The story of the central defense is as much about the retirement of Josh Rogers as it is about the players who will be taking his place. More than just being a rock solid defender, it was Rogers’ vocal presence that helped organize everyone around him and gave the team its cohesion. Those who come after him may be more physically gifted, but their true test will be how well they can replicate his leadership.
First on that list is Seb Harris, who, after a ho-hum first season with City in 2014, broke out in a big way in 2015, starting it off with the late winner against Cleveland on opening night.
— NPSL Gameday (@NPSLGameday) May 16, 2015
His was a strong presence on the back line all season, both in the center and at times on the right. And, as hinted at above, his size makes him an excellent target and goal-scoring threat on every single set piece.
His likely partner will be Andre Morris, who just finished up his junior year at Michigan. Morris appeared in several games in the early part of last season, and, although he’s not as physically imposing as Harris, he’s a fine defender in his own right and completes what should be a quality starting four at the back.
After that, things get a little dicey. The only other centerback option currently on the roster is SVSU’s Omar Sinclair. He started every game for the Cardinals in 2015, and though he may be more at home on the right side, he does have enough size (6’0”, 170) to play in the center. I think that’s where he’ll end up because it’s where he’s most needed.
The lack of depth here is worrisome. During the player announcements, I expected to hear the names of at least two more centerbacks, but none ever came. Harris and Morris are a good starting pair, but if one of them gets hurt or if Morris leaves midway through the season as is customary for many of the UM players, this could become the team’s Achilles’ Heel. I’d be shocked if Ben Pirmann didn’t grab a couple more guys here to fill the position out, and hopefully we’ll see evidence of that at the Muskegon friendly on Saturday.
One Reason to Be Excited 😀
Harris and Morris are both experienced and have played together before. Once they get to know their starting goalkeeper, there shouldn’t be any serious issues in the heart of the defense.
One Reason to Worry 😕
Depth. See above paragraph.
Player to Watch
Similarly to Harris, Morris’ first year with City was okay but nothing spectacular. If he can come back and show a similar level of improvement as Harris showed last year, then Josh Rogers should be able to enjoy his time on the bench as an assistant coach rather than have to deal with calls for him to return to the field.