Coach's Corner

Mid Season Report card - 2007

Southern Gazette July 24. 2007

By Gord Dunphy

Mid Season Report Card - 2007

St. Lawrence Laurentians

Just as I said in my 2007 Challenge Cup Forecast, St. Lawrence is the top team in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador today. At this point, St. Lawrence is undefeated and it’s only the Laurentians that can defeat themselves this season.

From what I’ve seen so far, the Laurentians may very well do this before season’s end if they continue to play the league’s best player, Clinton Edwards, in the left wing back position. Clinton has been an all-star for the past six seasons and should be used in either the center back (sweeper) or center mid-field position.

From my past experiences, it is generally proven in the sport of soccer, a league’s MVP would play in goal, center back, center midfield or striker. Seldom do they ever play on the wing back position. Your best players always play in a spot that positions them in the middle of the field.

Meanwhile, switching gears, recently I was asked, ‘How do I have to feel about the Laurentians’ addition of newcomer Johnny Pickett?’ Well it’s no secret that over the years the Laurentians have added a number of all-star character players from outside their community to improve their roster, but generally it was done at the beginning of the soccer season. From my recollection, this is a first time an outsider was added to the Laurentians in mid-season.

Actually, I would not question Pickett’s soccer ability. But do you sit out players like Richard Kelly to accommodate another outside player? In addition to this, I really would like to know, ‘what direction is this club going in anyway?’

Mount Pearl/That Pro Look/Molson

Thus far, Mount Pearl looks like the team that will challenge the Laurentians for the Challenge Cup. Justin Pickford has picked up his level of play and again is becoming a bona-fide scoring threat. Victor Dray is back into all-star form.

The loss of Jon Kelly for the next month or so may stall his performance come Labour Day Weekend. Overall, Mount Pearl is looking like they are prepared to give the Laurentians a run for their money for the Provincial Challenge Cup.

Holy Cross/The Keg

Is Holy Cross the league’s biggest disappointment this season or is Holy Cross the league’s most over- rated team? Actually, this team looks very ordinary. Maybe it is only because of last year’s playoffs performance that this team had such high expectations.

But during last year’s regular season schedule and again this season, Holy Cross generally brings a low level of intensity to their league matches. This is shown by how Coach Fox Reddy handles his frustration. Fox’s frustration is continuing to get the better of him to the point where the referee has directed him to watch a number of games from the bleachers, rather than allowing him to direct his team from behind the bench.

Only Andre Le, Cory Moore and Jon Hawco are performing up to par. Holy Cross’s goaltending continues to be very questionable to say the least this season.

Feildians Ernst & Young Orenda

The Feildians of 2007 are the league’s Most Improved Team and is getting better by the game. This squad is competing on the level with Mount Pearl or Holy Cross this season. They have the best one/two goaltending duo (Matthew Prim, Mike Organ) in the league and before the season’s end, they certainly could pull a few major upsets.

Newcomers John Acreman and Colin Browne are contributing to this rejuvenated team. Coach Pat Kennedy’s desire to win has brought a new dimension of intensity to his club.

Burin Shooters Eagles

Due to the fact Burin didn’t participate in the spring league, it looks like it cost it any chances of making the playoffs in 2007. As the season progressed, this team has made strides and is continuing to develop its young players. At this point in the season, Burin is beginning to challenge and compete with their opponents.

The trio from Lawn – Clay Roul, Robert Lambe and David Baggs – is continuing to improve and show promise. The foursome of Colin Power, Nicholas Hurley, Chad Chislett and Ryan Lane from the 2006 Marystown United squad have yet to fly in fine Eagles’ form.

Dunphy’s Details: Recently I took in a 10-day trip to Alberta to attend a family wedding. While there I had the pleasure of attending an U-20 FIFA World Cup Match played in Edmonton. The game saw the Czech Republic playing the Austria team, with the outcome being a 2-0 victory for the Czech Republic Team.

The Austria club was a very defensive team while the Czech club totally attacked the Austria team in wave like form. This was exactly how my how brother, Darin, described the Czech attack, as he constantly laughed while saying so.