Confidence, Kerber lead the Rangers past Jeeps, 6-0September 17, 2019
BY JONATHAN SAXON
DUBOIS — Early in the season, Mike Foerester was concerned about Forest Park’s aggression levels when it came to executing offense on the field. He felt that the boys were hesitant to make assertive moves with the ball and lacked confidence to create shooting opportunities in one-on-one situations.
But that was then, and if the last four games are any measure it seems the Rangers have overcome those anxieties and embraced their offensive identity as they rolled to a 6-0 win over the Northeast Dubois Jeeps on Monday night.
“Things are finally clicking for us,” said Foerester. “It’s been a long month with such a tough schedule, but at this point the only thing that can beat us is us. Right now we’re seeing good production out of everybody.”
Foerester did single out one player in particular who he felt embodies the Rangers’ (4-5-2) new found confidence on offense: JD Kerber. The sophomore forward was going at a hundred miles an hour all night long, and wasted little time getting the Rangers on the scoreboard as he nailed his first shot at the Jeeps’ (3-5-1) net from the top of the box less than a minute into the game.
The Jeeps tightened up and focused their efforts on keeping the Rangers from using the early goal to build any momentum, but it was only a matter of time before Kerber found the next once again. However the second one may prove that sometimes it pays to be fortunate. Kerber was carrying out a corner kick, and as he put the ball in play it made a beeline for the left post of the Jeeps goal. Somehow Kerber’s kick managed to slip past Jeeps junior goalkeeper Carter Beckman, and just like that the Rangers had cemented a 2-0 lead.
But he wasn’t finished yet. About ten minutes into the second half Kerber struck again, this time taking advantage of a loose ball that managed to pop out in front of the Jeeps’ net from a scrum in the right corner. Being at the right spot at the right moment has its benefits, and Kerber was able to cash in for his third goal of the evening and a 3-0 Rangers lead.
Senior midfielders Logan Englert and Evan Tretter were also able to get in on the scoring action with a combination of a free kick and a deflection off of a Jeep defender that turned into a goal. However, it was Kerber who put the cap on the action when he recovered an errant ball from the corner, streaked across the net and put in the final shot with less than two minutes remaining in the game.
Kerber finished with four goals total and was quick to thank his teammates for making it easy to move across the field Monday night.
“A lot of it was our team, we moved the ball well tonight,” he said. “We that passing we made a lot of through-runs tonight, we’re finally getting the hang of it. I got on at the end of some through-runs and finished.”
With the evolution of the Rangers, Foerester believes that they have what it takes to play with anybody on the soccer field. Their new confidence has them taking some chances they probably wouldn’t have in the past, and he feels that the team’s health is the biggest factor that can keep the Rangers from realizing their full potential.
“Our forwards are making runs off the ball, and we’re dragging defenders away from the space that our dribblers are taking. So that’s helping us,” said Foerester. “All eleven guys on the field are solid, and the only thing that can beat us is us at this point. We had four or five starters come off the field injured tonight. So we got to get them healthy for the tournament.”
Jeeps coach Clive Williams was proud of the effort that his boys played with and said they were trying a couple different things on the field to match up with the Rangers. He realized early on that this season would be a developmental season since the Jeeps are so young, but in spite of the result he thought the guys played one of their better games against the Rangers. The biggest hurdle they must overcome is finishing when they get opportunities at the net.
"We got people who can play (and) move the ball, but we’re just not there when it comes to finishing,” said Williams. “We’re still looking for someone to be that striker up top that we need.”
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