SEATTLE – Wednesday, GoHuskies.com continues with the 2014 men’s soccer position previews with a look at the midfielders. The Huskies have a talented group that includes the return of Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Cristian Roldan.
Washington returns the center of their midfield with three talented players in Roldan, James Moberg and Ian Lange. Roldan burst onto the college scene last season, scoring seven goals and tallying five assists. In addition to being named the Pac-12’s top freshman, he earned the Soccer America National Freshman of the Year award. He’ll play in an attacking role in the middle, but will be joined by Moberg, whose creative play will be a key to the offense. Moberg notched nine assists last season as one of the best distributors in the country. Also in the middle of the park is Lange, who missed time last year with an injury, but was still a key for the Dawgs. He scored the game winner in the Sweet 16 against Stanford to send the Dawgs to their first-ever Elite 8. The main reserve central midfielders figure to be Beau Blanchard and James Nosack. Blanchard is a quick and good in tight spaces, where Nosack is a more physically punishing holding midfielder. Scott Menzies is another option at center mid, although he has missed some time in her first preseason. Out wide, Josh Heard appears to have taken the right winger position where he has experience. Heard scored five goals and contributed five assists last season, leading the Dawgs by putting 77 percent of his shots on target. On the left, newcomer Henry Wingo and Jim Oganga will battle for playing time, while being pushed by Johnny Knutsen. Wingo is the next top Sounders Academy player to come to UW and could see the field right away, while Oganga saw time last season after transferring from Highline Community College. Knutsen redshirted last year, but give the Dawgs a nice 1v1 option out wide. Finally, Elliot Havens in another local freshman that can play out wide.
Coach Clark on the midfield: “Moberg and Lange right now have been a good central pairing with Roldan in front of them. That three are very good and are very interchangeable and can play wide. I think those are guys are certainties, when healthy, to be playing. Then out wide in those areas we have a lot of depth. I think initially, Josh Heard played about half a game every game last year and he is ready to take the step and become the fulltime starter on the right. Wide on the left, it is between lots of guys. Henry Wingo is coming in as a young guy and done very well. I think Jimmy Oganga is a little bit older guy and has played some minutes there for us last season as a transfer, so he has a little more experience under his belt. A lot of guys who redshirted for us have a chance of doing some good work. Johnny Knutsen is a quick, little, busy wide player who can take guys on. Elliot Havens, the true freshman, will probably provide depth more than anything there. Providing depth in the middle of the park we have Beau Blanchard and James Nosack who are central players, who over the course of last year have settled into their spots. When needed, both will play vital roles throughout the course of the year. Beau, being a busier, moving midfielder, and Nosack being more physical, a bigger and stronger guy who can sit in front of the back four. Providing depth in the middle will be Scott Menzies.”