Hope everyone is doing well. Enjoyed your 4th of July weekend, I did! Where to start, well we played on the Friday night coverage game on Fox Soccer Channel. If any of you watched the game, you’ll know that we had an hour delay due to a storm that was hovering over the pitch. It was a long wait because all of us were itching to get on the field and take care of business. Puerto Rico started their month long road trip and we wanted to get 3 points out of the match so that we could jump further up the table. Fortunately we were able to get 3 points in a muggy and wet night in Miami. Alex Afonso scored on a penalty set up by Sean Fraser. I started that game and was pleased the way our team came out. My ultimate goal as a defender is to keep a shutout and we did that, with some very good saves from our keeper Josh Saunders. As far as the game we played well just need to play a complete game for 90 minutes, because we did a little more defending in the 2nd half than we wanted to.
As far as the U.S. Open Cup, we did a franchise best of reaching the 3rd round. In the 2nd round we faced the Atlanta Silverbacks at home, which was fortunate, because it’s very tough to play on the road, so we had a good fan support behind us egging us on. We won that match 1-0 and were elated to play again in the 3rd round and even more motivated to play against a MLS team. We took on FC Dallas at Dallas. I’ve never been to Dallas so it was definitely something I was looking forward to. I know quite a few players on that team. I played with Ray Burse at Ohio State as he was my keeper, and I played with Brek Shea and Blake Camp with the U-23’s in Toulon. I also played with Abe Thompson and Michael Dello-Russo in my freshman year at the University of Maryland. We lost to FC Dallas 2-1 which was disappointing but as far as how we played, we did very well. The only drawback is we gave up goals in injury time of both halves. We gained a lot of confidence and came out pumped up for Puerto Rico. Outside of Open Cup play we’ve been unbeaten. We hope to continue that streak because it makes it a lot more fun.
For our upcoming schedule, we travel Saturday to Rochester to take on the Rhinos and it should be a very good game. Rochester has had its ups and downs but are playing good soccer since they’re getting back some of their injured players. That’s what we’ve been told in meetings. I feel very optimistic with our chances of going in there and getting 3 points. We just need to enjoy the game and be consistent the entire game. After that we travel to Montreal to play in their great atmosphere. They recently lost to Puerto Rico, so I’m sure they’re going to battle just as hard as we are to get a result. It should be very entertaining and fun to play at Saputo Stadium.
As far as my down time, we’ve had a busy schedule with some workouts scattered in our week of prep, so we’ve been busy, but I do find time to “jump on the sticks” as my buddies and I call it from back home in Ohio. We play a lot of FIFA 08 on Xbox 360. Actually I’m writing this Tuesday night and I’m going to play my buddy Brent Rohrer, who I played with at Ohio State in a game after I get done with this. . His roommates are all very good friends and avid Fifa players, so there’s always a game waiting. So that’s about it as far as what I’ve been doing. Oh! I just finally went to the beach on our weekend off for the 4th and had a good time. It’s been some time since I’ve seen the ocean so it was a nice change of scenery.
I would like to thank those of you who submitted questions and we’ll get to that part now.
- Hey Eric, other than Soccer what are other sports you most enjoy watching/player? Do you support any specific teams?
-Jimmy K, Jacksonville, FL
Besides soccer the sports I like to watch would consist of a few. I’ll throw in the teams I support with the sports that I watch. I like to watch hockey and I support the Philly Flyers. My cousin supported them when I was growing up so I just followed them and became a big fan. Was very excited to see them do somewhat well in the play-offs this year. The Pen’s were just too good. I like to watch all the Grand Slams for Tennis. Recently Wimbledon was on and man what a final between the 2 best players in the world. I’m a Federer fan personally. Also like to watch Golf, especially when the Majors are on. Tiger is unreal to watch, especially his last win at the Open. What an athlete to win the cup with a bum knee.
- Eric, did you ever consider playing overseas after high school or college? Or were you focused on playing in the states.
As far as professionally, it was always a goal of mine, but to be blunt, I wasn’t good enough nor developed enough as a player to go straight from High School. High School soccer is an enormous leap to the pro levels. If the opportunity was there, I’d really have to sit back and think about it. After college, since we went pretty far in the tournament I couldn’t talk with an agent until afterwards, so I didn’t know too much. I was mainly focused on the MLS. I was invited to the combine and performed very well there so I was expecting to play MLS. I had known of a few options overseas, but I was drafted by New York so I was committed to them at the time.
- Heya, did you follow Euro 2008 closely? What were your thoughts on the tournament?
Cindy let me tell you this; I was very impressed by ESPN to cover all the games in some shape or form. When we traveled I knew we wouldn’t get the channel in our room, so I watched it online. My two teams that I was rooting for were the Dutch and the Germans. My family name is German, and I liked the Dutch since I was younger, when Davids played for them. So to see both of them lose sucked, but the Germans put up a good fight. They didn’t play well in the finals, but Spain was definitely the best team. Their unsung hero was their Defensive mid, Senna.
- If you had a choice of a team(s) to play for around the world, who would you choose?
What a question. You could go so many routes as to what league I like the best or where I’d go for money. England has a very attractive style of football and they pay extremely well. I’d probably say I’d want to go to a German club, probably Bayern Munich or Schalke, just because they both have a very rich history and compete very well in their league.
- First of, I love the blog! I was wondering, do you have a personal favorite formation? are you a more conventional 4-4-2 kinda guy, maybe 3-5-2?
As for formations, I’m more of a 4-4-2 kind of guy. My style of game is reading the game and anticipating balls being played into the forwards. As a center back you can do that, as long as you have cover with a 4-4-2 system. With a 3-5-2 system the center back is forced to chase down balls launched overtop the outside back down the line, thus a lot more running. With the 4-4-2 I have a little more freedom to play, meaning finding seams, passing the ball, splitting the midfield to find forwards and such.
Thanks so much for reading, once again hope you had a good weekend and thanks so much for the questions! Keep them coming! Email them to Eric@americansoccerreader.com