“We need to control the rhythm of the game and dictate the pace we play at. We will want to play very fast for 90 minutes — the faster the game the better for us,” Hampton said. “We have to match their toughness. They are a very gritty team.”
The winner of the game will advance to the 2012 NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship presented by Carrabba’s Italian Grill final site in Montgomery, Ala.
“Everyone is ready. The attitude is good. Everyone is excited to play under the lights,” USAO goalkeeper Bryan Byars said. “With this game, we know if we lose, we are done for sure. There’s a lot of weight on this game. Everyone wants to play to their best ability and go to Alabama.”
The two teams have shared three opponents this season in Midland University, Hastings College and Oklahoma Baptist. The Drovers went 2-0-1 against those teams while the Vikings went 1-2.
Grand View also faced now No. 1 Lindsey Wilson last month at a neutral site and fell just 2-1.
Hampton said he doesn’t get into the business of comparing scores because he focuses more on the match up.
The Drovers and Vikings share some common ground when it comes to soccer. Both teams are dominated by players from the United Kingdom, are fit and disciplined and defend well as a team, according to Hampton.
“They are very similar to us,” he said. “We will have to control them on set pieces and own the air.”
The Drovers success this season may have a lot to do with the coaching style this season, which Hampton describes as a “back to the basics” approach.
“It’s what got us here,” he said. “We don’t want the boys to forget what put them in this position, and it is being fundamentally technically sound, defending and attacking as 11, valuing the ball, limiting the turnovers and working for each other.”