Commodore Soccer is back in action on West End for the first time this season. This is their second and final pre-season exhibition, but the only information about their first contest in Birmingham is a set of 4 pictures that UAB posted. I offered up some pre-season thoughts on the forwards, midfielders, and defenders/goalkeepers. Tonight is the first time I get to see if I might have been right or be abruptly reminded how wrong I can be.
When it comes to the opposition, Memphis was in a class of teams that Vanderbilt had good success against last season. They were similar to WKU and MTSU that the Dores defeated comfortably in 2022. The Tigers are returning a high-quality starting goalkeeper in Claire Wyville. In attack, their top 5 scorers and 4 of their top 5 assisters also return. A pair of defenders who started 20+ matches last season are gone. Beyond that, I have nothing to add about the opposition.
Tonight’s match could go a few different ways. Based on previous seasons, I would expect to see a lot of tinkering. Coach Ambrose will want to see how different partnerships around the pitch work under live action against a real opponent. It might seem like a coach will want to use his most talented 11 players, but the key is often finding the most effective 11, which might vary depending on how talents and tendencies overlap or interconnect. I would also expect a formational switch at halftime or even mid-half. Coach Ambrose has shown he likes to have a second deployment option to either exploit an opponent’s weakness or throw off of how they attempt to counter Vanderbilt’s primary setup.
Kickoff is at 6 PM, and admission, as always, is free. I will try to update the comments section as I can, but the mobile setup is very frustrating for live events where others might also be commenting. There will definitely be some quick thoughts about the starting XI when it is announced and after the formation is revealed early in the match along with halftime and post-match comments.