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Strong offense, but loss to Dal for X-Men

Midfield player Ayoub Al Arabi with the St. F.X. X-Men soccer team, pushing for the ball, flanked by opponents playing for Dalhousie.
Midfield player Ayoub Al Arabi with the St. F.X. X-Men soccer team, pushing for the ball, flanked by opponents playing for Dalhousie. - Sam Macdonald

Although the St. F.X. X-Men soccer team outshot the Dalhousie Tigers, they were unable to pull off a win with that aggressive play, with the game ending in a 4-0 defeat.

St. F.X. played a highly offensive game at Oland Stadium on Oct. 13, taking 29 shots on Dalhousie’s goal, as opposed to the seven the latter took. Head coach Graham Kennedy said the goals scored against St. F.X. were the result of a couple of mishaps that set the tone for the rest of the game.
“We had a goalkeeper error early in the game resulting in one goal, and then, early in the second half, Dalhousie scored from a corner kick.”
From that point on, two-nil on errors, Kennedy noted the X-men were chasing the game. He described Dalhousie’s two early goals as ones that put the X-Men “on their back feet,” trying to keep up for the rest of the match.

“There was a lot of pressure to score, and as the game went on, we went on, pushing forward. At one point, we said ‘do we push forward and lose 3-0 or remain balanced defensively and lose 2-0?’ We went for it, and paid for it,” Kennedy said, noting they focused on playing offensively for the rest of the game.

Kennedy knew they were going into a tough game on Saturday, given that Dalhousie “hasn’t allowed a goal in all year, up to that point,” playing a strong defensive game in addition to its efficient offense.
“We knew they were strong in goal. We were quite confident we could control the midfield, which we did, and quite confident we could penetrate, which we did,” Kennedy said. “What we didn’t expect was to give up two easy goals.”

Kennedy emphasized the need for more decisive, quick work with the ball.
“When you have the other team pushed back, you have to be really quick and precise with your shooting,” Kennedy said. “You don’t have the opportunity to take two or three touches before you shoot it.”
Passing too much “becomes predictable against a goalkeeper like [Dalhousie keeper] Ben Grondin, and you’re not going to score,” Kennedy noted, adding, “You need to cycle the ball faster, and if we’re going to score, it’s going to be from one-touch goals, and close to the goal.”

Kennedy said another lesson for the team was “making sure we’re absolutely prepared to start a game.”
“By the time we were ready to start, we were two-nil. A big lesson for us is getting a more disciplined start to the game. We’re a team that can dominate possession of the ball. And that can manifest itself as goals scored, but that’s not always the case,” Kennedy said. “Possession without penetration is dangerous, and that’s what happened.”

The big thing, in Kennedy’s mind is that the X-Men have otherwise had a good season.
“We played well, and what we had was four minutes out of 90, that we weren’t ourselves. And in those four minutes, we didn’t do some of the things we wanted to. It’s not a permanent problem, it’s temporary, and I think it’s already been fixed.”


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