Badger offense goes cold in 1-0 loss to MilwaukeeOctober 11, 2012
MADISON, Wis. – An uneven offensive performance proved costly for the Wisconsin men’s soccer team, as the Badgers dropped a 1-0 decision to Milwaukee in a closely-contested game at the McClimon Soccer Complex Wednesday night.
“It’s really disappointing to lose this type of game at home,” said Wisconsin head coach John Trask. “But you can’t replay it and we’ll be ready for Saturday against Michigan.”
Both teams entered the game in the midst of scoreless streaks. Wisconsin (3-6-3) opened the match in the middle of a 137-minute scoreless drought dating back to their game against Cleveland State. On the other side, Milwaukee (6-4-2) had a 401 minutes scoreless stretch against Wisconsin, a streak that went back five years.
After playing a scoreless first half, Milwaukee’s Jamie Bladen punched in a loose ball to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead they would never relinquish, halting the Panthers’ scoreless streak against the Badgers at 451 minutes.
The play started with a long Panther free kick after a UW foul. The ball was served into the Wisconsin box and multiple players on both sides got a piece of it, but neither team could gain full possession. As the ball bounced around the box, Bladen sliced in and scored from just a couple yards out, keeping his shot on the ground.
“A lot of college goals are caused by a failure to clear the ball,” said Trask. “It just seems as though we’re in (stretch) here where when we don’t clear the ball, the ball lands on their foot and they put it away. We have to be able to defend set pieces.”
The Badgers had numerous chances to tie the score, but a combination of stingy Panther defense and unlucky bounces kept UW off the board.
Nick Janus was foiled by a solid save from Milwaukee keeper Conner Revsbeck, a walk-on freshman making his first career star, in the second half, as the freshman knocked Janus’ shot from just outside the box away from the goal.
Janus would get an even better look later in the game off a UW throw near the Milwaukee corner. The ball was thrown into the box, where a Badger flicked it on to a wide-open Janus, just two yards from the goal. Revsbeck hardly had a chance to react, but Janus’ one-time shot went right at the moving keeper’s legs and deflected out of the box. The play was a symbolic of the type of game the Badgers were in, doing everything right in the lead-up to a shot, but just not finding a way to get the ball over the goal line.
Whereas offensive creativity has sometimes been a struggle for the Badgers this year, Trask was pleased with tonight’s more creative attack, but lamented missed opportunities to turn scoring chances into goals.
“I think we were pretty creative,” said Trask. “The final touch just wasn’t there tonight. I thought the movement was excellent in the final third, (we used) a couple of dummies, a couple of combinations, a few quality services. It just wasn’t meant to be.”
The more creative Badger attack led to a UW lead in shots, as the Badgers outshot the Panthers 13-7 while also nearly doubling the Panthers shots on goal total, 5-3. It is the first time the Wisconsin has outshot an opponent since Sept. 16, when the Badgers topped IUPUI in shots 12-8, en route to a 2-0 victory.
“You can’t win a soccer game if you can’t put the ball over the line,” Trask said.
Making his second start of the season, Max Jentsch turned in a solid effort making two timely saves to keep the Badgers in the game. The start was the first for Jentsch since getting the nod at Memphis on Aug. 24.
The Badgers will look to get back in the win column when they host Michigan at the McClimon Soccer Complex at 7 p.m. on Oct. 13.