Kings Hammer needed the three points against Kalamazoo FC to pull itself closer to the Division Leaders in the standings. Kalamazoo had a different idea though — it decided it was time to earn a clean sheet against the surging Kings Hammer FC. Kalamazoo came away with a 1-0 victory Wednesday despite nine saves from Kings Hammer keeper Jared Brown.
Nine points is a steep hill to climb
Kings Hammer needed to give Kalamazoo its second loss of the season and instead finds itself looking at a good chunk of points to make a push for the division championship.Even with two games in hand, Kalamazoo holds the head-to-head season series advantage over KHFC. The Kings of the Queen City need to win out and hope for a little help along the way.
While nine points seem like an impossible hill to climb, Kings Hammer has some matches left against the bottom half of the division. There’s not a single team on its schedule going forward with a winning record at this point. Kalamazoo has a solid Oakland County team and a match at Fort Wayne which is going to want to win at home to give its fans something to get excited about to end the season.
On to Toledo
A familiar 18 will be on the team bus to Toledo. Notable absences from the 18 are Kenney Walker, Jalen Brown and Reece Hands. Hands, who many expected to be an important veteran presence on the backline, has seen no time after an early training injury put him out. He did see time in the closed-door friendly against FC Cincinnati but seems to no longer be in the mix this season.
Toledo has had a week to recover from the 3-0 drubbing it took from South Bend. Toledo used 16 of its 18 players in that match. Goals by South Bend were scored in the 33rd, 46th, and 90th minute.
Players to watch for Toledo
Kainan Dos Santos– Dos Santos leads Toledo in goals with four in 611 minutes of play. He leads the team in games played with 10. He has 22 shots on the season, five of which were in the 0-0 draw against Kings Hammer back on June 5.
Kalen Nichols- A defender who sometimes finds himself with an opportunity to score, Nichols has two goals in only four shots. The Bowling Green native plays collegiate soccer at BGSU. He started all 13 matches for the Falcons in the season.
Shots, Shots, Shots
If you look at the league website, there wasn’t a single shot recorded by Kings Hammer in the match on Wednesday. While that isn’t accurate, the club does need to shoot more often. This team has a tendency to try to get in a position for a perfect shot rather than take one when they might have a look.
Against Oakland County last week, one goal was scored in traffic after a shot deflected back and led to a pass back to Luca Erhardt. The defense was scrambling. Looking for the highlight reel goal doesn’t always get the job done. A deflected goal that crosses the line counts just the same as a pretty one.
If Kings Hammer wants to put this match away early, it needs to be willing to take shots when it can see the keeper. It doesn’t have to always be inside the 18.
Set Piece Specialists
KHFC continues to shine on set pieces. The team will have to try and get itself into some situations where it can utilize the dangerous free-kicks. Against Oakland County, Danny Barlow got another assist off of a free kick service into the area.
On the Bus
Cincinnati Soccer Talk will be traveling with the team on the road to Toledo. We will be creating some content to show what it’s like on the road in USL League Two.
Today’s match is a 7 p.m. start. While we do not have a link at this time, a link will be available as we get near match time. Kings Hammer FC will be broadcasting on YouTube for the first time. Be sure to give us a follow @cincysoccertalk on Twitter as we continue to cover Kings Hammer FC throughout the season.