.C. Banks. Jack Blake can also be added to the mix as he has the most chances created within the squad. The problem is that, for one, Jonathan Glenn is not a player to continue to make runs behind the defense. You may see him attempt runs a few times throughout the match, though that style of play is not a constant to how he plays up top. His skill rests in holding the ball up for runners on the wing, and his shooting is actually pretty decent if he could have a chance to let his laces loose on the ball. Don’t get me wrong, he has not been perfect. He has missed a few chances that have come his way, especially against Edmonton at home, but he has not gotten the quality service from the other three players.

Jack Blake, I will leave him out of this case due to him playing CAM and usually being the one on the ball looking for a runner, though he does need to contribute more.

Our wingers.. they are not wingers. J.C. Banks and Zach Steinberger are central midfielders and can also play central attacking midfield as their main positions. And yes, the two have found success on the wing and have ability to play on the wing, though they are not true and known to play that high up the field. These two players have bursts, but do not hold a sprint speed like Charles Eloundou or Jemal Johnson on the outside. This simply means, most of the time, the two will be looking for combinations and the ball being played to their feet.

Taking the ball one-on-one against a defender is a different story than trying to win with pace chasing a ball sent through the air or on the ground past the defense. Banks and Steinberger have the ability to glide by a defender and beat them one-on-one. The two however do not possess the pace to continue to run and run after through balls, in which they will mostly get beat during these attempts. This is a reason the attack has been failing thus far, but these two are our best options going forward. One way to improve while still having these two on the wings? Quit playing safe and commit more numbers forward in the attack. Jacksonville have been playing too comfortably and have enjoyed sitting back, but they have not witnessed results on the attacking end due to the lackadaisical style being featured. A key moving forward is to pressure the defense and take risks in the attack with the players being deployed. If not, each match will continue to suck on the frontline, and soon we will start losing matches for our lack of pressure up front.

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