Here is a new experiment of weekly updates called IE Weekly headlines; a recap of the latest news of IE soccer of the day, plus my commentary on the headlines.
The STRYKERS announced a new head coach, Paul Wright, taking over for the 23-24 MASL season.
Opinion: The noticeable changes to the organization following the promotion of Jimmy Nordborg saw veteran goalkeeper Chris Toth return to Tacoma, promising young rookie Gabriel Costa to go to San Diego, and now the appointment of Paul as the new head coach.
At that rate of players going out and the new edition in staff, the Strykers are showing to be a fundamentally different team, which needs to be done. I hope the team recruits talent locally and promotes more Empire Jets players.
The team on the field needed a key spark or playmaker ever since the departure of Charlie Gonzalez as Empire struggled to replace with Stinson being the closest comparison. Costa had that individual brilliance and touch of the ball but has yet to have the time to season and blossom into that Charlie G role that saw the Strykers (then Fury) team lose the final a few years back.
They also needed to change that on-field reputation of being hot-headed, reactionary, and emotional, especially in big games. With some new editions to players, a new coach should be a step in the right direction.
To sum up, the announcement of the new coach is another addition to my observation that the Strkers are trying to be different with moving pieces that move the team forward and back. I am skeptical about what will happen once the season starts, but I keep receipts for the changes.
U of Redlands Men’s schedule is out.
The season is around the corner for the Bulldogs to start their 2023.
Opinion: With the first season of Redlands FC concluding soon, it will be interesting to see how the bulldogs will do with coach Cody Carlson and midfielder Ethan Kovach having the season competing in good form.
While speaking of Ethan, this player is something people should pay attention to as his playing style (particularly his body movement on and off the ball) and his physicality is a sure mix to be in an MLS or USL C side.
Redlands FC starts the Arizona road trip with a win over AZ Arensal 2-1. That was their 6th win of the season for the citrus city team, as it helped them prep for Saturday’s big clash for 2nd place against FC Tuscon.
Big loss for RFC
Sticking with RFC, they concluded their Arizona road trip with a big and disappointing loss that foiled their playoff chances.
RFC lost 3-0 to hosts FC Tucson, placing them in 3rd of the southwest conference with 2 games left. FCT was 3rd before the game, and they got an important win to increase their playoff chances.
The mission for RFC is to fight for that 2nd place spot again if they want their playoff hopes alive, as they only need to worry about FCT performances from here on out since Ventura punched their postseason ticket.
RFC has a match against SoCal seahorses (which they blanked 2-0 in their last meeting) on the 12th and hosts Ventura on the 15th. While FCT has only one game left against AZ Arsenal on the 15th. They must win their remaining games and hope FCT loses to secure 2nd place.
Opinion: I couldn’t see the game (and I don’t feel like watching the replay), but seeing the goal highlights was tough, as all 3 goals were in the first half. So I won’t be adding my two cents to the game performance as the importance of the game is more necessary.
A road trip to two games within 2 days of each other, plus ugly Arizona heat, is challenging and ruined the RFC groove. However, if they come back to Cali and play their normal game plan under the right conditions, I see them beating the seahorses again (not by a wide margin, though) and hope that VCF will play relaxed on the final game as they already made the playoffs.
Based on the standings, it’s clear that FCT would beat AZ Arsenal and conclude with 25 points. RFC need the two wins as the tiebreaker won’t favor them since it is based on head to head record (which leans to FCT).
History notes: this result is the worse defeat for Redlands, a change since June 6th when they lost to VCF 3-1.
Empire Strykers sign Garrett Blume
Future FC finishes the UPSL W regular season undefeated.
FFC hosted FC Juarez Academy and smashed the visitors 5-0 to finish the regular season in 1st place for the second time in a row. They finished with 9 wins and scored 31 goals with only 7 allowed. The playoff structure should be announced soon.