Rangers have room to improve after netting first win

Photos by Traci Westcott/ The Herald
Forest Park's JD Kerber looks for a shot against Vincennes Rivet during Thursday's boys soccer game at Cedar Crest Intermediate School in Bretzville. JD scored Forest Park's only goal of the night. Forest Park defeated Vincennes Rivet 1-0. For more photos from the game, click here.


BRETZVILLE — Mike Foerester was not as happy as he could have been following Thursday night’s soccer game.

Though the Forest Park boys soccer team did pick up their first victory in a 1-0 win over the Vincennes Patriots, the Rangers (1-3, 0-1) coach felt his boys fell back into their bad habits which took some of the joy out of the result. He also felt that the team shared that same sense of disappointment.

“It does feel good to get a win under our belts, but I could sense the boys were frustrated that it wasn’t more than a one-goal game tonight,” said Foerester. “We’re resorting to bad habits again for some reason, so we’ve talked about working on some of the basics again in practice.”

One of the main habits Foerester identified is awkward first touches across the team. He sees players letting the ball get trapped under their feet on their receive attempts, which cost them precious seconds in the field and keeps them from initiating their offense ahead of closing defenders. Foerester also thinks that his players could use a bit more confidence in one-on-one scenarios with opposing defenders. He sees his guys hesitating and playing a bit timid instead of making quick decisions with the ball to put pressure on the defense.

“If we could improve on that we’ve got a strong offensive line,” he said. “I’ve got about six guys I could throw in there that could net some goals for us. It’s just a matter of getting them the ball from our midfield that’s limiting us right now.”

But the Forest Park coach wasn’t all doom and gloom as he diagnosed the Rangers’ performance versus the Patriots (1-2, 1-0).

Throughout their first three games he has seen his boys improve in significant ways before they put it together to get their first win. The first thing that stood out is how the boys played with more urgency and aggression when they closed in on loose balls.

Forest Park's Conner Knies moves the ball down field during Thursday's boys soccer game at Cedar Crest Intermediate School in Bretzville. For more photos from the game, click here.

The Rangers were all over the field battling the Patriots for possessions, and they got the better part of those battles for most of the evening.

Foerester thinks there’s still a lot of room for the team to grow in that area, but their off-the-ball movement allowed the Rangers to control the pace of play better than they had been in their previous three outings.

“We still struggle a it, we’re a little bit lazy at times. But we moved well off the ball to allow us to possess,” the coach said. “That’s giving us opportunities to move the ball forward.”

He also complimented the boys on getting more inventive in how they move the ball around to create shots. That creativity paid off early for the Rangers when senior midfielder Tyler Berger found sophomore forward JD Kerber at the front of the Patriots’ net for the game’s lone score.

“Tyler made a run to the corner,” said Kerber. “He played the ball across the middle, and their center defender missed it and it came right to me. One-touch shot.”

The Rangers' coach thinks that all of critiques he mentioned are fixable areas that will go along way towards making the team a more effective offensive team. He believes they are capable of hanging with anybody defensively, but if the Rangers could open up their offense they could be launched into a different stratosphere.

So the Rangers will enjoy the feeling of putting one in the win column, but they’re going right back to work so they can be a finer tuned offensive team when they travel to Evansville on Saturday for a pair of weekend games.

“Against (Evansville) Central it would be nice to put a few more goals in the back of the net and build a little more confidence offensively,” said Foerester. “It’s just a matter of competing offensively that’s going to send us over the edge.”

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