The unbeaten steak is over L
We almost made it through all of June without losing, but in the very last game it all went to hell. Since I last posted, we’ve won (1-0 JJK), lost (0-1 KuPS) and tied (0-0 RoPS). I have no interest at all in talking about any of those games, but I do want to talk about my apparent new/old position, striker.
|I have no idea what we were talking about here, but let's pretend we were talking about what position I'll play.|
I’ve played the last two games as a striker, my natural position and the one I played growing up. It may not seem like my natural position, considering that I haven’t scored any goals from there, but trust me it is. I’ve been asked quite a bit if I prefer to play up front instead of the wing and my answers have been sincere: I honestly don’t care which position I play. That said, in the second half of this season I believe I could be a more important asset as a striker than winger. The first reason is that we don’t have any depth at the moment with our strikers. I’m the only person other than Tomi to play as the top striker this season and only Sebastian and I have played Jarno’s normal position. If I don’t play up top, then that effectively means that Tomi and Jarno will have to play almost every minute from now until November. Of course we could always just sign a striker in August, but I don’t know what the plan is there. If money grew on trees in Vaasa I’m sure that’d be an option, but then again if money grew on trees here I’d spend a lot more time outside J. The second reason I think I can bring more to the team as a striker than as a winger is my style. We have two strikers at the moment who are both really good, but neither is comfortable making runs behind the line. That doesn’t make them easy to defend, but it is a bit predictable. When I’m paired up there with one of them things open up dramatically. The number of chances we created in the 20 minutes I played against JJK were greater than the number of chances in the first 65-70. I think I’m a good change-of-pace (literally and figuratively) striking option. Tired center backs don’t want to look over and see the fastest player on the field coming on fresh at striker for the last 20 minutes.
I know I’ve made a bit of an argument as to why I should play striker, but I truly don’t care where I play. Winger is probably my best position at this level of competition, and a coach or two have even suggested that I play as a fullback, though I never actually have. Wherever Oka wants me to play I’ll play happily.
I went to the league website today, and was slightly surprised to realize that we are halfway through the season. While I do feel like I’ve been in Vaasa for a long time, it doesn’t seem like the official games started so long ago. Because the schedulemakers were drunk when they set the games, we’ve played 16 games in nine weeks, but only 17 in the next 16 weeks. It’s gonna be nice at first to have a full week to prepare for each game. It’s especially nice for VPS in particular, since our effective squad size is quite small. Going forward from now we don’t really have to worry about rotating the squad. We’ll have to deal with some suspensions and injuries over the next four months, but there are no more three-game weeks which is a relief. I just hope that things don’t get super boring like they were down the stretch with Haka. By the last month there we were training for an hour a day to preserve the bodies for the guys who were playing the games. There is such a thing as too much free time, and I fear that the slowdown in games might lead to that here.
Another thing about the midseason point is that it kind of cements VPS’s place as a real contender for the title or medals in Veikkausliiga. No longer can we be called a surprise or written off as a fantastic start. Now we are surely recognized by the whole league as a team that can win things. I must admit I didn’t come to Vaasa with trophies in mind, but now that we’re in the position I don’t see why we can’t win something. We’ve seen every team in this league and some twice and nothing has made me think that we can’t finish at the top end of the table.
With the pace of the games slowing down a bit I’m going to make a point of getting out into the city and enjoying Vaasa before it gets cold again. I haven’t been to the swimming area yet so I’ll have to go there. I know that Finland can be brutal when it’s cold, so I’ll make the most of my extra free time in these summer months. Netflix and PS3 will still be here in autumn.
Lastly, I want to extend good luck to all the finnish teams in European competition this week and month, especially IFK Mariehamn who has Kris Bright and Dever Orgill. Even though these teams are our rivals, their success makes us look better. If every finnish team were to miraculously make the group stages of the Europe League and Champions League respectively, then Veikkausliiga would jump to like 15th on the UEFA league coefficient and everyone would assume that I’m much better at soccer than I am because I play in that league J. You had to know that I would somehow spin this to be about me, right?