What?: Second Round of the 5A Boys Soccer Playoffs
Where?: Bobby Holcomb Field
When?: Friday, January 29th at 5:30 PM
How can you keep yourself updated?: John Davis on Twitter @oxfordcitizenjd
The Lowdown: Boys Soccer advances to the second round of the playoffs for the first time under head coach Jonathan Branch and has won a playoff game for the first time since winning the State Championship back in 2013.
Last year entering this matchup in the first round of the playoffs, Oxford came in limping. Gavin Douglas, Connell Yoste among others all got injured during the game that started off with a 1-0 lead ended up turning into a 3-1 loss as injuries and some questionable refereeing didn't help the cause. Everything mounted to not being able to overcome it.
Oxford allowed three goals last year to Germantown in their playoff game, two coming off corner kicks (one was an own goal) and one off a free kick that came about because of a questionable call an assistant referee made that wasn't in his area. Regardless of how the calls came about, all three goals came off set pieces. That is something Oxford has had some trouble with this season such as against Lafayette where Oxford dominated but allowed two own goals off corner/free kicks to happen to tie the match and sent it to needless penalty kicks where Oxford did eventually win.
Germantown has two forwards that can fly and cause trouble for defending teams. Oxford's back line must contain the two forwards from breaking free and having a clear shot on goal. Germantown will certainly try for the home run ball (long passes into the open) to score some of their goals.
It will depend on how Oxford defends Germantown during the normal course of play and if the Chargers can defend set pieces close to their net. Oxford's offense found itself during the second half of the season and they are certainly on the right track, but the Mavericks have allowed 14 goals in 17 matches, so scoring won't be easy. The opportunities will come, it is a matter of Oxford capitalizing on them.
For Oxford to Win, They Must: Not Have Nigel Knott Make A Second Appearance - By that I mean have a careless Charger turnover and Germantown break the other way, like during the Football game this past November when Knott made a pick-six. Germantown has great speed, it must be equalized by keeping possession and using that speed against them.
Force Germantown to Make Lots of Passes - Making more passes means more chances to intercept the ball for Oxford. If Oxford allows the long ball, that means one thing: A Maverick Quick Strike. That is how Germantown more or less wants to score. Germantown's Forwards can outrun anybody.
For Germantown to Win, They Must: Find A Way To Get the Ball to Their Forwards - If the Germantown two Forwards get the ball, they can certainly use their speed a at least attempt to dribble past the Oxford defenders.
Pack the Box - Germantown uses a 4-4-2 front (4 defenders, 4 midfielders, 2 forwards). They will have at least nine defenders including the Keeper to defend with when Oxford makes an attack. That also means if Oxford gets a free/corner kick, it must be defended because that might be the best chance for the Chargers to score. Oxford scored its lone goal last year off such a kick.
Other Notes: Oxford lost 3-1 in Germantown last year in the playoffs. All goals in the match came off of free kicks or corner kicks. Oxford defeated Vicksburg 8-0 in the first round of the playoffs, their first playoff win since winning the State Title in 2013.