Manley's Blog

More on Thomsen, U-18s, and Other Early Week News

Posted in Uncategorized by mattmanley on October 6, 2009

Busy couple of days in the world of soccer, so let’s get right to some topics.

Locals Go National

Newman reports over at APP that Scott Thomsen will miss the next three games while he works out with 35 other players in the U-18 National player pool in Carson, Calif. Joining him on the list of 36 are some other names with some local impact, including Dan Metzger of Holmdel, whose HS team just earned a tie Monday night against Raritan.

Two other names some of you Shore soccer/sports followers might recognize on the list of 36 are Oscar Gonzalez and Markhus Lacroix. Gonzalez is a junior at Clifton High School and was a freshman when Manalapan tied Clifton in the Group IV final in 2007. Gonzalez helped lead the Mustangs to the Group IV final again last year, where they lost to that loaded Rancocas Valley team.

Local football fans might recognize the name Lacroix, that belonging to Langston Lacroix, the former running back/defensive back/kicker/water boy/mascot at New Egypt who is now a freshman running back at Fordham University. Markhus is Langston’s younger brother and he is a rising star in the other football. Like his brother, Markhus is a superb athlete and has put his natural gifts to use as a true striker. He played on the NJSA04 Gunners national championship team in the summer of 2008 with Metzger, who is now a member of PDA along with Thomsen.

In case you are curious to hear my take on CBA without Thomsen, here it is: they’ll be fine. I saw someone say on the APP chat that Krachie and Romano have been more important to this year’s squad, and while I’m not sure you can say anyone brings more to the table than Thomsen, just having players like that means you can miss a player without missing a beat. Howell is going to be a headache with or without Thomsen and Middletown South probably can’t keep up anyway, which leaves the Marlboro game. I think Thomsen’s absence would hurt the most against Freehold Township, only because they paid so much attention to him the first time around that attention opened the field up for Krachie, Sugarman, Gragnano, etc. Marlboro knows where a player like that is, but they’re going to play their game anyway. Luckily for CBA, they’ll have Thomsen back for Township on the 15th.

I didn’t talk to coach Dan Keane Monday, but I’ll see him tomorrow at the Howell game, so if he has anything else to add on top of what Josh reported on his blog, I’ll pass it along.

Late Edition: I needed to confirm it with Holmdel coach John Nacarlo, but Metzger is indeed taking to the opportunity to go to California as well, and why wouldn’t he? According to Nacarlo, Metzger will miss two or three games depending on the time of his flight next Tuesday, but the coach and player are both hopeful for an early flight that gets Metzger back to Jersey in time for Holmdel’s game against RBC at 5 p.m. the same day. As it is, he will definitely miss Wednesday’s game against No. 17 St. John Vianney and Thursday’s game against No. 9 Freehold while his team hopes to keep climbing toward a .500 record by the SCT cutoff.

Holmdel is probably a little more reliant on Metzger than CBA is on Thomsen, but as is the case with anybody, a team does not one player make. Holmdel’s issue right now is finishing, not possessing and creating, which are Metzger’s specialty. Rishi Desai will have to take on a bigger role, but the emergence of Matt Sawaged in the midfield the last three games should help take the pressure off of him.

Shhhhh…

It’s probably a game or two too early to lose your lid over this story but Southern, that’s right Southern Regional – the Group IV school that went 1-19 last year and had to travel about 70 miles to Henry Hudson just to get a win last year – is on a three-game winning streak. Not only that, but the Rams are 4-4 in Class A South and they are one of only four teams in the division that has a plus goals scored-goals against ratio within the division (TR North, TR South, Lacey). Lastly, an upset win over TR South on the road Tuesday means Southern will have sole possession of third place. IF (notice the big if) Southern does just that, we have a real story on our hands.

Holmdel-Raritan Reaction

I mentioned Metzger heading to California for the U-18 workout, but what I didn’t mention is this playoff push Holmdel is embarking on, starting with a tie Monday against Raritan. That was my second look at Holmdel, and boy, did they look like a different team. The Hornets can play. I’m not sure they can finish, but they can play. I think they’re lack of a true striker – they are a team of midfielders – is killing them right now and might keep them out of the SCT, but if anyone can fill the role as a finisher, they’ll be very dangerous. Rishi Desai is a man in the middle and was terrific against Raritan, while Matt Sawaged has moved from the back to the midfield and in three games there, he has already scored four goals. Big games against Vianney Wednesday and Freehold Thursday should pretty much tell us whether or not we should save Holmdel a ticket to the SCT dance.

Touching on Raritan, I was going to apologize for leading you astray on Pat Langan’s injury – he played Monday against Holmdel – but it turns out I didn’t give my reporting enough credit. The report from the Rockets was that Langan aggravated an old foot injury and they were treating it as a fracture, meaning he was to be rested until the discomfort waned, which sounded like it would be until the Manasquan game and more likely the SCT. The stipulation was Langan’s visit to the doctor Monday, which obviously resulted in a clean bill of health. As it is, the foot is not fractured, but Langan is in a lot of pain at the moment. He played about 35 minutes Monday and played up top as opposed to the midfield and even with the lightened workload, he was moving gingerly. He still played great for a guy on a bad wheel.

Raritan is banged up and to boot, they’ve gone to OT in four of the last five games. I’m sure a lot of people would like to see them tested by an A North team before the tournament, but they need a rest before they need a test. They’ve already axed a game against Jackson Liberty originally scheduled for Saturday. They’ll play RBC Wednesday, Manasquan Monday and then rest for a week before a cutoff game against Long Branch, which the Green Wave may need to win (which they did last year, 4-0). Circle that Manasquan game: if both teams win out, then the winner will be the outright A Central champion.

Flip the Script

It looked as though Neptune, Red Bank and Long Branch were going to suffer through some growing pains when the year began, but all three are growing up before our very eyes. Red Bank is 2-0-1 in its last three games against Ocean, Monmouth and Red Bank Catholic, while Long Branch has a two-game win streak with wins over Wall and Neptune. The latter of the two had battled its way to one-goal losses against Hamilton West and Long Branch after earning its second win of the season with a 2-1 decision over Red Bank. The Fliers took a big step Monday with a win over defending division champion Ocean, which is 0-4-1 in its last five games. With a ton of players who are juniors and younger, these teams will continue to get better for the next couple of years.


Resume Builders

Monsignor Donovan is 1-0-1 against A South with a win over TR East and a tie with Brick on Monday. While it may be frustrating for the Griffins that they surrendered a 1-0 lead, they are a win over Jackson Memorial on Oct. 19 away from going 2-0-1 outside of B South which should be a huge boost to its SCT resume.

Meanwhile, Manasquan continued to thrive outside of A Central with a 2-0 win over a solid Point Boro team Monday. Squan is 2-0 out of the division with wins over Top 20 teams Wall and Point Boro. Oh, and Ben Drake scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season to regain the Shore Conference lead. In the words of the video game version of John Madden, “You see it, you see it, but you just can’t stop it!” Video game Pat Summerall (monotone voice):  “First down.”

Potential Tuesday Stories

I’m going to check out CBA-Howell because I haven’t seen the Rebels since opening day and because they’ve been a close game basically everytime out, save a 4-0 loss to Colts Neck. However, the game with the most on the line is Colts Neck at Freehold Township. Both try to stay within striking distance of first place in A North, and a loss would drop Colts Neck just one game over .500 and Township to two games over .500 with four losses. The last one was ugly – 6-1 in favor of the Pats – but expect a hard-fought affair this time.

Another “throw the records out the window” game, this time between TR North and TR East. At this point, I’ve got North finishing unbeaten heading into the SCT, but Ted Gillen and his boys will have something up their collective sleeve for this one. Since North’s 1-0 win earlier this year, Craig Wagenblast has gone off and sits at seven goals on the season.

Manchester will get another crack at Point Boro, this time with Liam Cahill in the lineup. Boro is the one team in the B South field that has players with comparable athleticism to that of Cahill, which should bode well for the Panthers, who are looking to bounce back from that loss to Manasquan.

The scoreboard is up already, and I’ll probably update on the blog as well while I’m on the road at Howell.

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One Response

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  1. Ben There said, on October 21, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    ahhh… blast from the past. Langston Lacroix was also a terrific soccer player. Athletic, fast and fierce runs in that family. It’s great to hear about their success.


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