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A Few Minutes With Greg Andrulis

You remember Greg Andrulis, right? A quick refresher: Columbus assistant coach for five years, promoted to head coach in 2001, guided the Crew to the 2002 U.S. Open Cup title and the 2004 Supporters' Shield (for which he was named MLS coach of the year), dismissed amid a poor start in 2005. These days, he is coaching George Mason University and has led the Patriots to two NCAA tournament berths the past three seasons.

During a timeout in Monday's GMU-Brown basketball game at Patriot Center in Fairfax, Andrulis and the team were honored at mid-court by the athletic department and given a standing ovation by the crowd of 5,469. At halftime, he spent a few minutes with the Insider.

After losing at home in the first round to Bucknell two years ago, do you think that experience will carry over to this Friday's match against Ivy League champion Penn?

"I hope they remember the experience and that they are a little freer in their play and little more relaxed. The sophomores on that team are seniors now and they probably remember we had four great chances in the first 11 minutes, and it came back to haunt us. Against a team like Penn, which doesn't allow a lot of goals [11 in 17 games], you've got to take advantage of your chances."

What has been the key to the current seven-game winning streak, and particularly, the 10 goals in the first two CAA tournament matches?

"What has happened, honestly, is the ball has finally been going in the net. We have been a transition team, we led the league in shooting and taking chances since day one, and finally we started connecting. All of a sudden, we are scoring some phenomenal goals, some unbelievable goals."

How would you describe your team's style of play?

"We get the ball forward as quickly as we can. We play a 4-3-3 primarily, we have a lot of pace on both flanks, we have a lot of blazers, and we try to take advantage of that. We are not a team that goes side to side -- we like to go forward -- but no one is big on our side so it's not an English style. We're playing into space and running off balls. It has worked for this group."

Jump below for a look ahead to a possible meeting with Maryland and his reflections on the Crew's success this year.....

If you win Friday, you will play at second-seeded Maryland next week.

"We have a lot of guys from the state of Maryland and when they saw the bracket, they all got excited. I just hope our guys are not looking past Penn because they have a great team."

What do you think of the Crew this season?

"Isn't it awesome? It's fantastic. I couldn't be happier for them. They've put together a great team, exciting to watch. I am so happy for Chad Marshall, the way he has come back the way he has. It's great for the city and the ownership. The Hunt family has put so much into it. The Crew fans who have been bleeding black and gold for all the years, it has finally happened. To have a home game and to raise a trophy, I had chills up and down my spine watching the game on TV."

You still have that emotional attachment?

"I was there for 10 years of my life. There aren't many players from my era still there, but it's about a connection to a community. I don't think you ever lose that connection. It's a great sports city and they really deserve it. I am proud of what they've accomplished."

So ideally, you win Friday and the Crew wins Sunday at MLS Cup?

"They got the Eastern Conference championship, which isn't the trophy they really want, and we got the CAA trophy, which isn't the one we really want, so we are both heading in the right direction. Of course, they only have to win one more game to get there and we have quite a mountain to climb."

By Steve Goff  |  November 18, 2008; 10:33 AM ET
Categories:  College Soccer , MLS  
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Comments

Love his comments about the Crew and the city, especially after being fired. That's a class act.

Not so excited, though, about his description of his team's style of play. Sounds a bit Route 1-ish to me. Has anyone seen them play?

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 18, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Hi Steve,

Is Friday's match against U.Penn. home or away for GMU?

Thanks!

Posted by: billindmd | November 18, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Don't try to stir things up with the Penn Quakers by thinking you are getting past us. It shows, in an instant, you have no moral fiber. We will have you for breakfast.

Posted by: IamAM | November 18, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

gmu is home at 7 p.m.

the full ncaa tournament details were in an earlier thread.

Posted by: Steve Goff | November 18, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Joe Doc:

Welcome to the world of NCAA soccer. That's more or less how 95% of the teams play (the more or less being whether they have big guys or fast guys up front). Andrulis is at least being smart about it and playing 433, unlike many NCAA teams that play 442 and then skip their entire midfield. If you're just going to kick and run, you might as well play more forwards.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | November 18, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Now you've done it, Goff. Putting idea in our heads. If DCU doesn't rebound strongly next year, how long will it be before someone here suggests Andrulis as Soehn's replacement?

Posted by: fischy | November 18, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Ha! Glad to see you got some sports writing done "for a few minutes . . . at halftime" of the basketball blow-out zzzzzzzzzzzzz last night. So you have now previewed both Terps and GMU soccer while knocking down the hoops too, well played sir.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 18, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Now you've done it, Goff. Putting idea in our heads. If DCU doesn't rebound strongly next year, how long will it be before someone here suggests Andrulis as Soehn's replacement?

Posted by: fischy | November 18, 2008 11:16 AM

I have the post all cued up and ready to go...

Posted by: cmjhawk86 | November 18, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Chest:

I hear you. That's why the only college team I watch is Messiah College. It's D3, so they don't have the athleticism of D1 teams, but the quality and style of play is very enjoyable.

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 18, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Ummm -- don't take this personally --- but based on your post history, I think your decision to watch Messiah College teams has little to do with the attractiveness of their play -- but, it also explains much about your politics -- even though that knee-jerk association between evangelicals and the GOP continues to baffle me. I'm sure you've heard this before, but GOP policies are rather un-Christian.

Posted by: fischy | November 18, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Actually, fischy, I watch Messiah College because of the strong Dutch influence in their style of play -- the emphasis on quick ball movement, combination play, playing to feet, attacking down the flanks and encouraging 1 v 1s against isolated wide defenders, and the overall emphasis on ball possession. It's a demanding style of play that requires technical proficiency, speed of play and vision.

Other than that...

As for my politics, well, that's to provide the forum a little political diversity. That's a good thing, right? I don't take anything on here personally - right or left, we love soccer, and that's why we're here. I tell my kids that the soccer ball hanging from my rear view mirror is the "international sign of friendship." Indeed it is.

So when I call Obama "The One" don't take it to heart. I'm just having a little fun. He's about to be my president, and he'll have my full support (until 2012, of course...)

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 18, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Don't try to stir things up with the Penn Quakers by thinking you are getting past us. It shows, in an instant, you have no moral fiber. We will have you for breakfast.

Posted by: IamAM | November 18, 2008 10:52 AM

****************************************

Fighting Quaker words!

Quaker Oats provide the moral fiber in every good breakfast.

Penn is lose enough drive that some supporters should be able to drive down. Should be fun. And it's smart for Mason to honor their soccer team at halftime of the bball game to increase interest and publicize the game to students and GMU backers.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | November 18, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

whoops.

Should say "Penn is CLOSE enough" not "LOSE enough".

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | November 18, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Along with Messiah, there are a couple good D3 programs to watch as well that play attractive, Dutch-styled football. York College of PA (who won @ Messiah this year) is a good example.

Posted by: voetbol07 | November 18, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Fischy:

1. Politics and religion better left off this blog. Politics plus religion is even further off course.

2. Please bone up on Messiah before you make assumptions. Google "dunkers" and/or Brethren for a start. I don't think they are who you think they are. See, for example, the Dunker Church at Antietam, either in person or on line.

Posted by: OWNTF | November 18, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

York has an excellent program.

I remember when UNC-Greensboro was D3, back in the Eddie Radwanski (sp?) days. They were impressive, and should have been D1 even then.

Back to Andrulis -- his recent success and his MLS credentials ought to attract quality players to the GMU campus. Perhaps Sasha won't get all of the area's top local players then...

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 18, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

That's why the only college team I watch is Messiah College. It's D3, so they don't have the athleticism of D1 teams, but the quality and style of play is very enjoyable.
====================

Mens womens or both?

Posted by: OWNTF | November 18, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Messiah College is near Dutch Wonderland :)

Posted by: Reignking | November 18, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Brilliant. "Pennsylvania Dutch football."

Posted by: OWNTF | November 18, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Yes, both OWNTF. Indeed, I took my daughter up to see the women's team play on Sunday. They beat up on Washington-Jefferson college.

They had a four-player combination -- all one touch -- that would have done an EPL team proud. Resulted in a great goal. Their center forward is a Wambach-type player and is technically strong. 30 goals on the year, and counting. Wouldn't be surprised if she made the Freedom, if she so desired.

Posted by: joedoc1 | November 18, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Along with Messiah, there are a couple good D3 programs to watch as well that play attractive, Dutch-styled football. York College of PA (who won @ Messiah this year) is a good example.

Posted by: voetbol07 | November 18, 2008 1:44 PM

----------------------------------------

York has a really nice team that is fun to watch.

Posted by: beach3 | November 18, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

God help us (or G*d if you prefer). Or more than one, or even three-in-one/one-in-three. Who knows what's right? That is if you believe at all, because we're really not that sure - you know, with only 4 books out of who-knows-how-many. That is, if you read those sequels at all. And then there's the even later sequel where the son isn't really the son. So, in summary, Go/*d(s) help some of us.

Personally, I'm going with whichever dogma keeps the schools open more.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | November 18, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I would characterize GMU as playing a 4-5-1 (rather than 4-3-3) with the wide guys who both are very fast getting forward. The Calvert Hall right mid Pardew (#14) torched the Northeastern left back to get to the end line and set up the game winner for the CAA bid. Their left midfielder Levry (#3) is from Oxon Hill. He may have more talent than Pardew, but as a freshman he's more erratic.

Both of these guys try to get the ball to the forward #4 - Parmboe. He's scored 8 goals in 7 games. He's got some speed as well.

It's too bad that AM Gracia is suspended for a red card. He's pretty good. I suspect that Andrulis will put Levry in the middle to the detriment of GM because Levry doesn't play defense when he's in the middle.

The DM is anchored by Martinez and Marquez who one UNCW soccer official characterized as brutally physical from box to box.

The defense is anchored by Edgar (#13) he wins more than his share of head balls for his size. Fike isn't bad out on the left.

GK Sean Kelley had a lackluster season last year after making waves as a freshman. He's been consistent, but not spectacular.

Penn is not a bunch of slouches either. Their senior GK Drew Healy is a solid shot stopper but his incessant yelling of left shoulder right shoulder is migraine inducing. He wears goggles after suffering an eye injury last year.

Freshmen defender Jake Levin is from nearby Columbia so I expect that his parents will invest in the 3 hour commute to the other side of the beltway. Levin is pretty good on the ball.

Omid Shokoufandeh and Andrew Ferry are going to generate the attack. GM may have their hands full with stopping them.

Brian Mascarenhas formerly of Gtown plays average DM.

It's going to be a good game, the question will be can Penn handle the speed on the wings. I think Penn can handle the physical GM DM. I suspect that the Penn forwards will be able to get behind GM and if Kelley doesn't save his team, Penn will win.

For GM to win, they may need to get Healy's feet moving by quick ball movement around the box.

Penn 1-0

Posted by: fonkyou | November 18, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

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