Matt: question re soccer team

We seem to have more difficulty scoring this season. I realize the team is younger this year, but it seems like we should be scoring more with an experienced front line of Podogil, Tank, and the Quebecois. How are the midfielders doing?

I think @AndrewJoseph can provide more insight on that than me.

The difficulty comes from Arkansas’ opponents playing a “park the bus” defensive system. They put all 11 players behind the ball on defense and the backline drops extremely deep into the defensive third to eliminate space for Arkansas’ forwards to run in behind.

Essentially, they are conceding possession of the ball and any semblance of an offensive threat to make it as difficult as possible for Arkansas to score.

Last year, a large portion of Arkansas’ goals came on breakaways where Anna Podojil simply outran the defenders. Recently, opponents have not been giving them space to get into those races. They have to figure out how to break down a defense by passing through teams rather than sprinting behind them.

What Andrew said is true.

But, I asked my daughter (ex college soccer player) this question. She gave a different answer than Andrew.

Teams have been playing “park the bus” systems against the Arkansas press for years. It comes down to service from the midfield. The center midfield position has struggled with providing “great” service this year. They dearly miss the possession and consistent work load from Taylor Malham. She drew a lot of heat with her work rate at the top of the box or between the midfield line and the top of the box. She was a great player. They also miss the crosses from Parker Goins. She scored goals, but she also provided great service from long range. I do not believe anyone has replaced the loss of Goins.

Those two players played a lot of minutes and provided dominant bursts of brilliant play. You go back and look at their minutes and productivity and you should understand that it’s not easily replaced.

I did not see great service into the box last night. I just didn’t. I saw crosses (and I assume they were crosses) or serves that went straight to the LSU keeper over and over. I saw possession all the way to the end line but the crosses came straight to the keeper. Those balls must be away from the keeper. She’s close to the line and you aren’t going to sneak it past her from 30 yards along the back line. Those balls must come to the 9 and that’s where all of the UA forwards were waiting.

Arkansas out shot LSU, but I did not see a lot of dangerous shots. They were crosses that went to the keeper and probably were counted as shots.

I think there are teams like BYU, Alabama and South Carolina that are still going to try to attack on offense and you will see Podijil and Tankersley get chances behind the defense. But the weaker teams are playing defense like LSU and others on the schedule. The better teams won’t play that way and that may help them in the NCAA tournament. But it still comes down to great service for the majority of the shots.


we need set piece scoring more than ever this year, esp free kicks after penalties. Long midfield passes by us are challenges successfully often and then we are in a flux our own making. I agree that packing or parking the bus has been done in conference for at least the last 3 years given our track speed and propensity for long passes, however our own forward press has been less good this year and that generated a whole lot of goal scoring. Our GK has been exceptional but will it hold in conference tournamant?? Ms ST out ARkansased us and pressed the crap out of us will fierce determination.

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