Chris Porter Blog

Tiger Blogs :: Chris Porter, Men's Soccer

Week 7

Porter's Pitch - Week 7
Wasssssuuupp Memphis Tiger futbol fanatics! This is week seven of Porter's Pitch, and as you know, I am here to fill everyone in on the happenings of U of M soccer.

We were training for Alabama A & M after coming off of a solid victory over SIUE. On Monday the team made a trip to the National Civil Rights' Museum in downtown Memphis. As always, it was very inspirational as you learn something new with each visit. We saw a great documentary on Martin Luther King, Jr. and his experiences in the city of Memphis. Overall, it was another good trip to a place that holds a lot of meaning.< /p> On Tuesday, we had an indoor practice where we were preparing ourselves for an A&M team that would look to do a lot of short passing. Coming into the game, we felt confident in ourselves and wanted to get a good start toward the big conference game against Tulsa on the weekend.

It was a very frustrating night, though, as we lost 3-1. Things didn't go our way and we certainly did not perform the way we train to. Knowing the implications of the weekend matchup, the team got back to work immediately the next day with intense practices sessions throughout the week. When flying out to Tulsa on Saturday, we were in high spirits and knew what we had to do to have a chance to qualify for the conference tournament. Jon and Thomas definitely had a bigger feeling as this was, in a way, a homecoming game for them. With a good training session focused on set pieces on Saturday evening, we prepared ourselves for a tough game the following day.

This was another televised game for us, and the team wanted to perform because we felt as though our best play wasn't seen in our last television game against SMU. We started the game very well as Jon began his hustle play down the wing and got us some early opportunities. Yet, Tulsa capitalized twice on our own defensive mistakes in the first half and gave us a steep hill to climb.

We played better the second half, and had more energy and passion. Brian had a goal called back due to a handball call, but if we could've gotten a goal from his persistence, then the game would've changed drastically. With our chances growing thin, we weren't able to make the comeback and lost 2-0.

I was able to get my first appearance in Tiger blue and it felt great to hit the field and put in tackles. Due to my injury last year, I wasn't able to play so this is something I can personally build upon. Although it's disappointing now because we cannot make the conference tournament, we still have one game left against South Carolina and want to send the seniors out on a high note for their Memphis careers. Come out and support us on Saturday at Mike Rose and enjoy Senior Night for Rick, Brian, and Mike!

Until next time, this is CP23 signing out.

Porter's Pitch - Memphis Soccer Blog 2009

Week 6

Porter's Pitch - Week 6

Memphis Tiger soccer fans!! The Pitch is back. Yes, I know last week's piece was MIA, and I apologize to all the avid readers out there.

At my last note, we were traveling to a big conference game at UAB. We played in a mud pit because of heavy rain, and it definitely added another dimension to an already heated game. We lost 1-0 off of a corner kick, but there was never a quitting attitude in our team as we felt like we tried to play soccer even with the bad conditions.

We returned home for another huge conference game against FIU. We knew this was a must-win for us and we needed points. A 1-0 victory would suffice as Kaiser (Andreas Guentner) decided to drop a bomb to beat the keeper. And yes, Weezy got his assist. Mr. Watson passed Kaiser the ball as Andreas then proceeded to dribble FIU players and score a great goal.

We had some turf room practices the past week, and another followed after the FIU win. We were preparing for another key matchup against Marshall, who is having a great season so far. With some intense, fast, and physical play in the turf room, we finished and so entered the U of M baseball team. Coach Grant gave them a ball to see some of their juggling skills. As they displayed their tremendous skill with the ball, it bounced to me as I was sitting and stretching and I volleyed the ball up and got it stuck in between pipes in the ceiling, a feat never before seen (such as me breaking Coach Nick's speed and agility pole). The difficulty level of hitting a soccer ball with a baseball is obviously very high...

We traveled to Huntington, West Virginia to take on Marshall on a 9-hour bus ride. We felt confident going in, and started the game very well. Marshall was very physical and the referee allowed a lot of play to continue. Some controversial calls and a couple instances of not being focused cost us a big result as we lost 2-0. That was a long ride back especially with school the next morning.

There was a down feeling in the team with some fixtures not going our way, but we pulled together in practice this past week and got a good 2-0 win against SIUE. Hugo scored the game-winner with a header, and Thomas was finally able to put all that p.k. practice against Frank to the good use as he scored our second from the spot. Nice celebration Tom'o. Was looking for one of those FIFA 10 celebrations I saw from you in our champions league match though...

Looking to the Wednesday game against Alabama A&M, we know they are a good team and we will have to focus on our games one at a time if we want to make the CUSA tourney. These next two weeks will define our season so we'll have to be on our "A" game.

Until next time, this is CP23 riding off into the sun like Clint Eastwood. Speak Easy.

Week 5

Porter's Pitch - Week 5

¡Hola futbol de Memphis ventila! Esto es la quinta edición del Porter's Pitch. Estoy contento que usted regresó a leer acerca de lo que pasa en el programa de futbol.

Since it is Hispanic Heritage Month, I decided to write this week's introduction in Spanish! I apologize if not everyone is bilingual like me and can understand my Spanish 1010 skills.

Back to the Pitch. The team was a bit disappointed as we were defeated by SMU last week 2-0 after a good first half performance. With another week of preparation for Kentucky ahead of us, we came into camp focused at the task at hand.

With UK on a three game losing streak in the conference, we knew that they would pump the ball down the field and throughout the week the team practiced on defending the "long ball." This was great scouting as we knew from past experience that they were good in the air and we wanted J.J., Rick, and Rory to remain as dominant in that perspective as they have been this whole year.

The day before the game we did a lot of the same defending serves that went behind our back four, and at the end mixed in some finishing drills. We love to shoot, as any soccer team does, but we wanted to still focus on getting our shots on frame because if it's not on frame, it doesn't bulge the `ol onion bag. Ending with a penalty kick shootout, there were lots of laughs as roommate battles were going on and Coach Remco got in on the action and showed some of his mad skills in goal. Our trainer, Josh Wood, decided to bust out his old high school or club uniform and gloves and was itching to get in between the posts and show us up...this was not the case as I saw Josh make maybe one or two saves. But he is very, very good at PK's...even though Parker won us a nice cake in Birmingham when Josh failed to score on Mr. Duncan in goal.

With the fun aside, we reviewed film for UK, and felt confident heading into the game with them. The first half was not the best performance from either team, but we still had confidence that we would get our win. We took the lead off Hugo Mondragon's first goal of the season as he headed Brian's cross in. We got unlucky and didn't keep our performance as high as we wanted to and UK scored two goals to take the lead. We had chances to pull ourselves even, but didn't convert and UK took the three points. Thomas was able to play in the game which is a positive for us.

With the loss, we know we have to improve as we travel quickly to UAB this Wednesday. They are coming off a 7-1 rout of Florida-International and have a top 30 ranking, so that will add to the intense rivalry game. If you'd like to make that three-hour drive, please do! We always need support. Again, thanks to all the parents and supporters that keep up with us and attend games.

Until the next edition, this is CP23 throwing up the deuce. Remember, Speak Easy. Grazi.

Week 4

Porter's Pitch - Week 4

What's up to all the tiger soccer fans out there! It's good to see you have returned for the fourth installment of the Memphis Tiger men's soccer blog. After a successful home win against UCF on Saturday, the team was in high spirits and full of confidence heading into the game with SMU. With the game being broadcasted on CBS College Sports, we knew that a good performance was needed in order to get a great start off to our conference campaign.

Training this week started off a little lighter because there were some injuries and sickness about the team. We had workouts with our weight coach, Josh Medler, and treatment continued with our trainer, Josh Wood. With our legs under us, practice continued with good sessions leading up to the game on Sunday. We knew that Rory would be missed, and practice gave us some time to try and adjust with a couple new spots. Andreas would play center-back with Rick and Ryan Ruble would go to right-back with Jordan Johnson sliding to left-back.

Yet, right before our trip, Ruble picked up a bad sickness and had to stay behind. This let us put Hugo Mondragon at left-back and Jordan at right. Even with the shifts at defense, confidence was about us. After a day of traveling to Dallas, and a fantastic team dinner on Friday night, we felt prepared for SMU.

When we hit the pitch, we started well and felt as though we controlled the majority of the first half, even though we didn't test their keeper as much as we would have liked. The second half didn't go as well as we had planned, and we didn't start as quick as the first half. We were unlucky on a couple chances with some offside calls and over hit passes. SMU scored their first goal off a long shot by their defender in the 58th minute. We still felt we could even the match and maybe pull three points away from home, but we never got the ball rolling like it did in the first half for us. SMU scored a second goal off a deflection and 2-0 would end up being the final score. (Special thanks to the parents and fans that came to the SMU game. They have made numerous away trips and I believe they are deserving of a standing `O' for their support!)

With another week of preparation for the game on Saturday against Kentucky, we're looking to improve both offensively and defensively by scoring and getting the shutout. Rory will be returning and hopefully Ruble as well, which will definitely help in both those areas. Thomas Shannon has been hurt since the Vermont game with knee and ankle injuries. He's been running in the pool at South Campus like Usain Bolt so he'll be another player that'll help us when he returns.

Be sure to come out and support us on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex as we take on the Kentucky Wildcats in a big conference game!

Until next week, this is CP23 clocking out. Speak EZ, always.

Porter's Pitch - Memphis Soccer Blog 2009

Week 3

Just to make sure all you tiger futbol fans didn't click on the wrong link, this is the third edition of Porter's Pitch, the U of M's 2009 men's soccer blog.

If you're still reading, which I know you are, this blog is here to inform everyone of the progress of our season. So far, we've had a lot of success and the team is continuing to gel nicely. Coming off of hosting our own Memphis tournament and finishing 1-0-1 with a win over UCA and drawing with Vermont, we had about a week's preparation to look forward to facing UCF in our conference opener.

With the game being at home, we wanted to start the conference off on a good note with a victory over a team that defeated us in two, hard-fought games last year. We knew they also had a game on Wednesday, so it would be important for us to move the ball quickly and make them work during the game.

With more rain this week, some practice sessions had extra variable for us to look out for. Wet ground and water puddles didn't cause too much problems as we still had very successful training sessions leading up to the game. Feeling comfortable on Friday about the next day's match, the team ate dinner at Garibaldi's Pizza. This was important for us to get good food in our system for the big game on Saturday. (Much thanks to Kelly, our manager, the coaches, and Garibaldi's for setting up the dinner).

On Saturday, we reviewed some film of our play against Vermont, as we knew set-pieces would be a big factor against UCF. With the lights on, the team had one of, if not the best start to a game this season. We passed the ball with pace, kept attacking the goal, and looked like the team that wanted to win. With our tremendous play, we began the scoring off of a throw-in in the 30th minute. Brian Farrell got his first goal of the season when he took a great shot past the keeper outside the six-yard-box.

Our play took a slight dip afterwards and we allowed a goal 6 minutes later as UCF evened it up at 1-1. Starting the second half pumped up, we kept our high level of play up as we took the lead off Parker's goal in the 60th minute. But, six minutes later the score was tied again when UCF scored. Never the less, we knew it would be a tough game and we were prepared to take the "W".

Soon enough, Rick Alleman took a shot that hit the back of the net! ...With a little help from Parker's heel. We celebrated with Rick, thinking he'd finally scored his first college goal. But Rick knew there was a slight deflection so he gave Parker his goal. Kudos to him, because everyone know he'll pull a bicycle kick out of nowhere for his first goal, it couldn't happen any other way.

We won the game 3-2 on an exciting night, and now have another week of preparation for our next conference game away at SMU on CBS College Sports. We'll be missing one of our defensive rocks though, as Rory received a red card for an altercation at the end of the UCF game. We'll look to use our depth to cope with his absence, because he is a big reason why our defending is so good. Next Sunday is for you #5, Mr. O'Connor himself.

Until next week, this is CP23 signing out. -And please remember to speak easy.

Porter's Pitch - Memphis Soccer Blog 2009

Week 2

Hello all you soccer fans out there! This is the second week of the critically acclaimed Porter's Pitch, where I, Chris Porter, give you some insight into how the season is progressing for our men's soccer team here at the University of Memphis.

After coming off a 1-1 weekend in Birmingham, we looked toward hosting our own Memphis Classic with UAB, Vermont, and Central Arkansas making their way to our house. Defeating #23 Drake was a big accomplishment for us, and we wanted to build upon that so we hit our stride before beginning conference play.

Practice was sometimes difficult this week as rain and bad weather set in. We did the best with the elements and still had productive training and felt confident before our home opener against Vermont on Friday.

When Friday arrived, we had a good feeling going into the game. There was a large crowd at Mike Rose Stadium and both teams gave the fans an entertaining game. We didn't start as quickly as we would have liked to, but we still had good chances, the best one coming from Justin Watson, aka "Weezy." The second half was a much better performance from us, as we controlled the tempo of the game and had the majority of chances. The goal didn't come though, as overtime arrived. Again, we dominated overtime, but weren't able to find the back of the `ol onion bag (the goal). The game ended at 0-0, but we still had a positive outlook on the game because we felt that we went after the game and were the team that wanted to win, while Vermont was not able to really threaten us.

For Sunday's contest against Central Arkansas, we focused on the fact that we did not want to overlook the Bears. We beat them 5-1 last year, so we expected them to come after us. The game was fast-paced as we both were battling for second place in our tournament after UAB defeated Vermont 1-0 earlier to take first place. Both teams had their chances, but Weezy was able to put us on the board after pressuring a defender into making a bad back pass he and slotted a shot past the keeper. We took that lead into the half feeling good about the next 45 minutes. We again controlled the play, with UCA having a couple of sparks here and there. J.J. Greer was able to beat his man down the line and hit a hard cross across the box to Jon Wright where he gave a little flick up and past the goalie to give us a two goal lead. That would be the end of the scoring and we beat UCA 2-0.

After great play from our defense, especially Rory O'Connor who was a force to be reckoned with by winning everything in the air, we were able to get three players on the all-tournament team. Rory, Rick Alleman, and J.J. were the recipients. We now have a few days to prepare for our first conference game at home against U. of Central Florida and we look to start conference play with three points as every game and every point is important.

Until next week, this is CP23 signing out. -And don't forget, speak easy.

Porter's Pitch - Memphis Soccer Blog 2009

Week 1

Hey tiger futbol fans! This is Chris Porter, defender and number 23 on the University of Memphis men's soccer team. I am from Flowood, Mississippi, and I'm a redshirt freshman. I'll be writing this weekly blog to give you a little insight on how everything progresses this year for our team as we look to have a successful season.

The team really came together during preseason. There is a good vibe in the squad as the veteran and young players mesh very well together. We had some competitive games leading up to the start of the season. We tied Lambuth University 2-2, defeated Christian Brothers 3-0 and Saint Louis University 2-0. Saint Louis was nationally ranked at the time, so that was a big confidence booster.

After a very productive preseason, we traveled to Bradley University for the Busey Bank Kickoff Festival. We played Bradley on Friday night on Fox Soccer Channel, which was a fantastic chance to play on national television. We started a little slow and Bradley took the lead on us in the first half, but we battled back, played very well and were able to tie things up when Parker scored with three minutes left in the game. With that under our belt, we beat Eastern Illinois University on Sunday 2-0. Jon Wright scored both our goals, the first of which was off good ball movement, and the second off of Jon's great work ethic.

We returned from Illinois with some confidence from the tournament. Practice was very good and productive. We worked on keeping the ball, from movement through the midfield to throw-ins.

This weekend, we played the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and nationally ranked No. 23 Drake University in the UAB "Soccer for a Cure" Classic in Birmingham, Alabama. There was heavy rain, which added another component to the game. We played a good UMKC team and lost 3-1 with J.J. Greer scoring our only goal. We faced Drake on Sunday and looked to rebound after a disappointing Friday. Drake scored first, but we fought back again and took a 4-1 lead in the second half with goals from Justin Watson, Ryan Ruble, Andreas Guentner, and Parker Duncan. Drake made late rally scoring two goals late, but our defense was steady and we pulled out a good 4-3 win.

The weekend was important for us as we didn't want to lose two games in a row. Practice this week is going to be good this upcoming week as we look to build on our 2-1-1 record so far. We have our home opener this Friday at 5:30 P.M. against the University of Vermont at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex. We play the University of Central Arkansas on Sunday as we hope to have a good turnout as we look to win our own Memphis Classic Tournament.

Until next week, CP23 signing out.

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