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UMass men’s soccer team hoping to use Amick on offense

During his freshman year, Stuart Amick (five goals in 2007) was the No. 2 scorer on a Massachusetts men’s soccer team that made it to the College Cup. This season, he should have an opportunity to go back to his aggressive style of play if UMass coach Sam Koch had his way.

Koch moved Amick from a very deep midfield to the defense, which has suffered losses to three of its four starters. While he has played a significant role in helping his team maintain its reputation as the Atlantic 10’s best defense (which has allowed four goals this season).

But Lehigh transfer Mark Dangleis is playing well enough that Koch might move Amick back into the midfield, which would give UMass another scorer offensively to complement junior Ben Arikian.

“Mark is finally figuring out what we need him to do, which will allow us to get Stu back into the midfielder,” Koch said. “He’s probably one of our most dangerous attacking midfielders and I think to get him back into the midfield will really help our attack.”

Last season, Amick didn’t have many opportunities at the goal because the Minutemen already had several players who could score, but this year they are without their graduated leading scorers Prince Ofosu and Mike DeSantis.

Brandso’s showing potential.

Freshman Morgan Brandso never saw his first minutes as a Minuteman until Sept. 13 against Vermont. However, his recent play in the exhibition game against the Winstars might give Koch no other choice but to find room for him.

Brandso originally came to UMass as a midfielder, but with that being its deepest position, he instead moved to defense during the exhibition start. Koch was impressed by his freshman’s comfort on both ends of the field in Sunday’s game.

Aside from helping the rest of the defense keep the Winstars scoreless, Brandso had two shots of his own in the Minutemen’s 3-0 win.

Koch believes that Brandso has shown his potential for awhile, but his performance during the exhibition highlights what he can do with steady improvement the rest of the season. If he can raise his level of play even more, there is a chance that Koch might slide him in the left back spot to compete with Dangleis.

Vaccaro expected to play Saturday

Koch raised concerns earlier this week over junior Chris Vaccaro’s undisclosed injury, but his improvement has been as expected and should once again make the start this weekend against Siena.

Vaccaro adds depth to the midfield position with his speed and ability to distribute the ball. Last season, he finished with a goal and two assists as mostly a reserve, but should start at midfield for most of the season.

Koch said that despite missing a game, Vaccaro has played through his injury for the most part, but he should be completely healed by Saturday.

“Vaccaro hasn’t been playing at 100 percent,” Koch said. “But when he doest get to 100 percent, he’s certainly a player who can get into the attack and be dangerous in set pieces.”

Adam Miller can be reached at amiller@dailycollegian.com.

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