It’s been a long time baby…
First up, Christian Gomez is out this game with a toe bruise. And that’s a good thing. Shalrie Joseph completely envelopes Gomez when they play. Joseph not only has his number, he has his home address and stalks him. Gomez isn’t mobile enough to get away from joseph and ends up making it an easy night for the NE defender. If Joseph doesn’t mark him out, then Larentowicz will. So not having Gomez means we can put another more mobile midfielder in the center like Quaranta or Ponius or even Barklage. Even if they aren’t as good as Gomez is, they’ll at least make the NE midfield have to work chasing them around.
No Ben Olsen either, but we’re used to that. And Paul Tenorio says he saw Milos Kocic in travel gear, so he’s supposing that once again Luis Crayton does not make the travel roster leaving Kocic and Wicks as options for GK on tonite.
I haven’t seen a travel roster yet, so it’s a little difficult to say who starts this match. The defense is usually pretty set with Namoff, Jakovic and Burch. However with Avery John getting called up for national team duty, I’m not sure if that means we start him while we can… or why bother starting him if he’s gone for 2 weeks. If he does get the start, does he just replace Burch? Namoff is in dire need of a break, so maybe another possiblity is push jakovic over to the right, Janicki enters into the middle, and John starts out left. Even though NE’s forwards have been inept ths season, I’m not sure you want to field a lineup that has never worked together before. So likely John just comes in for Burch, or no change at all.
The midfield is a big question mark too. I’m sure Wallace returns to the starting lineup at left mid. Fred probably starts at right. Simms always starts (he hasn’t had a really great year, but I don’t think anyone is better than him right now). So that leaves the other two central slots up for grabs. Best candidates are Jacobsen, Pontius, and Quaranta. Jacobsen is a little more defensive, so if I were Soehn, I’d start Pontius in Olsen’s spot and Quaranta in Gomez’ spot. But if I were me (haha!) I’d actually do that AND start Jacobsen in Simms role. NE doesn’t have much in the way of dangerous players coming from midfield. And all three of those guys could interchange very nicely and be very mobile. All three can shoot from distance, and all three have the endurance to run for 90mins. And all of them (Quaranta less so) can rotate defensively. If I were the coach, that’s where I’d go. Match NE’s physicality in the midfield, but up them in skill and creativity.
Forwards. Likely Jaime and Emelio get the start, unless one or the other is tired and needs a break. Moreno might, against RSL he looked like his boots were filled with concrete. He’s had a full week of rest though, and as long as he’s the only one that’s immobile out there, I’d lean towards giving him the start. N’Silu is a good option as well and give us some much needed speed up front. Moreno is also better at coming off the bench, whereas N’Silu isn’t so that might factor in as well.
Here’s to hoping that whatever lineup Soehn chooses, when he makes subs, it doesn’t require 5 people having to shift position to accomodate.