Men’s Soccer: Mid-Season Review
Stingers Have Work to do to Find a Playoff Spot
With six games left in the regular season, the Concordia Stingers men’s soccer team sees themselves on the outside looking in of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec playoff picture.
If their first half of the season was any indication, they have quite the challenge ahead of them.
The Stingers’ have had a rough go this year, winning only one game and losing five. A mix of missed opportunities and inexperienced players means that finding their way into the playoffs is going to require some of the best soccer they’ve played all year.
That being said, head coach Greg Sutton is staying optimistic that a good run of form could flip the league on its head.
“We’ve had moments throughout the year where we’ve shown that we could play with anybody, and the back half of the season is going to be very unpredictable,” said Sutton. “Upsets and surprises happen all the time.”
Captain and defender Olivier Georges felt the same way, and is pushing his teammates to get the most out of all of them.
“A lot of the first years are playing well and have experience in really high levels of the game but they’ve never experienced university and it’s an entirely different beast,” said Georges. “The game is more physical and based off of the counter attack so a lot of it has to be almost instinctive to them.”
The team will definitely have to improve their work rate in this second half of the season. of the season is their work rate. Playing with five in the back gives you loads of options, provided your midfielders and fullbacks—fullbacks are defenders who play in wider positions, allowing them to contribute offensively, while tracking backs to their defensive duties—are constantly running.
“We had a lot of injuries and a couple players have had to adapt their style on the fly but they’ve taken to the system well. Once they’re completely comfortable our collective game is going to get that much better,” said Sutton.
At times the smallest moment of laziness has led to their opponents exploiting those gaps in defence and midfield, making life difficult for the three defenders.
The one player who really stood out among the rest of the squad is midfielder Otto Cardell. His strength and relentlessness in the middle of the field made him invaluable, stopping the counterattack and transitioning into offense.
“We’re confident that we have a good squad and we can take on anyone when we’re at our best,” said Cardell, “We just have to focus on giving more consistent performances and playing our style for a whole 90 minutes.”
The Stingers are set to face every team in the league over the final stretch of the season. The playoffs are not an impossible goal to achieve, albeit very difficult. They will need to be in the best form of the season and sustain it over six must-win games if they want a chance at sneaking into that fourth and final post-season spot.
Concordia’s next game is against Université du Québec à Montréal Citadins at Saputo Stadium this Friday night.