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Starting XI could be change of pace for rookie Finley

20 March 12:53 pm

Starting XI could be change of pace for rookie Finley

By Cody Sharrett

When Crew forward Ryan Finley transferred to Notre Dame after his sophmore season at Duke, he probably expected to start a few games for the Irish after netting 28 goals for the Blue Devils in two seasons.

Notre Dame Head Coach Bobby Clark saw things differently.

Using college soccer's unique substition rules to an advantage, Clark inserted Finley into his tactics 20 minutes into each game. Finley went on to score 28 goals, 21 of which came in 2012, despite not starting a single match in two seasons in South Bend.

"[Coming off the bench] was something I got used to," Finley explained. "The starters only played 20 minutes and I'd come on for 70 minutes, so it wasn't like I was playing only 30 minutes or anything. I was seeing an extended amount of time each game."

With Jairo Arrieta away with the Costa Rican National Team, Finley has the chance to start his first match in two years when the Black & Gold plays D.C. United on Saturday. The rookie is ready for whichever direction Head Coach Robert Warzycha decides to take on Saturday.

"I've played soccer for a long time," he said. "Whether I'm starting or coming off the bench, I think I can adapt my game and hopefully help the team out."