I was in Santa Barbara Tuesday night where 24th ranked Creighton defeated 21st ranked UCSB, 1-0.
It was a typical college soccer game that relies on physical play and an abuse of long balls – no pauses or build-ups in possession.
So I’m only writing this to report on who is ready for the next level.
There are 2 players who should get drafted this year!
Hopefully we can all agree that US Soccer lacks creative center midfielders. This is a necessary requirement for any team or country who aspires to good play and glory.
Well, I’ve got 2 for you! If these guys were in Argentina, they would already have cracked some first team action … seriously! We need them in MLS! So let’s draft them …
Coaches, player agents, selection committees, whoever’s responsible in this wacky system of ours … make it happen!
Jose Gomez (10/23/1990)
* He is a true #10 with excellent technique and decision making.
* Silky smooth touch and calm under all scenarios.
* Defensive and offensive vision is among the best I’ve seen.
* Work rate is impressive.
* His weak foot is better than most player’s strong foot.
* Both long and short ball distribution is excellent.
* He understands about pausing the game.
* A striker’s dream.
I think UCSB coach Tim Vom Steeg was aware of the danger Gomez presents. After all, he had him man-marked for this match.
I want to see Creighton’s #10 bark orders and command the team much better. If you understand and can read the game as he does, you should be transmitting your vision to everyone and LOUD!
Technical Quality = 9
Soccer IQ = 9
Physical = 7
Danny Barrera (01/08/1990)
This is Santa Barbara’s elite playmaker and engine. If he’s not given the ball well and often, this team has a difficult time functioning. I’ve seen Danny play many times last year, both in college and for his PDL team.
This is another center mid who “get’s it”. He is a highly illusive player on the ball with excellent vision and decision making. Like Jose Gomez, he shares many of the same attributes and caresses, not kicks, the ball.
And let’s not forget an absolute requirement, which most Americans fail, for any truly elite center mid. The understanding and execution of retaining possession when a clear attacking opportunity is not present.
I would like to see him cover more ground defensively.
Technical Quality = 8
Soccer IQ = 8
Physical = 7
On the Bubble
Ethan Finlay (08/06/1990)
This is Creighton’s highly touted striker. The Junior is a preseason candidate for college soccer’s top individual honor, as he has been named to the preseason Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy Watch List.
I’m always skeptical with players that receive praise or awards in this country. After all, in the majority of my articles I talk about how the US isn’t capable of selecting the absolute best. That they rely on statistics, raw athleticism, and pedigree. So with all the hoopla around Ethan, I made sure to spotlight him.
I will admit, he did not disappoint. There looks to be something there. First off, he does what most American strikers fail to do – properly pressure their opponent’s back line. This guy is a bull! He will chase the width of the field to force the outside back into a turnover. And he will do it at the right angle. Creighton plays with him as a lone striker and yet he still manages to press throughout the game. Think Carlos Tevez …
Additionally, with his team in possession, he makes excellent well-timed runs inviting a goal scoring pass by the midfielders.
Yeah, these things sound trivial. After all, this is fundamental stuff a striker should know how to do, right? Well, in this country they don’t. Finlay looks to be an exception.
I place him “on the bubble” because of the circumstances of the game. With Jose Gomez man-marked and his team forced to play defense for the majority of the match, Finlay did not get many touches. So I could not confidently assess his technical quality. (I’ll follow up when I see more).
Michael Tetteh (01/16/1989)
Another highly touted college soccer player. The Ghanian born outside back/midfielder has the level for MLS but I hesitate to fully endorse him because I only give a thumbs up to the absolute best. Meaning, those players that are special, those that are different. Those where I can’t say: “Yeah he’s good, but there are hundreds like him in the country.”
I’ve watched Tetteh in many games now and he’s very good, but I’ve never been like: “Wow, that was genius”.
However, I think he makes a strong case as an outside back. Forget his defensive responsibilities, his potential to be special is in his play on the ball. He has the technical quality of a midfielder and the capacity to open up defenses with his runs on the wing. This is something the US also lacks. Our defenders are horrific on the ball when compared to their international counterparts. Where’s our Danny Alves and Maicons?
Well, MLS might have a closer version with Tetteh.
Technical Quality: 8
Soccer IQ = 7
Physical = 8
Tyler Polak (05/13/92)
The Creighton freshman is highly rated by US Soccer as he is regularly called up for youth National Team duty. He played every minute of every game in the U-17 World Cup in Nigeria last year.
In this game, he had a good performance in the second half, but got regularly exposed in the first 45 minutes. This is a player that needs to be polished! Currently, he is a prototypical american defender that struggles with proper decision making on the ball – overdribbling, too many long-balls, and wants to be a playmaker. Don’t get me wrong – he has raw potential – but there is a lack of development.
Technical Quality = 7
Soccer IQ = 6
Physical = 7
Sam Hayden (03/17/1989)
I’m sure the UCSB senior goalkeeper is quite capable of playing MLS, but I don’t have any urge to report on this position. US Soccer does just fine here.
Recommendation to MLS bloggers
Oh, and for our beloved readers who happen to be fans of an MLS team and blog about it … start lobbying for these two midfielders. Remember I touted the virtues of Danny Mwanga last year here and here, and look how that’s turning out. 🙂 Trust me, your team will be blessed.
If you know any of these guys … what do you think?
Let me know of college players you think are worthy, and I’ll try to catch their games.