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Men’s midfield sets possession-first game

When Diego Figueroa, Pedro Miranda and Nico Olsak run the midfield for the Belmont men’s soccer team, the chemistry among the players is unmistakable.

Fans pick it up instantly and see how comfortably the three play with each other.

“We’ve been around each for almost three years now,” Olsak said.” We know the way each other plays and each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”

All three are originally from South America – Figueroa hails from Peru, Miranda is from Brazil, and Olsak is from Argentina. Their Latin American cultures, all heavily influenced soccer, also influence their style of play.

“We don’t want to get rid of the ball and then chase and defend because we hate defending,” Figueroa said. “That’s the one thing about Latinos, we just hate defending.”

In this possession-heavy strategy, players are more focused on creating strings of short passes and want to control the ball.

Since head coach Earle Davidson has adopted the possession style of play, the midfield’s chemistry has only gotten stronger.In the 2011 season, the midfields scored eight goals and notched 13 assists. They also had a combined total of 51 shots with 23 on goal, and scored on 14.7 percent of their shots and 46.4 percent of their shots on goal.

“It allows us to control the pace of the game,” Davidson said. “We want to play the game at our pace so that we’re in charge of the decisions and challenge a team to play our way.”

In addition to the style, the midfield’s similar personalities and the ability to be creative on the pitch are other things that further the midfield’s success, Davidson said.

“They all kind of have an outgoing personality and a good humor about it,” he said. “It’s a creative group. When they get those touches and get the rhythm going, they are very hard to play against.”

Part of that rhythm comes from the sense the three have of each other on the field, Figueroa said.

“We play pretty much similar to one another, so you’re like ‘Okay, I know he’s going to be there,’” he said. “Sometimes you can do blind passes and know that Pedro or Nico is going to be right there.”

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