Knoxville Force vs. Mississippi Storm

Home Opener 3

Knoxville Force vs. Mississippi Storm

Written by Head Coach – Derek Broadley

Home Opener May 11, 2020

With only 2 sessions with 15+ players in attendance due to college commitments, the force entered its first game of the 2020 season against Mississippi. Having 4 players from last year on the starting team was an advantage but the team does have a fresh youthful look to it. The field at UT was is excellent with the slightly damp conditions, made it a great night for soccer. The Force started very brightly and created several really good chances inside the first fifteen minutes. Getting in behind the Mississippi defense frequently in wide areas was paying dividends for the Force but some good saves coupled with some poor decisions in front of goal by the Force players kept the scoreboard empty.

The Force had some very good spells of possession and worked the ball around the back and then into some very good attacking areas. After 20 minutes one of the Force strikers was sent clear only to be brought down when clear in on goal, the referee aloud what he felt was an advantage only for the chance to go sailing over the bar. In this instance the referee removed himself from making a very crucial call in the early stages of the game.

As the game progressed, Mississippi did have some spells of possession in their own half but rarely threatened the Force goalkeeper. On the one occasion Mississippi did get into the Force 18 yard box their center forward clattered the Force keeper who went down very heavily and required attention from the medical staff. Again the official kept him cards in his pocket only offering a warning. This changed after about 25 minutes when the Force skipper Martyn Freestone was issued with a yellow card for a lunging tackle where he genuinely won the ball. The omens were not looking good for a Force team that was seeing a lot of the ball, creating goal scoring opportunities but still goal-less as half time approached. Just before the referee blew the halftime whistle, the force had another opportunity to take the lead only for the ball to be scrambled off the line. Finally in the final moments of the first half the Force needed to make 2 substitutions due to injuries. Dalton and Sindro who started the game were taken off with a back strain and some breathing issues that hopefully can be sorted out this week prior t our next match.

The second half started much the same as the first, with the Force seeing plenty of the ball and again finding some very good attacking situations. Chances to score were coming and going and the crowd (along with the coaching staff) was getting very frustrated. It was looking like “one of those nights” where the ball was never going to go in net for the Force and that was to be the case. However, out of nowhere came a shot from a Mississippi player, 30 yards out that went flying past the Force keeper. It moved in the air assisted by the strong breeze. This was against the run of play and put the skids under the Force players while giving the Mississippi players a real boost. The Force players dug deep and again got into some good forward positions only to be thwarted by some more, poor finishing.

The Force made some changes to the playing staff in an attempt to get back in the game but that never changed the luck in front of goal. With 18 minutes left in the game, Mississippi got a scrappy second goal that summed up the Forces fortunes on the opening night. A sloppy piece of defending out wide, allowed a cross to come in very quickly that was turned into their own goal by a force defender.

To their credit, the Force players kept on playing to the end of the game and still created some very good goal scoring opportunities but sadly that was not the case. The performance was very encouraging for everything except in front of goal.

Head coach Derek Broadley was very disappointed with the result but felt that the performance was very encouraging. “Sometimes in soccer the result is not always a true reflection of the game. Soccer can be cruel. I cannot fault the players for their endeavors but we do need to convert our chances into goals as we move forward. I would think that people watching would see what the lads are trying to do and with time we will start to score goals and win soccer matches”

Coach Broadley believes there are some positive things to take from the game and with a full week of training this week, with the majority of players available to train, we should get back on track very quickly. “Leagues are not won on the opening night nor are they lost. We will play worse than we did tonight and win!”