Future looks bright for Falcon boys soccer team
With a strong core of the 2018 team back this past fall for the Salisbury boys soccer team, head coach Mark Allinson had high hopes for the Falcons. But unfortunately, a large number of injuries derailed the team from achieving those goals.
At one point midway through the season, Salisbury was without eight regular starters. The result was a 2-15-1 record for a Falcon team that struggled to generate enough scoring opportunities on offense.
“The season’s expectations were high for this team,” Allinson said. “Unfortunately, numerous factors did not allow us to meet those expectations. Injuries certainly set us back throughout the season.
“It was difficult to gain any form of consistency because of this and we had to constantly tinker with the lineup at the last minute to put out a competitive 11. Our formations changed based upon personnel and that affected us.”
With formations and available players changing virtually every game, players were shifted around the field for much of the 2019 season. And the Falcons (2-9-1 in the Colonial League) struggled to produce necessary team chemistry.
“Entering the Northampton game [on September 14], we were dealing with two injuries to starters and by the time the game was over we were down eight starters,” Allinson said. “We are a small school and, as a result of the injuries, had to utilize personnel that were forced into a trial-by-fire scenario. I give the reserves a lot of credit. They did everything we asked of them. Hopefully the premature playing time will pay off down the road.”
The offense was virtually nonexistent for much of the season due to the inconsistency in the rotation. The Falcons were shut out seven times and scored a goal or less in 14 of their 18 games.
The biggest cause to that issue was Salisbury’s inability to connect on advantage opportunities in the open field.
“Our main issue with attacking revolved around not being able to put numbers up in the attack,” Allinson said. “Our 1-on-4 or 2-on-5 situations in the attacking third presented problems. Our ability to penetrate off of transition was sorely lacking.”
Despite the setback this season—dropping from four wins last year to two this year—Allinson does see light at the end of the tunnel with a successful group of returners.
Junior forward Andre Fernandes, who scored a team-high 13 goals, is expected back next year.
Sophomore midfielder Nick Amado (2 goals, 6 assists) will also return, as will junior goalie Baxter Reihman.
Only six seniors will graduate from this year’s team.
“I still do believe the future is bright for this group,” Allinson said. “Baxter Reihman returns, all of our backs for the most part do as well, and we do have some forward experience and in the midfield. Depth could be an issue again unfortunately.
“If we stay healthy and make good decisions, we could certainly reach the potential that I see with this team.”