Cali Crisler hoping to assist Arizona in big match ups
Arizona midfielder Cali Crisler (3) defends against a Florida Gulf Coast player in their 0-1 loss on Sept. 8.
Cali Crisler has made herself invaluable for the Arizona Wildcats thus far. She has assisted five of Arizona’s seven goals to date, including two against Oregon in the ‘Cats Pac-12 opening victory.
The majority of UA’s scoring has come off corners, with Crisler to thank having assisted three of Arizona’s four goals coming off corners. Crisler was unable to get an assist on the fourth due to the goal being scored with a deflection after a save.
The ability to score from the corner flag is important for every team, but especially for the Wildcats due to the number of turnovers that their defense forces. The Wildcats have been consistent with keeping the ball in their offensive half by disrupting passes in the midfield this season allowing Arizona to start attacks with numbers already in front of the ball.
These numbers allow for balls to be played into the wings in an attempt to cross the ball into the box. Arizona averages just fewer than seven corners a game, which mostly come from this type of play.
Then enter Crisler who has the ability to drop a ball exactly where she wants it like that of a high caliber quarterback. Arizona often runs a play where defender Samantha Falascao sits on the back post of the net while forward Charlotte Brascia parks herself in front of the keeper.
Brascia uses her big, 5-foot-11-inch frame to force the keeper to stay planted, allowing Falascao to have a one-on-one battle with her defender to win the ball.
Arizona has a daunting four-game stretch ahead of them against top 25 teams, including the top two teams in the country. None of the UA's next four opponents have conceded off a corner expect for Cal that has given up more than 30 corner kicks on the year, at 31. Arizona conversely has earned 61.
With star player Gabi Stoian out for the past two games, Arizona has relied on Crisler to manufacture goals. But Crisler will need the help of her teammates as most of Crisler’s assists have originated in the center midfield, with the center midfielders or outside backs creating turnovers. After the turnover, Arizona will need work to get the ball to a wing in the corner in order for Crisler to have her best chances at creating goals.
Arizona will either need big games from the center midfield to earn those corners, or strong play from their forwards to add another threat in the attack if Arizona wants to compete against some of the best teams in the country.
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