The first month of league football was a tough one. The fixture list threw up 3 huge games and the results were hard to take. Opening day against Red Bulls pitched us against the most dominant attacking side throughout the MLS last year & they started in the best possible way when Bradley Wright-Phillips opened the scoring within 33 seconds.
Coming up against an NYCFC side that we could’ve beaten but narrowly lost out but with our strongest Centre Back pairing out injured, it was two SuperDraft picks who filled in. Everything went the way of NYCFC, possession, shots, goals. It just wasn’t our day. Our first ever MLS League goal came against Orlando City through Ramon Nunez, a Waiver Draft pick. We were truly unlucky to lose to Orlando with a Dom Dwyer brace finishing us off.
Designated Player Kyle Bartley limped off early on against Columbus in a 1-1 draw. A fair result overall considering our form has been poor. Manchester City Loanee Joel Latibeaudiere got the only goal of the game for us from the penalty spot.
The last 2 games of the month were against New England & Houston. Two teams that we should’ve beaten but never did, Juan Agudelo scored an absolute beauty in the last few minutes of our game against New England, while Khiry Shelton scored our only goal of the game in a 1-1 draw with Houston. Both games were a tale of two halves, either side dominated one half while we dominated the other. Is this a sign that we are finally starting to find our rhythm?
April only saw 4 games, but some incredibly impressive performances throughout the month ensured we reached the end unbeaten. The opening match of April was a home game against Vancouver, Thomas McNamara scored an inch-perfect free-kick to secure the 3 points.
The game against Minnesota was a weird one, it was all Minnesota. We deserved absolutely nothing at all but somehow managed to score 3. Kyle Bartley scored his first goal for the club, then proceeded to get sent off. A trip to Colorado followed with Issa Alvarez scoring the only goal, Issa has been in wonderful form since signing in the Superdraft in January.
Lastly, A win against Sporting Kansas City who sit on top of the Western Conference. Jonny Russel was looking to carry on his superb form but sadly limped off in the first 12 minutes of the game. Hawaii soon stepped it up with goals from Maroni, McNamara & Blondell.
2 wins and 2 losses in the month of May. A fantastic 3-1 win over RSL with a standout performance from Khiry Shelton, but Hawaii sensation Issa Alvarez scored a fantastic brace to seal a well deserved 3-1 win. Another Alvarez goal secured a 1-0 win over San Jose, this game was very much a tale of two halves. San Jose came out all guns blazing in the second, hitting the post twice and having a shot cleared off the line. Losses to LA Galaxy and Dallas sealed a mixed bag of results for May!
June was a very tough month. A heavy loss by a very good Toronto side but progressing through to the 5th round of the US Open Cup was a slight positive on a somewhat dissapointing period. The opening game of June was a very dull draw against a very below par Seattle, followed by a shocking defeat to a very strong and very good Toronto FC side. Toronto were very dominant from the off, lots of aggression coming through the TFC side but they fully deserved the win. The win against Montreal was a positive, Khiry Shelton bagged an amazing brace. We moved on to the US Open Cup with a very heavily rotated side dispatching Ventura County with ease. Let’s not talk about the Philly game, that was a disgrace.
“Everyone was optimistic of a successful franchise coming over to Hawaii, but the support has blown us all away. On the island before, all we could see were Chelsea or Manchester jerseys but now, it’s all FC Hawaii. We are proud of our team here, we are building something special.
The squad so far have been good to watch, in a majority of games, we’ve played some good football but in other games, we’ve been too defensive. Our coach has done well to bring in the players that we have. Kyle Bartley, Maxime Chanot and Issa Alvarez are real fan favourites. Khiry Shelton is getting to that point too, we see more and more Shelton jerseys around.
I get asked my favourite game so far and it has to be the 4-1 win over Houston. We were expected to lose heavily but we played much better, had a huge share of possession and stole the game. We actually played the best we have all season in that match. Our worst game was the defeat to Toronto, they were arguably the better side & the scoreline certainly doesn’t reflect the game but man, Seba Giovinco killed it on the field”.
“At the halfway point in the season, we sit in Second place. An achievement that no-one thought we would be anywhere close to having. From the moment I took this job, I had a goal of building a team that could push on for a Championship in its first season and we’ve got the right squad for that.
Luckily for us, the right players were available in the Expansion Draft and this allowed us to lay the foundations and put a marker down on what kind of squad we were looking to build. Our Designated Players took a huge chunk of our budget but they have captured the hearts of the fans, Kyle Bartley especially.
In the next transfer window, we have 3 exceptional youth talents joining the first team squad from Europe. Players that could’ve taken bigger opportunities around Europe, but they chose us because we have a project here”.
The chosen formation for most of this season is a variation on the 5-3-2. The key to this formation is the Wing Backs that will push up incredibly high, almost working as actual Wingers. We’ve tweaked the tactic to work to our players strength, several teams go to route one, long balls over the top but we play shorter passing & look to play the ball into open spaces. A big part of this tactic is playing from the back, it’s something we look to do in every situation and it’s got us lots of success. We play wide, exploit both flanks and look to whip our crosses in, the tempo is high, the creative players are much more expressive and we use a tight marking system instead of a zonal system. Lastly, we push higher and allow our strikers to prevent short Goalkeeper distribution. The average possession for this tactic is 57.8%.
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