San Jose Earthquakes vs. Norwich City: 3 Things We Learned
Cordell Cato bagged the only goal of the game as he latched onto a loose Russell Martin back pass to hand the Quakes the victory.
It was a good workout for a Norwich City team just starting to step up their preseason preparations, and although the result wasn't the best, there were still some positives to take from the game.
Here are three things we learned from the Canaries' trip to the Buck Shaw Stadium.
1. There's No Need to Panic
It's a cliché saying, but preseason really is all about building fitness.
The result is almost an irrelevance.
Norwich City were up against a very decent outfit in the shape of the San Jose Earthquakes, from a league that is getting stronger and stronger year after year, and, most importantly, a team that were two months into their MLS season.
The difference in fitness levels between the Quakes and the Canaries, who are only two weeks into their preseason schedule, was always going to be vast and, as such, it was a great opportunity to get minutes under the belt against quality opposition.
It would be foolish to read too much into the 1-0 defeat, and as the lead-up to the new Premier League season draws ever closer, you would expect performances to improve as fitness levels climb.
Preseason football and competitive league football are two completely different animals, and supporters need to understand that.
Fans of the Canaries will remember that Norwich City enjoyed a very productive preseason in the weeks before the start of their League One campaign, beating then Premier League outfit Wigan Athletic in the process.
However, they then faced Colchester United on the opening day of the season, and we all know what happened next...
2. Leroy Fer Is Going to Be a Great Asset
The signing of Leroy Fer was nothing short of a master-stroke from Chris Hughton, and at a reported £4.3 million transfer fee, the term "daylight robbery" wouldn't look out of place.
Fer has all the capabilities to develop into a top-class Premier League performer, and Norwich City pulled off a coup by securing his signature.
The 23-year-old apparently bases his game on Manchester City's Yaya Touré, and if he goes on to have even half the impact that the big Ivorian has had in England, then the Canaries will have a real player on their hands.
In his first appearance in a Norwich shirt against the Quakes, the Dutch powerhouse confirmed what many of us already suspected by demonstrating just how much of an asset he could potentially be for the coming season and beyond.
He produced a superb cameo appearance, playing the second 45 minutes, and he looked a class above anyone else on the pitch.
Strong and athletic, box-to-box and composed on the ball, Fer showed glimpses of real quality, and Canaries supporters must be counting down the days until he pulls on the yellow shirt for real in a Premier League fixture.
3. New Strikers Are a Must
Scoring goals was a problem for the majority of last season, and Chris Hughton will be hoping to use the preseason period to strengthen his forward line.
The signing of Ricky van Wolfswinkel should go a long way to rectifying the issue, but it is both unfair and dangerous to place all of the goalscoring burden on a young man who has yet to even kick a ball in English football.
The Canaries desperately need both quality and numbers up front, with the departures of Grant Holt, Simeon Jackson, Chris Martin and James Vaughan leaving them with only two strikers at their disposal in van Wolfswinkel and Luciano Becchio.
The thought of an injury to either of the above doesn't even bear thinking about, and that is why new arrivals in the forward areas are now the No. 1 priority.
Hughton has indicated that he is indeed on the lookout for more fire-power, and if his signings so far this summer are anything to go by, you would back him to once again choose wisely.
In yesterday's defeat to San Jose, there was no getting away from the fact that Norwich did look somewhat toothless, but some much-needed fresh blood in the striker department could go a long way to rectifying that.
Good forwards are the most valuable commodity in modern football, and Norwich City must be prepared to spend big if they are serious about enjoying another successful season next time out.
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