July 9, 2017

Women’s soccer breakdown: Midfield

By Jordan Shim–

After last week’s breakdown of the women’s soccer team’s goalkeeping and defense, we next move on to the midfield.

Games are won and lost in midfield as they provide both help on both ends of the pitch. Coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes runs a 4-3-3 with a triangle midfield. But with the two wingers tracking back, it more resembles a 4-2-3-1.

The transfer of Jill Vetere to Cincinnati leaves a hole at central attacking midfield but Louisville has options to replace the departure.

Expected starters:

Sophomore Callie McKinney, senior Alison Price and sophomore Sanela Hodzic.

Strength: Consistency

Having the same midfield start every game together is a great asset. Having that midfield turn in solid performances in every start is a greater asset. There were lots of questions entering last season about the two holding midfielders in McKinney, a then-true freshman, and Price, a converted forward.

The questionable duo turned out to be a great pairing. Holding midfielders rarely get recognized for their play, but McKinney’s outings were solid all season long. With good ball distribution, McKinney rarely made mistake.

Ferguson-Dayes found a gem in Price. Since her transition from forward to midfield, Price showed her ability to be a box-to-box midfielder. She didn’t look out of position playing much deeper than she was accustomed to, and her runs forward from deep gave the team another scoring option, as she tied for second on the team with three goals.

Expect this pair to start another 18 games this upcoming season.

Weakness: Chance creation

Losing the team’s assist leader in Vetere wasn’t planned and now an inexperienced player will have to orchestrate the attack. The best replacement is Hozdic.

Hodzic will likely translate well to the attacking midfield because she is good with both feet and has technical ability. She is familiar with the position, having made seven appearances last season. She also recorded her first collegiate assist in just 37 total minutes of action. Hodzic’s ability to impact the game with very limited minutes per outing should bode well when she plays 90-minute shifts.

Photo by Nancy Hanner / The Louisville Cardinal

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