DAVID SMITH - Friday, November 20, 2009
Reflecting on his recent game-winning performance against reigning Danish champions Copenhagen, Aalborg striker Marcus Tracy remains steadfast and focused on his continual growth as a player.
With the team mired in a six-game winless run that had seen them plummet from first to seventh place just before the recent international break, few would have liked their chances against the league's perennial powerhouses Copenhagen, who themselves had overcome their slow start to jump from sixth to second place in the same period of time.
In giving the first start of the season to the former Wake Forest star, coach Magnus Pehrsson's faith in his January signing was verified, as Tracy netted the game's lone goal in the 58th minute on a highlight-reel header, ultimately propelling the team to the win.
"It was a very exciting moment for me," Tracy admits. "It had been a long time not having played a significant role with the first team so I wanted to make the most of the opportunity."
"To get the winner against FC Copenhagen and secure the three points was right up there with some of the more important moments in my entire soccer career. Hopefully I can use this and continue to progress from it."
The 2008 Hermann Trophy winner doesn't hesitate to point out several aspects of his overall performance that he still feels showed some room for improvement, something which he expects to come with more time on the field.
"Not having played at that level for so long, my thoughts and touches were just a bit off at times," he evaluates. "If I were to be really critical about my overall performance I'd say that aside from the goal it was by no means one of my better displays."
"But considering the circumstances, and also taking into account that I did in fact score (which is what a striker is put on the field to do) I have to be really happy with the game."
The first half of the season has been a struggle for the Pennsylvania native, as he has spent much of his time lower on Aalborg's depth chart, with most of his gametime action coming through sporadic substitute minutes or with the second team competing in Denmark's third tier.
"I've been a bit unlucky with the injuries and especially the timing of the injuries, but there have also been times when I've been healthy and just haven't been used."
"But that's all a part of it," he continues. "Like I said before, it's important to stay positive and just keep working at your game."
Tracy continually uses this source of motivation, knowing that the best way to establish himself as a regular in Pehrsson's plans is to continue pushing his game and grabbing ahold of every opportunity afforded him.
"I have really high expectations of myself, so it's been a bit hard on me to have played such a small role over the months," he admits. "But in those times you just have to put your head down and continue to work hard and improve because opportunities will come, and when they do you just have to take full advantage of them."
Tracy's next test will come on Monday when Aalborg host seventh-place Aarhus in the Energi Nord Arena, who are currently only one point behind in the standings.