For whatever reason, Marcus Hanson is one of those players for whom the stat sheet and the eye test just don't add up.
Marcus' Best Game in 2014
Hanson leads Bulls in 4-0 rout over Bonaventure
It was cold and drizzly, and nearly every fan in attendance was squeezed in the very back row of UB Stadium's 200 sections, where you can get the slightest bit of protection from the rain. The Men's Soccer team, however, made it fun despite the rain, scoring three first-half goals on the way to a 4-0 victory over St. Bonaventure.
Marcus' Best Game in 2014
Look at the stat sheet, and you'll find that the senior has scored only five goals in his three-year career in Amherst, despite missing just one game a season and starting regularly since the beginning of his sophomore year. Watch a game or three, though, and you see why he's started so regularly. At 6'1" and 180 pounds, Hanson is too big for opposing defenses to ignore, and even when he's not getting possession, he's opening space for UB's other scoring threats.
It's not like Marcus can't score, either. Playing this summer with Sigma FC of League1 Ontario in Canada, he's got three goals in less than ten games (I'm not entirely sure when the school year allowed him to join the team), and last summer's stint with FC Buffalo saw him finish the season second on the team with three goals and three assists in twelve appearances.
Second on a team behind Russell Cicerone is unfortunately Hanson's fate, it seems, and Cicerone's flair goes a long way to keeping Marcus off the stat sheet at UB. I'll have a post on Russell in due time, but Marcus' contributions haven't gone unnoticed: at season's end with FC Buffalo the then-UB junior was named "Unsung Hero" of the 2014 summer season, in part thanks to this goal against Detroit City:
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Tactically, Hanson could benefit as much as anyone from Scott Doney and the continued arms race at the top of the UB attack. Just as his own size and physicality has opened up space for Cicerone the last few seasons, Marcus could find himself dealing with just a little less attention than in the past thanks to Doney and the improving Steven Stryker. In ten games this spring, Hanson notched a pair of goals to match his total season output of both 2013 and 2014, while also adding seven assists - more than in his first three seasons combined.
Psychologically, Marcus' presence as an experienced senior on a team that has struggled to keep players on board could be huge as the squad looks to transition from a team with promise to a team that wins. It seems strange that UB graduated only three seniors last season and has only three on the roster again this year, but it only elevates Hanson's role within the group.
In many ways Marcus could be the 2015 Men's Soccer version of Justin Moss: Already a dynamic player who suddenly catches everyone's attention thanks to a slight shift in lineup and strategy. If UB's offense improves like I think it might, the big guy from Mississauga could double his career scoring total with five (or more) goals in his senior year.