There may be a good amount of overlap between forward and winger since several players are capable of playing both positions. Danny Deakin, Javi Bautista, and Spiro Pliakos could all end up bouncing from spot to spot, as could…
…Ali Al-Gashamy, a former Norway U-17 national teamer who, early in his career, bounced between several lower division clubs in Estonia and Norway (one move involving a €50,000 transfer) before landing at Gardner-Webb University. His stats haven’t been eye-popping, but GWU is one of the poorer teams in their conference, and judging from his highlight video he would’ve had double-digit assists if his teammates were better finishers.
From the above, he looks most comfortable out wide, taking on defenders in 1v1 situations. Q.E.D.:
I’m not sure if City has ever had a true winger with his combination of ball skills, speed, and ability to beat people off the dribble. Oh, and he was also in FIFA:
He should be an impact player whenever he touches the ball.
Joining him at the position are a pair who are well-known commodities. Cyrus Saydee, the silent assassin, is back for his fifth year. I feel like I write the same things about him every year, but that’s probably because he’s so damn steady and consistent: small (5’6”) but the most technically skilled player on the team, makes defenders look silly with his dribbling and ball-control, usually starts on the wing but drifts around the entire attacking midfield area to create chances. Having him combine with Deakin, Al-Gashamy, and Jeff Adkins should be a treat to watch.
After extensive action for City in 2013 and 2014, Adkins is back on a full-time basis after his college coach reportedly strongly insisted that he play for the Bucks last year. There’s little doubt where his heart is, though:
I like him best on the right wing where he can make attacking runs and cut inside to create havoc as demonstrated below:
And I might as well bust out this free kick gif from a couple of years ago because it’s just too pretty not to.
Finally, Tyler Stephens returns for another season. He can also play right back, but I think he’ll see most of his time at right midfield so I’ve listed him here. He didn’t see a ton of the field last year, so his role is probably that of a depth guy, to fill in wherever he’s needed. Started his college career at Oakland U before transferring to SVSU.
The wing was a problem area for City in 2015; Tommy Catalano never looked 100% comfortable out there, and once he left the team, even defensive mids Latif Alashe and Troy Watson got looks on the right side, with middling results.
We all know what we’re going to get with Saydee – excellent play, game in, game out – but the addition of Al-Gashamy and re-addition of Adkins are huge upgrades. Additionally, as mentioned in the intro paragraph, players like Deakin and Bautista could easily slide out wide depending on what type of lineup Ben Pirmann wishes to deploy.
One Reason to Be Excited 😀
There should be much more of an attacking threat from both sides than in 2015. This, coupled with Keyworth’s wider field, should help create a more balanced attack than just punting it up to WMB over and over again (even though that worked quite a bit).
One Reason to Worry 😕
I’m having a hard time coming up with one. Maybe finding enough playing time for everyone?
Player to Watch
Take your pick. Al-Gashamy, Adkins, and Saydee are all now in their early to mid-20s and coming into the primes of their careers. Each of them should be very good, and I expect one of them to have a monster year. I’ll randomly go with Adkins.