Men's Soccer Takes first Loss of Season

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    The No. 19 West Virginia University men’s soccer team suffered its first loss of the season with a 3-1 defeat at UMBC on Wednesday night at Retriever Soccer Park.

    With the loss, the Mountaineers (3-1-2) saw their season-opening unbeaten streak snapped at five games. WVU had given up one goal in its first five games, on a penalty kick, before the Retrievers (4-1-0) scored three on Wednesday night.

    “We played a big, physical team today that we conceded three set-piece goals too, which is uncharacteristic of our team,” WVU coach Marlon LeBlanc said. “We were naive in the way we defended to allow set pieces. We knew that was something they were going to bring to the table, with so much size, that they were going to put the ball in the box time and time again, and we didn’t do a good job of denying them the opportunity to serve the ball.

    “Our response was brilliant in the second half. We put a lot of pressure on them, had a lot of opportunities and missed a couple of unbelievable chances down the stretch. I think this young team learned a lesson today. We don’t have a lot of time to feel sorry for ourselves, we need to move on to George Mason this weekend.”

    On a warm, humid night in Baltimore in front of a near-capacity crowd of 1,004, West Virginia had eight shots, six coming in the second half. UMBC had 18 shots, with 12 coming in the first half. Four of WVU’s seven corner kicks came in the second half, while four of UMBC’s seven corners were in the first 45 minutes. Junior keeper Stephen Banick made two saves, the first coming in the opening minutes of the match.

    Sophomore Albert Andres-Llop scored his first goal of the season for the Mountaineers. The goal came at 71:05 on a free kick from 20 yards out and was his second career goal.

    Andres-Llop’s goal made it 2-1, but UMBC answered just minutes later to make it a 3-1 match. James Gielen opened the scoring in the 33rd minute, and the lead for the home side was extended to 2-0 in the 40th minute by Kyle Saunderson. The Retriever advantage was pushed back to two goals when Saunderson connected again, in the 74th minute, to make it 3-1.

    UMBC applied offensive pressure early, with two shots in the opening minutes. Banick made a save in the second minute on a shot from a tight angle on the far side, and the second UMBC shot hit the crossbar.

    In the sixth minute, an offsides call negated what would have been the first goal of the game. The play began with a long throw-in, and UMBC had a chance inside the six that found the back of the net, but offsides was called.

    Senior Jad Arslan had WVU’s first chance in the 11th minute, but his header went high. Andres-Llop had a chance in the 24th minute, but his long shot went wide after a corner kick.

    The Retrievers took a 1-0 lead at 32:57. Gielen scored off a rebound just outside the six. Matt Bailey earned the assist.

    UMBC made it a 2-0 match at 39:59, when Saunderson’s header from six yards out came on a ball in on a corner kick.

    The Mountaineers had a chance early in the second half, but a shot by freshman Tom Shepherd was blocked and Andres-Llop’s attempt went wide.

    In the 53rd minute, freshman Steven Tekesky made his first career appearance in goal, for Banick.

    Junior Jorge Quintanilla had a shot blocked in the 56th minute, but the Mountaineers could not do anything off the ensuing corner kick. he had another long shot in the 70th minute, but it went wide. Just two minutes later, at 71:05, Andres-Llop made it a 2-1 match when he converted on the free kick.

    However, the home side answered two minutes later, at 73:56. Saunderson’s second goal of the game made it 3-1, and was a header off a free kick by Jon Bell.

    Junior Rushawn Larmond had a great opportunity to make it a one-goal game again in the 82nd minute, but his shot from inside the box hit the post.

    The Mountaineers played the final four minutes of the contest with the man advantage, after Jordan Dove was shown a red card at 85:51. However, WVU could not get a shot off as the clock expired.

    West Virginia plays its second of three consecutive games in the Washington, D.C. area on Saturday, Sept. 16, at George Mason. Kickoff in Fairfax, Virginia, is set for 7 p.m. ET. WVU is 2-2 against GMU after a 3-0 victory at home in 2016.


    Personally, I’d rather give up goals on set pieces than from the run of play. Set piece goals are fixable. If you’re leaking in the flow of the game, that is a greater problem.

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