There are plenty of holes in the University of Vermont’s men’s soccer team.
They struggle with keeping possession of the ball in their own zone. Their defensive line is more manic than Robin Williams. Sometimes they look impenetrable and other times they look like they’re holding the door open for you.
And then there are the rookies, though immensely talented, they do what rookies do best — make silly mistakes.
In 2007, similar things could be said about the team, which started out 3-8 and endured two separate four-game losing streaks.
That team was also relatively young and had a serious problem with playing as a unit.
Two years ago, the team had all the elements needed for success; a super-skilled goalie in Roger Scully, a cheetah-fast striker in Lee Stephane Kouadio and a defensive line that featured two of the best conference defenders in years in Conor Tobin and former captain Jake McFadden.
Parallels continue with this years team.
Vermont boasts veteran players such as standout goalie Tom Critz, who is capable of highlight-reel saves. They have Kyle Leutkehans, who never seems to make a bad decision; TJ Gore, who knows how to make defenders look foolish and is the glue for the midfield and Drew Smalley, a two-year starter on defense who was a padawan of McFadden and Tobin.
Not to mention a surplus of young talent and the transfer of junior Juan Peralta, who brings the flashy skills of Latin America with him to Centennial Field.
So much talent begs the question — why can’t this team get it together?
It’s not like they are getting blown-out by anyone, but a big problem is that they play up and down to their opponents skill level.
This is very similar to the 2007 squad, which both top notched squads and a few not-so-notable teams, and had very close games with each.
For example, it took an overtime goal for UMass to beat UVM that year. They ended finishing the season ranked fourth nationally.
This season, the Cats tied both Portland and UMass this year, two highly skilled teams, yet lost to Siena who, talent-wise, can’t match up with Vermont at all.
After struggling in non-conference play, the 2007 team was able to find some unity and actually began pulling it together.
This year’s team has yet to turn the corner, but it’s logical to think they will. The 2007 team did, and I think this team will.
By the way, two years ago, the 2007 team ended up being America East champions. Anything is possible.