Losing is painful! University of New Mexico Men's Soccer has tasted defeat for the first time this season, and we are really struggling with our mortality. Naivety, confidence, arrogance... We were under the illusion that we wouldn't drop a game. It’s time to move on and prepare for the next one. The mark of a great team and great players is learning from defeat and being good losers. You don't make it a habit and never enjoy defeat, but be gracious in defeat. Let me recap last weekend…put it behind us… and get ready for Friday night’s home match versus Drake and the season ahead!
LOBOS VS SANTA CLARA FRIDAY NIGHT SEPTEMBER 13TH 7:00 PM
One game at a time has been our mantra and Santa Clara was going to be a tough opponent. After a tough start to the season, playing on the road at New Mexico was the Broncos’ opportunity to get the season back on track. After a week of torrential downpours, the field was soft and traction was difficult. I was really proud of our team. Santa Clara made the game a war: direct play and a battle for first and second balls. Our boys really handled themselves and came away with a deserving 1-0 victory. James Rogers off a Michael Calderon assist in the 64th minute. Goalkeeper Michael Lisch was challenged to make only one save and we outshot the Broncos 15-6 with 4-2 advantage in corner kicks. The majority of the match was played in our opponents half. Not an easy game but few are. Great to see the team get the victory in a tough match, not at our best.
LOBOS VS CALIFORNIA STATE NORTHRIDGE SUNDAY NIGHT SEPTEMBER 15TH 6:00 PM
Northridge is a soccer playing team; over playing at times. This was the game we were eagerly awaiting. It was two undefeated opponents going head to head. I felt we were very well prepared and had our tactics right. Press them high when presented with the opportunity, stay compact and drop if they broke our pressure. Two biggest threats were their left winger and target center forward.
The game opened as planned. We controlled the ball, played in their half and created chances. Everything was going right except finding the back of the net. 27th minute against the run of play, the CSUN forward hit a rocket from the top of the box, we defended properly and the ball bounced wide with a wicked spin. It was a crazy bounce right to the left foot of their winger who finished far post with precision. Down a goal, we kept on attacking with a vengeance. Seven minutes later, again against the run of play, Northridge found their second. This time a combination of poor defending, luck and great finishing. 2-0 Matadors, but we stayed the course and continued to create chances the final eleven minutes of the half. Even though down two goals, we felt fairly good about things at the half. Luck would have to even out.
19 minutes into the second half, we were awarded a penalty kick as a result of some tremendous combination play in the box. Calderon slotted it away….2-1 and we felt good. We continued to have the bulk of possession and began to commit numbers forward in search of the equalizer. We lost a bit of defensive focus and the center forward we warned the back four about, created space for himself in transition and finished with class off a direct ball to make it 3-1. 20 minutes left in the match and we pressed on and attacked with a passion. We found our second in the 88th minute, but couldn't find the equalizer (had a great chance in the final 10 seconds). 3-2 loss and a very tough one to swallow. We outshot CSUN 22-8, had twelve corner kicks to their none, and Lisch was challenged to make 2 saves. What a disappointing result, but I was happy with the vast majority of our play. How will we cope with the loss and will we learn from the experience?
Our challenge is to quickly get over Sunday’s result and prepare for our match this Friday night against Drake. The boys will be ready, and we all are excited to get back out in front of the Lobo Faithful. Thanks for your incredible support and see you Friday night.
This week’s episode of "Fish off the Pitch" will be posted later today with Riley McGovern this week’s guest.
Without beating the proverbial "dead horse", we need your membership in our Golden Goal Club, the Lobo Men's Soccer Booster Club. Our success is based on your support:
Thanks again and GO LOBOS!
To read the FishBlog in its entirety, click here.