A few notes for this Tuesday April 13th, concerning the NSC Stars.
The big news from the Stars camp is of course Louis Crayton. While no one knows for sure the extent of his injury its most likely not good. Crayton was 40 seconds into injury time at the end of the first half and curiously decided to throw a retrieved ball down near a Vancouver player and then try to fake him out with a cut to his left and then a kick up field. Something that could have been done by just holding onto the ball and punting it. The Vancouver player put Crayton under pressure and he then landed awkwardly when planting to kick.
Not to heap misery on the poor guy, but that had to go down as one of four boneheaded goalkeeper moves this past weekend in the US. The others all happened in MLS with Chris Seitz, goalkeeper for the Philadelphia Union who seemed to lose his brain for a moment when Jaime Moreno of D.C. United pretended to block his punt but then backed off. But that was all it took for Seitz to drop the ball on the ground which Moreno poked away, faked and then placed into the back of the net with a slow roller.
Pat Onstad allowed too much space on his near post. Los Angeles Galaxy player Edson Buddleslotted in between Onstad and the post. But the worst of all was Red Bulls keeper Bouna Coundoul who actually pushed a ball back into his own net. The ball had taken a weird deflection and looked as if it would go into the goal. Instead, the ball rebounded off the far post and slithered along the goal line waiting for Coundoul to pounce on it for the save. Instead he nervously jumped at the ball, diving and pushing it right into his own net. Yikes!
Louis Crayton Injury
Back to Crayton, the injury was to his knee and not his ankle, leading one to believe a possible ACL tear which would mean the end of the season for the Liberian international. He is scheduled to undergo an MRI Tuesday morning at 11:00 am. Stars head coach Manny Lagos has said that Crayton has not only been vocal on the field but has been a real leader in the dressing room.
If this is a season-long injury it will mean another big blow to the Stars, who will now have had 2 major signings go down. South African defender Vorgen Less went down with a torn Achilles tendon 2 days after signing with the team. Word I was hearing from around the league was that teams had been impressed with head coach Manny Lagos’ signing of Vorgen Less and Louis Crayton. Let’s hope for the best for Crayton and the Stars.
If Crayton’s injury is long term, expect GM Kris Bjerkness to offer last year’s Thunder backup keeper Matt Van Oekel a contract.
It was nice to see Lagos use all 5 subs on Sunday and according to the new coach a number of the Stars players were fatigued. Lagos felt the team played marginally better after the fresh legs got on the field. He referenced the throughball to Melvin Tarley and shot at goal late in the game. Substitutions were a sore spot for many former Thunder fans early in the season last year.
Frying Pan to the Fire
Lagos and the Stars go from the frying pan into the fire this week as they have very little time to prepare for Friday’s game against Carolina, who also strengthened their already strong squad in the offseason. The RailHawks finished 2nd in the league last season and disposed of AC St. Louis 2-0 last Saturday evening, although neither team played exceptionally well. St. Louis’s midfielder Manuel Kante left his player ID card at the team’s hotel. After a 30-year wait for an outdoor soccer team to return to St. Louis, the team started the game at WakeMed Park in Carolina with 10 men and played that way for the first 30 minutes. Check the Triangle Offense for the very bizarre story.
Eric Reed started in goal last Saturday so expect to see the RailHawk coach Martin Rennie’s rotation system put Nic Platter in goal against some of his old teammates when the Stars visit Carolina.
Most of the team got back from Vancouver yesterday after a very long road trip. In trying to save money, the team flew into Seattle on Saturday and then rented vans and drove the 140 miles to Vancouver. On Monday they drove 5 hours to Portland and then flew back to the Twin Cities from there.
Three players are still in Vancouver. They are Kevin Friedland, Leilei Gao and Two-Boys Gumede. Friedland stayed with Leilei and Gumede for their meetings with consulates to straighten out their work permit issues. Alex Haueter of the NSC said he believes everything got worked out on Monday, but the three players will fly straight to Carolina on Thursday and meet up with the rest of the team.
Haueter also confirmed that the team would be flying straight to Raleigh-Durham on Thursday for Friday’s game.
Archived Game Viewing
I received an answer over the weekend concerning a question an IMS reader had concerning the ability to watch archived games if you are not able to stream them live. A spokesperson for US Soccer told me on Saturday that they were working with teams to ensure there is an archive for replays.
Since then, IMS has learned that there is now a system in place for teams to upload the game video for viewing on their team website.