NLSA Molson Challenge Cup

Friday, May 27, 2016

"Coach's Corner" : May Report Card by Gord Dunphy

                                                                    Coach's Corner
                                                                     Gord Dunphy

May Report Card

From  all perspective the 1st month of Challenge Cup soccer has been very satisfying with the level of competition which I have witnessed and this is backed by the current standings. Here's my take on May.
Holy Cross
Holy Cross are by far the most superior team in the Molson Challenge Cup League. They are 18 players deep. They are currently out in first place with nine points and their new additions of Thomas Kamara and Thomas Kargo are dynamite. I love their skill level. Their 1 -0 lost to Feildians, while shocking to them, will only help them in the big picture.
Coach's Corner Comment's : Biggest issue with this team is the coach trying to keep all their quality players happy. There's just no room on this team to carry minors.
St. Lawrence
I've really like what I've seen with the Laurentians so far. Generally, the team appears to be in much better  shape  than the past number of years. Their winter training sessions under the professional eye of Rob Kelland  has paid huge dividends. The Laurentians currently have a 2 win - 2 loss road record which is good for 6 points and ties them for second overall with Mount Pearl. What I personally found intriguing was the effort the Laurentians put up against Holy Cross. It was one of the best effort I've seen the Laurentians play against Holy Cross in years. That's the way the game should be played.
Coach's Corner Comment's : The Laurentians need to keep their early season momentum going and get back to the hard work which earned the Determination & Dedication logo that was is so proudly displayed by St. Lawrence Soccer.  
Mount Pearl
This club is comprised of good solid experienced players and several veteran players. But somehow, I question this team's overall leadership with regards to their desire to win and play at a consistent level. This club always seem to give Holy Cross a good competitive game but they seem to struggle against the lower seed. The addition of Tyler Forsey should help but only if Pickford and him work as a unit.  
Coach's Corner Comment's: Basically, Mount Pearl play needs to be more consistent game in and game out. They need to practise and play with a desire in wanting be the best in the league. Their 2 -0 lost to the Games team may eventually hurt their overall placing.
This club is very young but do have some good quality players on the team. However, Feildians didn't look to impressive in their opening two matches, two embarrassing losses to Holy Cross and St. Lawrence by scores of 4-0 and 3-0 respectively. However, their 2-1 rebound victory over Holy Cross has to be very satisfying and something the team needs to grow on. The Feildians will struggle to hold on to their 4th place finish which they achieved in 2015.
Coach's Corner Comment's: While the Feildians may lack overall offense there is one thing the club must learn to do in order to gain respect and obtain wins, and that is to show a greater desire to compete. If losing doesn't hurt you, you are bound to lose.
Corner Brook
Corner Brook are off to a so so start. Their 5points in four games puts them in 4th place They picked up four points at home in their opening weekend against CBS. In their first game  they beat CBS 4-1. CBS then bounced back and tied the boys from the milling town 0-0. The following weekend on a road trip to the Avalon, Corner Brook lost their first game to Mount Pearl by a 2-0 score and in their second match they again held CBS to a scoreless draw.  After watching Corner Brook they have  a few veterans , Pat Fewer and Chris Bulger who can provide solid leadership. But this teams lacks overall defense that can be very costly at the Challenge Cup level. However, the team does work the ball well and compete with a great attitude.
 Coach's Corner Comment's: This is Corner Brook's second consecutive year back into the Challenge Cup League and you can bet that Coach Vince Picket has every intention of being on the Burin Peninsula on Labour Day Weekend. At this point, I wouldn't bet against Vince. He very well could be in St. Lawrence on Labor Day. 
 Gary Forsyth has his club in respectable shape. Already, CBS has two scoreless ties on the season  and this gives them one more tie and one more point than CBS had in all of 2015. CBS  played Corner Brook to a scoreless tie both at home and away. Goal-scoring, may end up being the teams Achilles - heel.  I like what young Josh Hanrahan brings to this team. He is a gamer who displays great heart and tremendous character. The return of Trevor Ivany and Ryan Sheppard from St. Lawrence to CBS gives this club a couple of more quality players.
 Coach's Corner Comment's:  Everything I've seen about CBS thus far this season is showing an improvement over 2015. Let the improvement continue. 

Gerry O'Brien Financial NL Canada Games Team 
This young team will play twelve exhibition games in the Molson Challenge Cup League in 2016. Their whole purpose of this youth entry is for their development. To-date, the team has played only the one game which was a 2-0 victory over Mount Pearl. This shocking victory over Mount Pearl should help the kids prepare for the rest of the season. 
Coach's Corner Comment's: Teams coaching staff : Head Coach : Andrew Murphy, Assistant Coach : Shane Dunphy, Goalie Coach : John Douglas , Team Manager : Gonzo Bennett. 

Coach's Details: I would like to express deepest sympathy, from the soccer world, to the families of the late Ray Warren of Burin and Hugh Tarrant of St. Lawrence. Both were great soccer players in their day.

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