Things will be different this week for Indiana men’s soccer. The team will be without its starting right winger, Griffin Dorsey, who was named to the United States Under-20 Men’s National Team roster for the 2018 U-20 Men’s Invitational tournament in Florida.
Dorsey will be able to represent his country while catching some rays in the Florida heat. But the Hoosiers will play their next two games without him. VCU and Notre Dame are on the Hoosiers’ tab for the next week with games this Friday and next Tuesday lined up.
Next Tuesday’s match will be a tough one. The Hoosiers will travel up to South Bend to take on the Fighting Irish, a team in which Indiana beat last year in Bloomington.
The U-20 and U-19 #USMNT will face Venezuela and Jamaica in a round-robin tournament in Bradenton, Florida from Sept. 7-11. Check out the rosters for both 🇺🇸 squads » https://t.co/vXhq2CXHNE pic.twitter.com/q7VAFAmDi2
— U.S. Soccer YNT (@ussoccer_ynt) September 4, 2018
While Dorsey’s call-up to the Youth National Team is good news for the Evergreen, Colorado native, the Hoosiers will be tasked to replace him while he’s gone.
Dorsey has started all four games of the 2018 season so far, and he’s scored against Wake Forest in the season-opener as well as against Dartmouth last Friday.
Dorsey’s start to the season has been a bright spot for the team, and he has only gotten better the longer he’s been in Bloomington. Now that Dorsey will be gone for the next two matches, IU will have to fill the void at the right-wing position.
Luckily, this team has depth, and they have a lot of it.
Last season, senior Cory Thomas played at both winger positions. We also saw senior Trevor Swartz play further up the pitch, too.
Along with those two, sophomore midfielder Spencer Glass could play left wing while Thomas slots over to the right. The good thing about missing Dorsey is there are multiple players ready to step up.
The “next man up” mentality has been preached over and over against throughout both last season and this season. There was no better example after senior midfielder Jeremiah Gutjahr went down with a knee injury that kept him out for the rest of 2017.
Even without one of their starting midfielders, the Hoosiers were able to respond to this adversity and make another College Cup run. That’s why there shouldn’t be much concern for this team over the next week or so. IU has options to plug in and their options are about as good as it gets.
The other possibility of replacing Dorsey is, like I mentioned earlier, moving Thomas over to right wing and letting sophomore attacker Justin Rennicks play on the left side.
Rennicks started on the left in front of Thomas against UConn last week, so seeing him again at that same position this Friday wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. If this does happen, that would mean sophomore AJ Palazzolo would once again start at striker.
Palazzolo could be an underrated pick for who can reap the most benefits while Dorsey is gone. This could give Palazzolo the opportunity to see some more chances at goal than maybe he usually would. IU has played it by committee as far as the striker position goes, and it hasn’t found consistent success or goals so far. This next week could reveal the answer to that question, it just depends who manages to step up.
The good thing for IU is it will still keep everything else intact as no other player was named to the Youth Roster for this week. Sophomore goalkeeper Trey Muse and Rennicks have both been called up in the past.
It can be tough Losing a player at this point in the season. The team is still finding its footing and trying to figure out which options work best for this squad.
But with the way the Hoosiers have handled losing players for periods of time in the past, there shouldn’t be concern for this team moving forward.