Quinnipiac Men’s Soccer Set to Open MAAC Slate Against Saint Peter’s

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Quinnipiac Men’s Soccer Set to Open MAAC Slate Against Saint Peter’s

Photo: Liz Flynn

Photo: Liz Flynn

Photo: Liz Flynn

Photo: Liz Flynn

Connor Ullathorne

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The Quinnipiac University Men’s Soccer team (2-3-2, 0-0 MAAC) takes on the Saint Peter’s Peacocks (3-4, 0-0 MAAC) Wednesday in Hamden. The two kick off the 2019 MAAC campaign with the first game played in the conference for men’s soccer this season. Both teams are coming off a week-long break, with Quinnipiac’s last game played on September 24, losing to #18 New Hampshire 3-1. Saint Peter’s is also coming off a loss against ranked competition on the same day, losing to #22 Rutgers 2-1.

Players to watch

Quinnipiac – Thomas Svecula

The first-year forward flourished in non-conference play, playing in all games and starting six of them. Svecula ended the non-conference season leading the team in points with six, putting in two goals while setting up two more. Svecula is even more versatile than most think, with an ability to take the ball wide to create or take the ball with his back to goal and has an ability to turn. Expect the forward to have an eye for goal all season.

Saint Peter’s Dominic Laws

Laws is coming off one of the best sophomore seasons’ in the MAAC. Laws scored a third-best tally of eight goals last year, improving from his first year where he only had three. Laws had 19 points last season, a team-best and third-best in the MAAC, only behind Quinnipiac’s Eamon Whelan and Rider’s Elliot Otmani. Laws started all 19 games he appeared in, and his performances last year led him to an all-MAAC second team appearance. This year, Laws is coming back even stronger as he already has put up four goals and four assists in seven games.

Keys to the game 

Quinnipiac – Control the game

Eric Da Costa’s squad has had success when they are allowed to move up into the opponent’s half and really control or dictate the run of play. If the Bobcats start to sit back, that’s when the game opens up for opponents to grab easy opportunities. The easiest way to counter this is to use the right formation.

Using a 5-4-1 could help out. While it looks like an all hands to the defense type of formation at a first glance, wingbacks Jordon Bennett, Magnus Reistad and Domen Bozic use lots of overlapping runs and push up into the attacking third for the Bobcats quite frequently. This forces the opponent’s wingers to stay back and cover the wingbacks, boxing them in.

The three center backs, Henry Weigand, Connor McCoy and Jeppe Haehre, also seem to fit in better with three in the back rather than with four. The three at the back also allows Simon Hillinger and Dejan Duric to move up in the middle of the pitch, rather than having one stay back to cover if the wingbacks push up. This formation also allows Whelan to be flanked by Oriac Vila and Svecula, or even Romain Daniellou.

Pushing them up and in gives more options for Whelan to lay the ball back to and create space for himself. Success for the Bobcats might not come in the form of the physical game, but the mental and tactical aspects of it instead.

Saint Peter’s – Width

Depth and width are two of the most important terms when understanding how to break down a defense.

With depth, your striker should be pushing the other team’s center backs towards their own net, creating space for the midfielders to operate. With width, wide players generally have more time on the ball. If the other team guards them close, this opens up the middle of the pitch, once again, allowing the midfielders to create.

Saint Peter’s has done a great job of moving the ball to the wing this season. The wing has been the place for the fullbacks to overlap and whip crosses in for Laws and others to knock one in or create some chaos. Not to mention, keeping the ball wide opens up the middle, and can lead to some very costly counterattacks, and any team on the counter is a deadly one.

The Bobcats and the Peacocks kick off the 2019 MAAC season on Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Hamden at the Quinnipiac University Soccer Stadium. The game can be streamed live on GoBobcats.com. Make sure to join Jonathan Banks and Connor Ullathorne on the call, or follow along with updates on Twitter @QBSN, @jonathanbanks8_, or @connorully5.