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Forgedias

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  1. UCLA will be playing Pepperdine today at 7pm Pacific time. Jessie Fleming did not play for Canada against Brazil in their friendly with her injury. Not sure how serious it is or if they were just keeping her out for safety reasons. In either case we'll find out where Fleming is if she plays or doesn't today. Same link as before. http://oklivetv.com/pac-12-los-angeles-live/ Over the last weekend UCLA played without Jessie Fleming and Hailie Mace and even without Mace they should of at least been ok since they had most of their team. The issue is that last weekend they got destroyed by Florida State 4-1 who are a good team but not one of the strongest teams in my opinion. Losing to Florida and getting a draw with the Florida Gators previously is exposing UCLA to some issues that I have talked about. 1) UCLA's defense is slow, but Karina Rodriguez and Kaiya McCullough do not have good foot speed and teams can expose them for this on counters since they play a high line. 2) Jessie Fleming plays the linking midfield. She SHOULD be playing more as an attacking midfielder or even a 9 as a false 9 for UCLA to lead the attack but UCLA's forwards are very direct. They don't activate Fleming on the attack and when they get the ball, they prefer to go direct immediately instead of combining with the midfield. So when UCLA is without Fleming, the offense breaks down. I actually was expecting this, didn't expect UCLA to get smashed 4-1 but I did expect them to struggle to score and its showing now. Coach Amanda Cromwell has to get her team to buy into giving the ball to Fleming and allowing her to lead the offense. Right now its try to be individualistic and score points so players like Hailie Mace, Annika Rodriguez can get noticed by their national teams and get call ups which is unproductive for the team as a whole. But hopefully these results for some changes.
  2. Here is a podcast with Allwhitekit looking at the 2020 draft class which has Jessie Fleming headlining it. Fleming is their choice for number one in the draft board and they talk about her right at the end as they go from bottom to the top of the rankings. http://www.allwhitekit.com/?p=16692
  3. Stanford will probably continue to be the favorite to win the NCAA championship this year and for the foreseeable future. They keep recruiting the best classes year in and out and when a school does that, its very hard to stop that kind of steam roll. One thing that I admire about the Cardinals is that they teach their players possession football. Keep the ball at your feet, avoid too many long balls and use your forwards to create space to attack into the box. By this I mean having their forwards play back to goal so they can 1-2 with their midfielder sitting behind them so they can launch runs into the box. Stanford like UCLA have to constantly deal with teams trying to bunker against them. Like the Long Beach game earlier on for UCLA, it took until a last second goal to finally break that bunker and only because the ball was in the UCLA end and UCLA launched a long ball forward and caught the Long beach defense flat footed. Did UCLA finally score. What Stanford does is impressive. They don't care if you bunker, they deconstruct your defense down and break it open by scoring an early goal by attacking the box. There by forcing the other team to open up to try to even the score and this leads to more goals. The games that Stanford played were 5-0 and 5-1. They score a ton of goals. Something UCLA has a hard time doing because the forwards on UCLA won't activate the midfield and prefer to go direct and try to score on their own. Its annoying to watch since UCLA did not play this way when Fleming first played her freshman season. They had forwards that could play back to goal. Darian Jenkins and Amber Munderlyn. Both graduated and last year Coach Cromwell brought in Ashley Sanchez and moved Hailie Mace from center back to forward. Sanchez has a ton of talent but loves to try to dribble at defenders even against 2 defenders and would frequently lose the ball. And Mace, all she does is turn for goal and try to score. Even if she doesn't have a shot, she still takes it instead of trying to send the ball back to midfield and setting up another run of play. Its painful watching Fleming get shut out of what she does best. Play make. Then you also have issues of Annika Rodriguez fighting Fleming for control of the midfield since Fleming took over the 10 role for UCLA away from Rodriguez who had it in the beginning of the year when Fleming first joined the team. Rodriguez would constantly try to hog the ball and make attacks and get to the end line and try to send crosses in or cut Fleming out of the picture by sending passes to the forwards instead of linking with Fleming. And for Fleming? She isn't selfish, she plays for the team. She wants the team to win and doesn't care about points since she already is firmly with the national team. Mace and Rodriguez want to be noticed and now they are getting call ups to the USWNT for Mace and the U23 for Rodriguez. So their selfish play is getting them noticed. Stanford on the other hand. They play the right way and in hindsight, their system would be a godsend for a player of Fleming's caliber.
  4. She has played well so far. She also played well last year until that last match which was the Championship game. It sucked that she had those 2 bad goals happen during that match. So disappointment aside, I will try and hope things are better for the squad this year.
  5. The Long Beach game got posted to Youtube. 1st Half 2nd Half
  6. This is a repost of what I wrote at the soccerforums for the UCLA team. To talk more about Jessie Fleming. She was magical on the pitch as usual. She would deke players that would try to tackle her and out of all the players on the pitch. she would consistently keep the ball dribbling while anyone else turn overs would happen. So when UCLA pushed forward, they were combining and moving the ball forward. It was a joy to watch. I don't know how serious Fleming's injury is. She came off limping but she looked like she wanted to return in the second half since she was standing and bandaging her leg that got hurt. But Amanda Cromwell the coach for UCLA kept her out for the second half which I thought was a good plan. Next week when Canada has their friendly against Brazil we will find out if she plays. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________ UCLA wins 2-1 over Penn State. Goals by UCLA. Ashley Sanchez (1st), Delanie Sheehan (1st)Still trying to figure out the formation that UCLA used today. It looked like a 4-4-2 but could of easily been a 4-3-3. Starters: Kaiya McCullough, Karina Rodriguez, Sunny Dunphy as right back and Jacey Pederson as left back, Jessie Fleming, Annika Rodriguez, Marley Canales in the midfield. They used Hernadez, Villacorta and Sheehan up top I think. The way UCLA presses, the forwards move up and press the ball carrier so it was hard to figure out what formation UCLA was using since Sanchez and Mace didn't start. UCLA right of the bat would have much of the possession in the first half. They did a lot of combining, creating over lapping runs and setting up triangles which made me happy to see. This was a totally different UCLA squad then I was used to seeing from last season. Then the casters clued me in why this was the case. Hailie Mace was off with the USWNT training. You can tell how a single player overshadow the way a team plays when you see them play with the player and without. When Mace was in the Long Beach game, I only saw 30 minutes of it, but when Mace got the ball, she would turn and go direct and not combine with her team mates. That in turn made the game very one dimensional and frustrating to watch UCLA try to break the Long Beach bunker.Despite Mace's heroics in scoring that last second goal. That style of game won't win championships. Not against Stanford that has forwards that will combine with their midfield. About 20 minutes into the game. UCLA would sub in Ashley Sanchez who was returning from the U20's and she would poach and steal a bad pass from a Penn State center back and have a free shot on goal 1v1 against the Penn State keeper and score. Beautiful individual effort on her part. Penn State would turn that around and tie it up on a foul in the box. I can't remember who dragged the Penn State player down in the UCLA box and was awarded the penalty kick and scored to tie it up.Near the end of the half. Jessie Fleming who was having another good game got tangled up and went down with another player and she came up limping. When I saw her last, she was bandaging her leg herself trying to get back into the second half but I think Amanda Cromwell was going to play safe and keep her out of the match since Fleming had a friendly against Brazil next week that she will be playing. Which was a good move on Cromwell's part. Hopefully for UCLA's sake the injury is only minor since Fleming was actually bandaging herself and looked like she wanted to come and play the second half.In the second half and even in the first half. Penn State were trying to punish the UCLA back line of McCullough and Rodriguez since they play a high line to compact the playing area. So Penn State were sending long balls over them and trying to send runners to beat the defense. They did have their moments since McCullough and Rodriguez are not quick, so the counters were actually dangerous and forced Micah to make some stops. Micah played well, but I still can't forgive those 2 bad goals she gave up in the NCAA Championship to really give her a fair shake. She will need to keep proving that she belongs in that spot by playing consistent for me. The game winning goal came off a play that if your a Penn State supporter will dispute since it was a judgement call. Sheehan sent a long ball into the air, at this point Sheehan was playing right back who replaced Sunny Dunphy who I thought had a bad game. The long ball was about 30 yards out and the Penn State keeper had to track it and the ball came just under the cross bar. Amanda Denis the Penn State keeper caught the ball just outside the goal line but her momentum pushed her inside the goal and this is where the controversy starts. She kept the ball stretched out of her hands to keep it out of the goal line but the side line referee called it a goal saying the ball was dragged into goal. They had the ability to see the replay and through out the ESPN broadcast, they showed 3 different angles and I couldn't see it being over turned. It looked like the ball was dragged into goal. So the call stood after replay. Though if your a Penn State supporter, you would dispute this call. And I sympathize with you.Good game over all. Penn State had a clear plan to try to expose the back line of Penn State's and UCLA wanted to keep possession and try to score on it. Both worked to a degree though not to how each team planned it out. I think UCLA would of liked more combining near the box instead of the many long shots they took on goal. Penn State just needed more possession to pressure the back line of UCLA which is their weakness since they play so high up and are a pretty slow duo. Thought Kennedy Faulknor had a good game. She actually stood out in the second half since Fleming was out with injury. She played left back in the first half and left wing midfield in the second half and was dangerous on numerous attacking runs she attempted. Sunny Dunphy had a bad game. I didn't like her decision making. Her poor tackling and her attempts to send long balls which went no where. Her positioning on the right side was constantly getting exposed by Penn State as they were attacking that side when she was there. But I don't blame her too much since right back is something she isn't used to playing.UCLA also needs to figure out who are the right and left back pairings since both players from last season graduated. Jacey Pederson seems to have locked up the left side. She played well today. Cromwell will still need to figure out the right side.
  7. That ESPNU link that is above this post works still. https://www.vipboxtv.se/stream-espnu-stream-live-17387 The Penn State game starts at 1 pm Pacific today. Should be a good game since Penn State is a top team, maybe the best team in the BIG 10.
  8. Sorry about this late post. I actually forgot there was a season game today. It was Long Beach State and I thought that might of been a pre-season game but it was UCLA's first game of the season. I actually caught the last 30 minutes of the game. They should replay the game a few hours later if you want to try to catch it again. This is the link to the live stream. http://oklivetv.com/pac-12-los-angeles-live/ UCLA wins on a last second goal by Hailie Mace. Probably should of never happened since Long Beach were bunkering the 30 minutes I saw of the game. But they were trying to force it to overtime and it was in the UCLA side of the pitch and UCLA launched a long ball to Mace who out ran her defender to get a shot off on the Long Beach Keeper and scored with 2 seconds left. From what I saw, Jessie Fleming was amazing as usual. Gliding around the pitch, turning her defender around and sending passes to players. The issue is Long Beach kept 10 players in the box so you would have UCLA players running to the end line and trying to send crosses in which were usually defended well. I really thought Long Beach were going to steal a point and knowing how RPI works in College, that draw could of gotten them an at large bid to the NCAA tournament. Or if Long Beach flamed out in their season that would of cost UCLA dearly in ranking. Despite all that, UCLA got a lucky win in my book and I still don't see the forward I want to see play back to goal to activate Fleming on the offense. That would of easily solved a team bunkering in on UCLA by breaking up the marking that Long Beach were doing. Alas I think we are in for the same offense from last year which is kinda disappointing to me. Still I watch UCLA for Jessie Fleming so that is the good thing. UCLA will be traveling to Penn State for their next game. Its being televised on ESPNU so it won't be streamed on the Pac12 network. I'll see if I can find a youtube link if someone posts it up.
  9. That post above was from the big soccer forum I posted there. On about Jessie Fleming. She was very frustrated about the lack of combining from her team. She was calling for the ball constantly and not getting the ball. UCLA seemed to have forgotten what worked in the Duke game and Fleming was ignored quite a lot of the time. A lot of the blame is this feed the ball to Hailie Mace which I pointed out already why I don't see that working and Villacorta not combining with Fleming much. Later in the game Claire Winter would sub in for Villacorta but by then the UCLA team were very tired from running after Stanford all game long. I really do hope Amanda Cromwell learns from this match and sees what she needs to teach in her forwards. Too many of them are looking to direct and dribble at their defender. It didn't work, good defenders will stop those attacks and force turn overs and UCLA struggled to build up in this game.
  10. Stanford wins the final 3-2 over UCLA. Goals by Jessie Fleming from the PK and Delanie Sheehan off a corner kick. Stanford would have Kyra Carusa, Andi Sullivan and Jaye Boissiere Whether UCLA were still feeling from the effects of Friday's game, UCLA looked slower on the pitch. Doesn't make any excuses for the mistakes that were made on the pitch and Stanford also played on Friday. But they looked much fresher then the Bruins. Stanford would probably have over 60 percent of the possession. UCLA had to do a lot of running after Stanford for balls. And so shots of course would be very telling with Stanford have the lion's share of the shots. 15-5 and 10 on frame to UCLA's 4. And by the first half, it looked like Stanford were going to steam roll UCLA. They just looked fresher and their combination play were much superior. They were constantly building between midfield to forwards with all the Stanford forwards being able to play with their back to goal. Something that UCLA doesn't do really because of Hailie Mace. This allowed Stanford a lot of time in the box of UCLA and the Cardinals showed clinical precision on how to break down defense by creating 1-2 combination plays to create open looks on goal. Something I hope UCLA takes note of in the future. The goals scored by Stanford in the first half, were either by a goal keeping mistake by Tegan Micah when she tried to come off her line to take a ball on the hop and missed timed the bouncing ball and the ball would go over her hands and allowed an open look on goal by Carusa. The second goal was another mistake by Kaiya McCullough who didn't mark Andi Sullivan's run and Sullivan was on a 1v1 against Micah and here again Micah could of stopped the ball since Sullivan only had the near post to shoot at and the shot went under Micah into goal which was stoppable sadly. The second half, it would be better for UCLA. UCLA created more attacks and Julia Hernadez would play a fair number of minutes in place of Ashley Sanchez who was relatively quiet this match. Zoey Goralski would create an opportunity when she would get a through ball and her run into the box, she would get taken down by the Stanford Keeper Alison Jahansouz and Jessie Fleming would take the spot kick and score for the goal. 2 minutes later, UCLA would get a corner kick and off the corner, Delanie Sheehan would head the ball in to tie it up. Sadly it wouldn't last as Stanford would create more pressure into the UCLA box and off a scramble, the ball would come out of the box onto Jaye Boissiere feet and she would fire a laser past Teagan Micah who had no chance on the save. Stanford would then play keep away and knock the ball around forcing UCLA to chase and they did look very tired out there running after the ball all game long. If we break down the issues for UCLA in this match. 1) Kaiya McCullough had a horrible game. Her slow speed got exposed badly in this game. The second goal was a direct result of her missed mark on Andi Sullivan. But the build up to that goal was sublime on the Cardinals part because they do what the UCLA can't do. Play with their back to goal. The forward had Rodriguez on their back and she knocked the ball back to a Macario and Macario then sent a through ball past McCullough that sprung Sullivan for the 1v1 on Tegan Micah. Its how you break defenses down, without needing to go direct all the time. Combination plays and Stanford showed this again again this match. McCullough also struggled against Madison Haley She would get burnt by Haley several times in one instance, Haley with McCullough on her back, would turn on McCullough and then speed into the box and get a clean shot off on goal. McCullough was completely left behind and couldn't recover. McCullough likes to sit on the forward's back and mark them that way which is fine. But if they have speed, you have to give them some respect and even play off them if they can turn on you and McCullough just got destroyed out there. Plus McCullough also had a very obvious hand ball that wasn't called by the referee but it was balanced out by the no call on Julia Hernadez's take down in the Stanford box. 2) Tegan Micah. I would blame her for the first two goals. She made a horrible gaffe on the first goal, misjudged the bounce and it bounced over her head and the net was wide open for the easy goal. The second goal. Sullivan only had the near post to shoot at since McCullough was slightly behind Sullivan and covering the center box. Micah had to go down and stop that shot but the shot got under Micah and past her for the goal. It should of been saved. Micah also does A LOT of shouting behind her back line. But sometimes when you shout that much. Your back line stops listening to you. If the ball is in the area, Micah was shouting "Get it out" over and over. Your back line knows this, you don't need to tell them that, what you do need to tell them is to mark players and tell them if there is a forward on their blind side. Stuff that Micah isn't doing. 3) The lack of balls to Jessie Fleming. Fleming had very little of the ball. And I blame a lot of this on two issues. One is the team's need to get the ball to Hailie Mace and let her run direct on the ball. Over and over the ball was getting sent to Mace either from up top or through balls. So Fleming was getting by passed by the midfield or the back line were launching long balls. Sometimes I think Fleming needs to be very assertive and say, give me the damn ball, instead of this hopeful balls up top to Mace. And Viviana Villacorta didn't help this situation either. Since as a holding mid, its fine that she will sometimes go on the attack. But she was doing this too often and ignore the build up. Ignoring Fleming and not getting the ball to Fleming. Its like they forgot what won them the game against Duke with all the possession and decided to take matters into their own hands. The midfield was a mess for UCLA and too many individual efforts by the players. Trying to dribble at players to beat them and not looking to pass or wait for support when they did have the ball. Too often you would see Annika Rodriguez trying to dribble at a defender alone without waiting for over lapping players and then would lose the ball. 4) Haile Mace. The Mace effect for UCLA. She has dramatically changed how UCLA played from last year. There when you had Darian Jenkins, you had the team trying to combine and use 1-2 combination plays. Its rare to see that this year because of how Mace plays. She can't play with her back to goal and she can't dribble at defenders because she has poor footwork. So for Mace to really succeed, she has to use her blistering speed to beat defenders and she can do this often. But against good defensive clubs, she gets shut down and then for UCLA, its like there is no answer to figure out another solution since UCLA can't play with their back to goal. Rodriguez, Sanchez all prefer to dribble at the defender and try to beat them direct. Today, what did you see Stanford do? They rarely tried to do that but instead combined and worked to break down the defense as a team and that is what separated Stanford and UCLA today. Quality of chances and looks on goal were far superior from Stanford. This is how you break defenses down by combining and playing with your back to goal. Its why I think UCLA should actually look at playing Fleming up top in a 4-2-3-1 formation because she will hold up, and use her soccer brain to develop the play in front of her. You need a player like that as your center striker. And UCLA doesn't have that player. They just don't. Credit to Stanford, they looked like the superior side today. UCLA did make it close and maybe if those mistakes by Micah and McCullough didn't happen, this could of been a different game for UCLA. But Stanford looked the better possession team and the better attacking team. They deserved this win.
  11. So the NCAA championship game will happen this Sunday on December 3 at 9 am pacific time. So its early.. Use the link that TC-in_BC gave in the link above this thread. Here is the synopsis of the game via the UCLA women's site. http://www.uclabruins.com/news/2017/12/2/womens-soccer-ucla-faces-stanford-for-ncaa-championship.aspx?path=wsoc
  12. I have links for both the Princeton game where UCLA won 3-1 and Duke.
  13. So let me come straight out and be honest. I had Duke winning this match even though I am a HUGE fan of Jessie Fleming. I thought the experience and the upperclassmen would take the match from the young UCLA team. I was wrong. Happy to say that, but now its onto Stanford. UCLA started their now regular roster. Hailie Mace and Ashley Sanchez up top. Jessie Fleming, Annika Rodriguez, Olivia Athens and Viviana Villacorta in the midfield. Kaiya McCullough, Karina Rodriguez, Mackenzie Cerda and Zoey Goralski in the back. Through out much of the game, especially in the first half, UCLA controlled the ball and possessed it for long periods at the time. Linking 10 to 15 passes in a row as they built into the Duke side of the field. Duke in return were playing with 5 players in the back. Julie Foudy was getting more and more agitated seeing Taylor Racioppi play in the 5 back set because Racioppi would have to run 100 yards to join up in any counter. By the second half Racioppi was completely spent and couldn't do much to help Duke in the build up. Duke were keeping Kayla McCoy as the long high forward pinning the 2 defenders of UCLA back. But the rest of the team were playing very compact and were clogging up the middle against UCLA. The Bruins would try and try to penetrate the middle but as I pointed out in the past, they have problems with teams that clog the middle like Duke did today. They simply could break that down because Hailie Mace who would receive a lot of balls up top, could only go direct and not play with her back to goal. You need to create combination plays like 1-2 combos where the player with the ball would feed the forward up high and then the forward playing with her back to goal would force the defender to commit to mark her and then play a one touch pass to the player that sent the ball to her in the first place on the run. You create space and open up room to take shots or actually move into the box. These actions never materialized for UCLA and so they were stuck trying to go direct up the middle or try to beat the defenders on the wings and get crosses in. And Duke in return playing so many people back, waited for turn overs and tried to counter off them by launching long balls to McCoy with the help of Imani Dorsey, were able to get some looks on goal because UCLA would have only 2 defenders defending in the back. In fact Dorsey nearly had a break away but Kaiya McCullough barely was able to knock the ball out in the box. The second half Duke would create more chances as players became more tired, more turn overs from both sides would happen but in the end the game would go into overtime and Duke sat back for the most part. Whether its due to their team having to chase after UCLA all game long, they looked tired out. With no score in overtime, it went to penalty kicks and I think Duke were confident that they had the better keeper and I would say they did. EJ Proctor is a good keeper and her save on Cerda when Cerda fired her shot up the middle, nearly catching Proctor off guard. Proctor was able to lean back and get a hand and stop the shot. Teagan Micah for her part was able to make a very easy save on a poorly taken shot by Kat McDonald that would clinch it when Marley Canales would slot her PK goal in to win the penalty kick shoot out. Over all, UCLA looked dominant on possession but trying to break a team that wants to bunker is going to be questionable since Mace has problems playing with her back to goal. But against Stanford, UCLA won't need to worry about that, Stanford love to play with the ball and won't bunker in. It should be a very back and forth match for the National Championship.Players of the match. Kaiya McCullough. Even though I question her speed because she isn't a fast player. She for the most part kept McCoy in check and stopped the most dangerous chance by Dorsey on her near break away. Zoey Goralski had a great game as well, able to attack and rush back to defend. Jessie Fleming. Was marked by Rebecca Quinn all game long and Fleming won that battle. if UCLA had a forward that could hold up and play with their back to goal, I'm sure Fleming could of combined and set up a goal for UCLA. Fleming was constantly sitting outside the box moving the ball around. She had the ball quite a lot which is good to see. For me Fleming is a very special player. Her comfort on the ball really shows and the fact that she was still able to direct the attack against Duke effectively with Quinn constantly marking shows her technical ability and her drive to win. If I find the game on Youtube I will post it here asap.
  14. UCLA wins 3-1 vs Princeton on goals by Hailie Mace who had 2 of them and Olivia Athens.UCLA would start Hailie Mace and Ashley Sanchez up top. Jessie Fleming, Annika Rodriguez, Olivia Athens and Viviana Villacorta as the holding mid in the midfield with Kaiya McCullough, Karina Rodriguez, Zoey Goralski and McKenzie Cerda in the back line.On the starting line up, I am glad to see Olivia Athens starting to get more starts as she has now been starting regularly in the midfield. Villacorta seems to have solidified herself as the holding midfielder. Is Claire Winter injured? I don't know but the senior midfielder tends to be the starter so Villacorta has started the past few games.So UCLA would host their final home game for the NCAA tournament. If UNC wasn't upset by Princeton one week ago, UCLA would of had to make a travel to North Carolina but with a home crowd and Princeton having to fly 3000 miles or so. This worked into UCLA's advantage in a big way.I would of thought Princeton would of bunkered in against UCLA. Playing 10 players in front of the ball to prevent any attacks up the middle. That didn't happen. Princeton were willing to open it up and try to attack. Which surprised me since most teams who struggle to keep possession against UCLA prefer to allow UCLA to try to break their defense and that tends to be low scoring games that UCLA tend to struggle to score in.Because of that, UCLA were on the front foot all game long and were constantly attacking the box. UCLA would score 2 goals fairly early on. With Hailie Mace scoring off a header and 2 minutes later Olivia Athens would score off a scramble in the box that Rodriguez would send a pass into. Mace would add another goal in the second period off a long ball that should would beat her defender to and go 1v1 against the Princeton keeper and beat her cleanly.UCLA would also have a spot kick right at the 18 yard line and Sanchez, Rodriguez and Fleming were at the spot kick. I really thought Fleming would the one to take the shot since she is very good at those long range shots but Sanchez took it and missed high. On the topic of Hailie Mace. She was very good, very dangerous off directed balls that she could run onto. She actually should of probably scored 2 more goals if we want to be honest. She had 2 other 1v1's the first one was in the first half where she forced the Princeton keeper Natalie Grossie to come off her line and all she had to do was chip her and instead she took a shot and missed wide. Those are actually painful to watch since she is a converted defender so learning how to make touch shots or putting spin on the ball isn't going to be Mace's strength. Her other opportunity was in the second half and another 1v1 where Grossi made a great save on her shot.Annika Rodriguez was very active all game long. She also had 4 1v1 looks on goal. 3 of them she took feeds from Jessie Fleming who either sent lofted passes, through balls or clever passes that could of gotten several assists for Fleming in this game. Grossi made several great saves off Rodriguez to prevent her from scoring.Grossi also made a parry save off Ashley Sanchez, Natalie Grossi despite allowing 3 goals this game. did play very good. She had 10 saves this game even with those goals with several great saves mixed in.I thought Jessie Fleming was spectacular which she normally is at this level but she at certain points would launch attacks into the box, dribble through 2 or 3 Princeton players and then create chances in the box. One time she got into the box and fed Mace the ball and Mace had just Grossi to beat and Grossi managed to scramble and stop the attempt. And through out the game Fleming was making dekes and turn arounds on players trying to mark her. And you could see 2 sometimes 3 Princeton players surrounding her trying to force her to play the ball away. Fleming did have some good chances to score. She hit the post from a 20 yard shot and then nearly had a golazo when she deked a defender and had a clear shot on goal and missed wide. But as I point out previously, Fleming doesn't attack the box like she did this game as much as I would want to see. In fact if you watch Fleming all game. She isn't fighting for corner kicks since we would see McCullough and Karina Rodriguez in the box looking for headers, the center backs for UCLA and where is Fleming? Outside the box defending the counter. She has scored 5 header goals last year, none this year. Its a weapon that UCLA are denying themselves but this is how Fleming plays. She isn't selfish and it irks me a lot.Still UCLA played beautiful football today. There is a worry on my end its Teagan Micah and if Grossi was making these 1v1 saves against Mace or Rodriguez and getting to the ground to stop the balls. That goal scored against Micah was in that same vein. Micah didn't make the stop and to me that is a stoppable ball. Probably the only thing you could question in this game since nearly everything played to how UCLA wanted it to play out. Maybe finish some of those 1v1's that Mace and Rodriguez had. But otherwise its a complete game by the team. UCLA now travel to Orlando to play in the college cup. They will face off against Duke which has Rebecca Quinn leading them. On the topic of Quinn. When Quinn was called into friendly duty, Duke was playing in the final against North Carolina in their conference championships. Duke absolutely struggled without Quinn and lost the game 1-0. They would also play their first round NCAA tournament game without Quinn and again struggled to score without Quinn barely squeaking out a 1-0 win against a much weaker team. But when Quinn returned, Duke would proceed to smash every team they met. Scoring 7-0 against Oklahoma State, 3-0 against Texas and 4-0 against Baylor. Quinn drives the midfield for Duke if it wasn't already apparent. The rest of the games should be televised by ESPN so there won't be any streams available for those games.
  15. Andi Sullivan was marking Fleming all game long in that game this year. It really says a lot about how talented Fleming is that Sullivan was tasked to do this.
  16. UCLA hosts Princeton tomorrow on the 25th. This game will put UCLA into the college cup and it will be the last game they will host. Happily there will still be a stream available for you guys since its not going to be on ESPN. Here is the synopsis from the UCLA website. http://www.uclabruins.com/news/2017/11/22/womens-soccer-ucla-hosts-princeton-in-ncaa-quarterfinals.aspx?path=wsoc Here is the link to the game. http://pac-12.com/live/ucla Edit, the game is on at 5:30 pm pacific since I forgot to put that up.
  17. I'll dig deeper into this question. Most programs would put their best player forward. So if its a forward, then that forward would be featured and used prominently. Because you can't afford not to since the coach needs to beat teams to show improvement and hopefully make it to selection in the NCAA tournament. So in essence not to play your best players in their best position would be shooting their own foot. About 7-8 years a go. There was one program that sucked all the top recruits into their program. And that women's program was the North Carolina Tarheels. In the past 40 or so years, they have won 22 national championships. In some years back to back and back. They were the dominant women's soccer program in the United States. So naturally the best players gravitated to that program wanting to win and be noticed by the national team for call ups. So North Carolina was the mecca for soccer in women's soccer for a long time. In the past few years, this has changed. Colleges like Stanford started recruiting the top talent in the United States. They could offer superior weather, life style and education. A Stanford degree went a long way for any students thinking past their college soccer days. And then there is how much support does the school provide to the student athlete. Rich schools could offer more. All of this matter. And then you could also boil it down to where is the strongest growth of women's soccer in the United States. And that answer is fairly easy. Its California. Its a major hot bed for women's soccer and some of the strongest teams in the nation for highschool soccer is played there. So over time, the demographics of women's soccer changed. More and more soccer players were coming from the west coast and for many of them, they want to stay in the west and you have good programs coming out from there. Stanford, Portland, USC and UCLA. All of these programs have won NCAA championships. Some with multiple ones like Portland and USC. The big programs right now in the west is Stanford, UCLA and USC. They attract the bulk of the top recruits. Last year UCLA had the top recruiting class, the class Jessie Fleming was in. This year it was Stanford and UCLA was closely behind them and UCLA bagged the number one recruit in the nation in Ashley Sanchez. Its not like North Carolina can't compete, but they are not picking up the top recruit every year like they used to. And so when you see a Stanford or a UCLA picking up top classes year and after year, then its only means that these programs will be more stronger and this year Stanford and UCLA are still in the NCAA tournament which is ongoing right now. North Carolina got knocked out last round. But lets focus on your question since you now understand a little how programs recruit. Because these programs are recruiting top recruits every year. They have to find minutes for them and positions they should play. If they were a small program, then Jessie Fleming would be playing like a forward. She would be constantly on the front foot trying to score for her team and carry them forward like she did last year when injuries slowed UCLA down. They lost their top forward in Darian Jenkins and Fleming in turn had to carry more of the load, so she attacked more. A lot more then this year. This year for UCLA, its completely different. They recruited a very strong class and add to their strong class from Fleming's year. They had a young but talent loaded team. For Coach Cromwell finding starting spots for players and rotations for subs had to be the big question. Fleming is a 90 minute player. She almost always plays the full 90 for UCLA which tells you how valuable she is to Coach Cromwell. But Cromwell also had loads of attacking talent and so Fleming is given a lot of leeway to decide what she wants to do. Does she play the box to box midfielder that she plays for Canada? Can UCLA afford to allow Fleming to do this? The answer is yes they can because they can ask their other players to step up on the attack and allow Fleming to dictate her roll on the field by either attacking if she is needed or play more defensive and act as a linking player which she does amazingly. Do I agree with every move by Cromwell? No I thought moving up Hailie Mace up to forward is a huge mistake. She is fast, a great direct player but she doesn't have any technique or dribbling skills. She has a horrible time trying to dribble through a defender or playing with her back to goal. So teams have been bunkering in on UCLA and clogging the middle. So you need a forward to play with her back to goal and one touch and combine with another player to break those bunkers. But Mace is just bad at it. And that flaw limits how UCLA can attack and turns it into a one dimensional attack. Its why I want to see Fleming move forward so she doesn't play the box to box midfielder anymore and stays in the attack. Some of the attacking formations I have suggested is a 4-3-3 where Fleming plays the 9 for her team and Mace and Sanchez play on the wings. Or a 4-2-3-1 formation with Fleming up top and Annika Rodriguez as a holding midfielder since whenever Rodriguez attacks, she likes to be aggressive and attack like a forward. Well this forces Fleming to sit deep and protect her back line for counters so you rarely ever see Fleming attack because of this. Rodrigues as a holding mid would prevent her from moving forward like this and allow Fleming to stay up top. But with the wealth of talent that UCLA has, they don't need to change how they play, they haven't been forced to change how they attack and sometimes I want to go back to last year and have that Fleming over this years Fleming. Fleming is still the key piece for UCLA and without her UCLA will not win a championship, but her role is so much more different then it was last year. This year, Fleming is more about the team and what the team needs her to be. The other players can be more selfish, but not Fleming who is your best player. Who can do dynamic plays on the field and that is frustrating to watch.
  18. UCLA wins 2-1 over the University of Virginia. Annika Rodriguez would again play hero with the last minute goal to win it in regulation. Goals also by Jessie Fleming on a penalty kick and for Virginia. The goal by Virginia was an considered an own goal but I am pretty sure it was off a header but I didn't see a replay of the goal so not so sure about this. UCLA had more of the run of play then the Cavaliers. The Bruins were on the front foot more, combined more with each other and had more of the pressure in the box then the Cavaliers. But the Cavaliers would be the first ones to strike first. I didn't see a replay, but it looked like it came off a Virginia player on a header and it went over Teagan Micah's hands into goal. If there saying it came off a Bruin player, then I am not sure who that is then. About a minute later, the Bruins would get a penalty spot kick when Ashley Sanchez was given a long ball to run onto and she would be a step ahead of her defender. Her defender dragged her down and the spot kick was awarded. I was praying that Fleming was going to get the spot kick because UCLA were 3-6 on penalty kicks this year. a 50% success rate is pretty bad and I wanted Fleming to take it and someone was listening because she did and got the goal out of it. Hailie Mace during that half, had several good looks on goal that if she could of finished better might of scored on one of them. When Mace gets played directly with through balls or balls over the top, she can attack it. She didn't look good combining with her team mates since her foot work would let her down. But here is where my issue with how UCLA plays. Fleming was nearly non existent in the first half on the attack. She was constantly covering for attacking players and playing deeper in her own half. Which I think everyone knows is frustrating as hell to me to watch. You want your best players to attack and be a little selfish. Fleming isn't selfish. But in the second half. Something must of clicked for Fleming. She started attacking more and making a lot of pushes into the Virginia box. Because the second half was different and Fleming was shooting and creating space for players around her. Something I was very happy to see. I don't need to see Fleming score, I want Fleming attacking to create for her team and the second half was much better. Where else Ashley Sanchez may be the better dribbler. what Fleming does is she out thinks her player in front of her and dekes and forces them to commit in directions and then reverses to create space for herself. She was constantly doing that today in the second half. She had the ball a lot more and that was good to see. Very late in the second half, like the 87th minute. Virginia would lose a defender to a red card. Picking up her second yellow of the day. She would trip up Annika Rodriguez and this created a lot of space for UCLA. Space that the Bruins would take advantage off soon after. Ashley Sanchez would force a turn over deep in the Virginia side and then send a through ball to Rodriguez would was wide open in the box and sent a shot that would beat the Virginia keeper for the goal and would end the game. Annika Rodriguez despite my problems with her had another good game for UCLA. My issues aside with her, she plays with her heart out. I just want to see Fleming on the attack more and Rodriguez tends to force Fleming to play safe and that is where my problems with Rodriguez lie. Do you want Rodriguez on the attack or Fleming? So UCLA now make it into the Elite 8. I don't know who they are playing next, I haven't looked yet. But they match last seasons run into the NCAA tournament and that should be congratulated.
  19. I was more frustrated with this game because of how stymied the Northwestern bunker worked against UCLA. Wasn't happy about the finishing and about how Fleming is used. Fleming had 5 header goals last year. She was very clutch in many situations. In the NCAA tournament against West Virginia. Where Buchanan and Lawrence were playing last year. She forced overtime and in the end PK's with a very late header goal off a corner kick. Fleming was an amazing scoring machine last year. This year that has been replaced as she now plays more of a box to box midfielder. Which I hate. UCLA had 12 corner kicks this game. Fleming never made any attempt to attack those balls. She sat outside the box, defending any counters. Fleming can literally out leap any defender out there with her athletic ability. Yet UCLA isn't using that to their advantage. When you have your best player not attacking. Its frustrating to watch. So I was frustrated with the game. So I didn't put any post up because I would be complaining about the use of Fleming. Because if Fleming was on the attack instead of covering for her midfield when they are on the attack. I don't see Northwestern stalling UCLA like they did for so long. But credit to Fleming. She isn't in this for the glory. She is an amazing team player. And stats don't matter to her. But I want to see more golazo's from Fleming. I want her on the attack, because the UCLA attack becomes very dynamic not so direct and more 1-2 combination plays which are great to see. Olivia Athens was the only one trying to create combination plays with Fleming that game. So now you know why I didn't post. Was going to be more complaining. So I should point out the next game will be this Sunday. on the 19th of November. 6 pm pacific time. Use the same link. They don't have a synopsis up at the UCLA website. But these will be quick matches since they are at the UCLA campus playing these matches. So this Sunday, UCLA hosts Virginia who they beat earlier this year 2-1. We'll see how it goes, I don't see the Cavaliers bunkering. They are a possession type team as well. so they will attack. Lets hope UCLA keeps winning.
  20. Nezt game will be on Friday Nov 17. At 8 PM pacific time. UCLA will play against Northwestern. Link to synopsis. http://www.uclabruins.com/news/2017/11/16/womens-soccer-ucla-welcomes-northwestern-in-ncaa-second-round.aspx?path=wsoc Link to stream: http://pac-12.com/live/ucla Hopefully the stream will be better this week since last week there were a lot of problems with it.
  21. The game was on but the stream was messed up. I actually clicked on the volleyball game and the soccer stream was on instead. So they had some issues on their end. Still it wasn't a Fleming game and UCLA won the game so the next 2 games if UCLA keeps winning will be home games since UCLA will host their section. Teams will come and visit UCLA and play their games at the UCLA campus for their regional games. Perks of being a high seed.
  22. UCLA will be playing San Diego State university this Friday. Nov 10 for their first round opponent in the NCAA tournament. UCLA shouldn't have much problems dealing with them and by next week Jessie Fleming will return to play the next rounds with UCLA. The UCLA synopsis link is here. http://www.uclabruins.com/news/2017/11/9/womens-soccer-ucla-begins-postseason-play-friday-vs-sdsu.aspx?path=wsoc Streaming link will be at the Pac12 site. http://pac-12.com/live/ucla-3 Here is the bracket for the NCAA tournament. http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/soccer-women/d1 UCLA would come in as a top 2 seed which is important. Anything lower and they could of gotten a team like Stanford or North Carolina in their quadrant. With UCLA being in their own quadrant they do have some tough teams. Virginia is a strong team and UCLA already beat them 2-1 earlier this year. Pepperdine is another team that drew 1-1 against UCLA and if that were to happen, penalty kick shoot outs are always a crap shoot. So should be another interesting year especially since UCLA could make a good run through the tournament this year.
  23. I don't think I need to go into a recap on the game with UCLA against USC. They did replay last years game just before this game started. And that game was in my opinion Jessie Fleming's best match last season even though she didn't score a goal. She was spectacular in the game. This game because Jessie Fleming was on call up duty with the Canadian national team. UCLA had to go with a different plan. They used Ashley Sanchez as the 10 position. Sanchez is an amazing technical player. Great at dribbling and in this game she was trying to do her dribble magic but teams have figured her out and always leave 2 defenders to mark her and deny her any freedom to penetrate forward. | Annika Rodriguez would then replace Sanchez as the 10 midfielder in the second half and would have a good game. A goal and an assist. But the offense would struggle to generate good scoring chances on their own even though they scored 3 goals today. UCLA's defender Kaiya McCullough would go direct from her own back line and charge forward and get to the box and score. And Rodriguez would intercept a very bad forward pass from a defender and go 1v1 on goal and score. Other then that, the chances were very few for UCLA and in overtime, they scored on their best offense chance. There is a markedly difference when Fleming is leading the attack and when there is someone else. And if you watched this game, you would see the difference. The offense is always flowing with Fleming. Its just Fleming needs to be more selfish since players like Rodriguez like to free lance and go on the attack so much that Fleming tends to play safe and cover for them when they go forward but that means UCLA struggles to maintain any attack with Fleming not on the attack. Defensively UCLA is much sounder with Fleming on the pitch as well. So its a catch 22, but I would much rather see Fleming on the attack then playing the box to box midfielder that she is playing currently. UCLA is served better that way since they do struggle breaking down bunkers without fleming leading the attack.
  24. This Friday Nov.3 UCLA will host USC. This is the annual derby for both schools. Last year UCLA were one of the few teams to beat USC in a 1-0 win. USC would go on to win the National Championship that year. Jessie Fleming didn't score but she was the best player on the pitch that day. She was dribbling and nutmeged multiple players on the USC side. Here is the synopsis through the UCLA website. http://www.uclabruins.com/news/2017/11/2/womens-soccer-ucla-hosts-usc-in-crosstown-showdown-friday.aspx?path=wsoc The Pac12 network will have a feed up. Here is the link. Game starts at 7pm pacific time. http://i4atv.info/ggwpforum/?page=p12losa
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