2010 College Cup Preview

2010 College Cup Preview

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On December 10, 2010
  • 2010 College Cup, Akron, Louisville, Michigan, UNC

Anthony Ampaipitakwong looks to lead Akron to a College Cup title.

If you are looking for some soccer here in the States this weekend look no further than to the 2010 NCAA Men’s College Cup in Santa Barbra, California. Four very good teams square off to find how who will be this year’s NCAA national champion.

The two semifinals today should provide plenty of drama after last weekend’s Elite Eight matches. Akron, Michigan, North Carolina and Louisville all are in search of a title. Akron and Louisville are the top dogs while Michigan is the big underdog in this final four.

No. 1 Louisville (19-0-3) vs. No. 4 North Carolina (16-3-1), 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

I’m pretty pumped to see how this matchup plays out this evening. Louisville loves to contain the ball and moves through the midfield very nicely. North Carolina had a season of injuries but are finally healthy here as they are playing some of their best soccer of the season.

UNC has the ability in their midfield to control what the Cards do best in possession. Michael Farfan, Dustin McCarty, and Stephen McCarthy give the Tar Heels the ability to control things in the middle of the park.

Offensively speaking the advantage still goes with the top seeded Cards. Hermann Trophy finalists Colin Rolfe is a big reason why Louisville is undefeated here this season. His ability to hold the ball and distribute in the attack really will benefit the Big East side.

UNC has to remain strong in defense. Louisville has one of the most balanced in the country. If UNC can find a way to score in this one early they with Freshman Enzo Martinez they could make it interesting for a team that lacks the experience in the bigger games like they do.

Players to keep an eye out for: Louisville – Colin Rolfe, Dylan Mares, and J.T. Murray. UNC – Michael Farfan, Stephen McCarthy, and Enzo Martinez.

No. 3 Akron (20-1-2) vs. No. 10 Michigan (17-4-3), 11 p.m. ET, ESPN2

The big dog versus the underdog in this one. Akron feels like they have some unfinished business after falling in the Cup finals last year. Michigan could be a team that is just happy to be there but is ever so dangerous in that no one seems to take them serious enough.

Go ahead and throw out that previous meeting from earlier this year when Akron blew past Michigan 7-1. Michigan has turned their season around since that October meeting by winning 10 straight and looking stronger in each game.

Michigan has to find was to possess the ball in long stretches in this game to be successful. Akron does an outstanding job at keeping possession through their midfield and not giving it up. Guys like Anthony Ampaipitawkong, Perry Kitchen, and Michael Nanchoff do well to set up the attack for Hermann Trophy finalist Darlington Nagbe and freshman Darren Mattocks.

If Michigan can get senior forward Justin Meram and freshman Soony Saad on the boards early it could be enough to pressure the Zips into mistakes in the back like we’ve seen so far in this tournament. Akron’s defense was solid most of the season but down the stretch they’ve been exposed. If the Wolverines convert their chances when they get them they could be headed to their first College Cup final.

Players to keep an eye out for: Michigan- Justin Meram, Soony Saad and Hamoody Saad. Akron – Darlington Nagbe, Kofi Sarkodie and Perry Kitchen.

Final Thoughts:

We should have three very solid games this weekend here. I do wonder exactly how good Louisville will be with the pressures of an undefeated season and being No. 1. If they handle that pressure I think its possible they go undefeated and win the College Cup but UNC will give them lots of trouble in the first semifinal. The Tar Heel’s experience will be a big factor.

On the other semifinal you have to give credit to what Michigan has done these last couple weeks. Knocking off Maryland last week showed they can play with anyone. I still like Akron and all their firepower to finish what they really started a year ago.

I look for a Akron-Louisville final which at that point the winner is anyone’s guess. If I had to pick I’d go with Akron, you have to think they’re hungry enough here to get the title that they really should have won a year ago.