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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Michigan Weekend Preview: Oregon

Just one game for the maize-and-blue this weekend, as they take on a struggling Oregon team on Friday at 6:00 PM at Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles, CA (Google map, if you're in the L.A. area and interested in going).


I talked a bit about Oregon's early-season struggles in last week's season preview on Mgoblog, but I'll expand in them here.

The Ducks have started 0-2, but also have a win against a UNLV team that was kicked out of the MCLA after a player refused to serve a suspension for fighting, and his coach allowed him to play in the next game. The Rebels were already a weak team, and losing their league affiliation has done little to strengthen them, I'm sure. Either way, that game counts as nothing more than a scrimmage for the Ducks.

The first loss came against Cal, and though the Bears are a respectable team, losing to them by a 2-10 score is not something a team with Oregon's recent history of success should do. Despite returning plenty of talent, the Ducks seem to be playing poor team offense and shooting the ball terribly. Once the Ducks get their offense running smoothly, they're capable of turning the season around in a hurry.

In the second game, the Ducks fell to Santa Clara University. BHSVideoDad brings the evidence:

The Ducks return last year's 3rd-Team All-American selection, Nick Johnston, at goalie, and another 3rd-Teamer, Steven Brizie, in their defensive unit. They are a pretty strong defensive team, but it's been scoring goals, not preventing them, that they've struggled with this year.

On the offensive end, they don't have a lot of production, so it's tough to say who their big scorers will be this season. Senior middie Kevin Clark was an Honorable Mention All-American last year, and he's scored one of the Ducks' 8 goals. Junior midfielder Spencer Robertson is the only Duck with multiple points, scoring a goal in each of UO's first two games.

At the end of the day, it's production that matters. The Ducks don't have much yet, and they're facing the best team at the club level. This is a matchup that the Wolverines should be able to take - perhaps easily so.


UMGoBlog's Josh Hagerman interviews a couple members of Oregon's coaching staff in his preview.


I think the UNLV scrimmage has helped Oregon snap out of their offensive funk a little bit, but this will be the best team they've faced - on both sides of the ball - so far this year. Michigan plays away from Oosterbaan Fieldhouse for the first time this spring, which might require some adjusting. At the end of the day, the Wolverines will emerge with a 19-7 victory.

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