College Cup Final Four Preview

College Cup Final Four Preview

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On December 11, 2009
  • ach Lloyd, Akron, Anthony Ampaipitakwong, Austin Da Luz, Billy Schuler, Blair Gavin, Brian Ownby, Corben Bone, Darlington Nagbe, Ike Opara, Jonathan Villanueva, Kofi Sarkodie, Michael Farfan, Teal Bunbury, Tony Tchani, UNC, Virginia, Wake Forest, Will Bates, Zach Schilawski

If you want a sneak peak of things to come in Major League Soccer then look no further to this weekend’s action in the College Cup. Of the four teams left in the field, all include several MLS-ready players.

There really is no big separation between these four schools. One is unbeaten and the rest are dominate ACC figures that we’re use to seeing make it this far into the tournament. Virginia, North Carolina and Wake Forest have been solid all season long. Akron on the other hand has been nearly perfect this year. I say nearly because they still have two potential games standing between them and perfection on the season.

Below are my previews for tonight’s game and a prediction of who I think will win it all.

Virginia v. Wake Forest (4:30 CST – ESPN2):

Players of Note:
VIRGINIA- Tony Tchani, Will Bates, Jonathan Villanueva, and Brian Ownby.
WAKE FOREST- Ike Opara, Corben Bone, Austin Da Luz, and Zach Schilawski.

This game is loaded with pure talent on both sides. Virginia found ways to beat Wake twice this season, which isn’t easy to do in any year. But believe me, beating a team three times in a season is no easy task when both sides are so evenly matched. These teams played to a scoreless draw in the ACC Tournament semifinals before UVA won on penalty kicks.

Wake will need to rely on their offense to win this one. Virginia has too good of a defense here that just takes over games. The Demon Deacons will need a big time performance out of Austin Da Luz here. If he can help generate the offense like he has done all year and find a way to break down this daunting defense then Wake could move on.

Virginia will need find a way to get Will Bates involved early on in this one. He’s big and physical around net, look for Ike Opera to be on him all day. If he isn’t able to find a way to break down Wake’s defense then look for Toni Tchani to have to pick up the slack. If Tchani is able to do some damage then I would like Virginia’s chances.

I think this one could easily go either way. UVA has the mental advantage in beating Wake twice this year but something about Wake in this game I like a little more. Revenge is a dish best served cold and look for Wake to move on with a close  win in overtime.

WVH Prediction: Wake Forest 1 – 0 Virginia


Akron v. North Carolina (6:30 CST ESPNU)

Players of Note:
AKRON- Teal Bunbury, Darlington Nagbe, Blair Gavin, Anthony Ampaipitakwong, and Kofi Sarkodie.
UNC- Zach Lloyd, Dustin McCarty, Michael Farfan, Billy Schuler, and Kirk Urso.

The Zips are quite a story here, going undefeated up until this point. Just two more games and the perfect season is their’s. Akron is all about speed and if UNC can slow down that speed with Dustin McCarty and Kirk Urso then they will go a long way in staying in this game. The thing is that won’t be easy to do as Akron has not one but two star forwards that are extremely tough to contain with Team Bunbury and Darlington Nagbe.

If anyone is an underdog in this Final Four it is the Tar Heels. UNC will need to rely a lot on Michael Farfan to generate some offense and to find guys like Zach Lloyd and Billy Schuler in space.

The difference in this one is pure talent though and I love the overall talent that Akron has. With difference makers like  Anthony Ampaipitakwong and Blair Gavin in the midfield I just have trouble seeing UNC pull the upset in this one. The Zips move on and get Wake in the final.

WVH Prediction: Akron 2, UNC 1


So that leaves Akron and Wake in the final based on these predictions. Just to be quick I’ll take Akron with the win in the final as well. I just love the overall amount of talent on that roster. Wake and Virginia would both present problems for Akron but with head coach Caleb Porter likely on his way to MLS with DC I just think this will be the one shot this bunch has at a national title. Not a bad send off if you ask me.