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San Francisco Shock Youth Players Ready For Challenge

San Francisco Shock Youth Players
San Francisco Shock. Image Courtesy of overwatchleague.com

For the fans of San Francisco Shock, it can be hard to look beyond their run of results so far. Four losses in their last six games and an overall record of 5-11 makes for grim reading for any franchise at the top level of any sport. Yet the Shock are on the brink of turning the corner as over the course of the next few weeks, two more players will become eligible for the main roster.

Jay “Sinatraa” Won and Matthew “Super” DeLisi will break into the Overwatch League and San Francisco Shock are the perfect team for their debut. Had the Shock been fighting at the business end of the league, the pressure placed on the two youngsters to step in and perform at the top level immediately would’ve been enormous and possibly even overwhelming. Instead they’ll have time to adjust and integrate into the team without the concern of battling near the top of the table. The extra few weeks with the training wheels on will be a boon for not just the youth players but the franchise also.

There’s also the matter of the main roster; Overwatch League teams get 12 roster slots. Most teams in the League have either that exact number, or very close to it with few dipping below 10. This is not the case for San Francisco whom have only used nine of those slots, two of which are filled by players who still can’t play. It leaves a team of only seven active players, and one of those seven have not played a single league minute yet (the player in question, André “iddqd” Dahlström, was unwell throughout Stage One and has yet to feature in Stage Two).

Lack of Substitutes An Issue For The Shock

Courtesy of: Overwatchleague.com

That’s a major problem San Francisco have. All it takes is for two players to be shelved through injuries, illness or a freak event and the Shock can’t field a team. If we put that issue aside though there’s a deeper issue that comes to the forefront. While it’s one thing to want to build a team around a core of players, the problems creep in when a spot in the starting line-up is a right instead of a privilege. There’s nobody on the San Francisco bench and that leads to complacency among the players. The threat of being dropped for under-performing is non-existent and right now, those occupying the seats behind the monitors are looking too comfortable. Once Sinatraa and Super become eligible, the threat of riding the bench becomes a much more real prospect in the event of poor play.

When Super and Sinatraa become eligible the worst-case scenario is that the players in the team start to play a little bit tighter out of fear of being benched. Coordination has been sketchy at times and this has resulted in messy dives. Some dives where the team doesn’t fully commit. Others where the team is too needlessly aggressive (leading to easy sniper picks). Further dives from poor angles. All such dives have catastrophic side effects; at this level it only takes seconds to turn a fight into a retreat. Retreating from battle burns up the clock, resulting in further desperation dives to claw that time back.

And The Consequences?

Courtesy of: Overwatchleague.com

It all culminates in a downward spiral that leads to mistakes, and some of the mistakes are truly spectacular blunders. Captain Daniel Martinez Paz, “dhaK”, straying into the crossfire against Los Angeles Valiant on Watchpoint Gibraltar as Mercy a few weeks ago is a particularly egregious example. DhaK can inspire this side to victory but the team must start to help themselves by cutting out errors that the opposition can exploit.

 

And the best-case scenario for the team when Sinatraa and Super debut? They begin to string together victories and go on the ascendancy. For San Francisco, positive match results have been few. Reasons for the fans to cheer have been meagre. Yet cast a glance forward and you’ll see that the corner the team needs to turn is close. Stage Three is a few weeks away and while Shock fans will have to endure the remainder of Stage Two, signing an established player the week before Stage Three begins will be a massive shot in the arm. The Shock failing to pick up any players between Stage One and Stage Two will have left many people scratching their heads and this is something they’ll get the chance to rectify, albeit a few weeks late.

Only one more established player is all they need. From there they can continue to bring in new blood. Delayed gratification will have to be the name of the game presently. As for the future prudent youth management will place the San Francisco Shock in great stead.

 

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