Match No. 5 on the season has Kings Hammer FC in a very interesting spot in the Great Lakes Division. It finds itself in second place behind the only team to defeat it this season, Kalamazoo FC. Teams in the division are scoring a lot of goals. Just this week, Toledo and Oakland County had a 5-5 draw, and Dayton gave up three goals to the same Kalamazoo side that scored four against KHFC.
The Kings of the Queen City travel to Grand Rapids today for a 7:30 p.m. tilt with Grand Rapids FC. Kings Hammer looks to add to its five-goal total in Friday’s match
Grand Rapids FC isn’t scoring many goals. It has two draws — a 0-0 draw to open the season against Ft. Wayne and a 1-1 draw against Kalamazoo — in the only two matches it has played so far in the early part of the season.
Generating more offense
Kings Hammer was unable to put the ball in the net against the Bucks in their match on Tuesday, and it needs to find a way to generate some more offensive chances. There were a few missed opportunities when bringing the ball down the wings in Tuesday’s match that the coaching staff has surely addressed during training this week.
While bringing the ball down the wing and creating opportunities from the outside has been available to Kings Hammer, its opponents seem content with allowing it the outside. The club could benefit from a more direct approach in open play. It has done a very good job in connecting from the back to the midfield but needs better distribution from the midfield to the wings at times.
The KHFC strikers seem most dangerous when they are making runs and the ball comes through, but they are oftentimes posting up for service with their backs to the goal. Better service on through balls to the strikers could make a big difference moving forward.
Kings Hammer’s set pieces have been the most dangerous part of the attack at this point. Danny Barlow has done a very good job delivering the ball on free kicks. A number of players have contributed to the service on corner kicks as well. They need to be able to finish on more of the set pieces if they aren’t going to be able to capitalize off of the opponent’s mistakes in open play.
Still building the roster
KHFC announced Thursday that former Kings Hammer Academy midfielders Michael Wampler and Maouloune Goumballe have joined the squad.
Wampler, a University of Wisconsin Badger, played in eight games this spring and scored the game-winner against Ohio State.
Goumballe just finished his sophomore season as an Indiana Hoosier and national championship finalist. The midfielder also played with the Columbus Crew Academy before joining the Hoosiers.
Keys to victory for Kings Hammer
- Generate more offensive chances. KHFC has to get more shots on target against Grand Rapids, or it will be looking at another low-scoring affair.
- When moving the ball down the wings, look for an opening at the top of the 18. It was there multiple times against the Bucks and not utilized.
- Continued top-notch goalkeeping. Both keepers that have seen time have played well. The four goals Jared Brown gave up in the Kalamazoo match can mainly be contributed to being down a man.
- The strikers have to get the ball in front of them, on the run. The KHFC striker corps is much more effective in the middle of the park when through balls make their way in their general direction. They need to continue to put in the work, even when it’s not a perfect pass to them.
The Kings of the Queen City return home for their next match at Xavier at 7 p.m. on June 4.
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