The New Orleans Jesters won two pivotal games last weekend at Pan American Stadium, elevating their status in the Southeast Conference of the National Premier Soccer League.
Can they repeat their efforts on the road?
The Jesters will find out, starting with Friday night’s game against Rocket City United in Huntsville, Alabama. The following night, the Jesters play at Nashville FC.
The Jesters enter the weekend with a 3-1-1 record, tied for second in the conference. Nashville has a 3-1-2 record; Rocket City United is 2-1-1.
The key to two road wins will be defense, coach Kenny Farrell said. If a squad scores against his defense, Farrell wants them work for it.
“We had a really good weekend last week, and what we’re really hoping to repeat that,” Jesters defender Oliver Hewitt-Fisher said.
Last week, the Jesters allowed one goal in back-to-back wins.
Overall, Jesters defenders Andri Jonsson (right back), Daniel Gudmundsson (center back), Hewitt-Fisher, a natural midfielder who is playing in the back, and Johannes Forstpointer have accomplished this tactic. Only Chattanooga FC (scored two soft goals during a 3-2 win on May 24) has broken through the Jesters defense with little trouble, a product of hesitancy and miscommunication between new players.
“We put a lot of responsibility of them to be aware of danger, and aware of breakdowns and not give up tough goals,” Farrell said. “Early in the season, we gave up a couple of soft goals. I think they’ve really come a long way.
“And now, it will be extremely comfortable for us to do the same thing on the road.”
The Jesters plan to start their matches conservatively while searching for opportunities to penetrate, as opposed to their more energetic tempo, dominating possessions at home matches.
Reece Wilson has led the Jesters this season, moving from the midfield because of a roster shortage then back to forward in time to score a hat trick during last week’s 5-1 win against Nashville FC. The Jesters also beat the Georgia Revolution 2-0. Wilson’s performance earned him National Player of the Week honors.
This season, Wilson has scored five goals.
The Jesters have outscored opponents 12-7.
“Nashville will be a tough place to go because they usually have a good crowd there,” Hewitt-Fisher said.
“It’s a tough place, but we’re going to try to get another victory again.”