As I mentioned last week many of our lineup decisions would need to be made at game time. We had half of the team that played against Memphis (5 of the 11 starters) not start or play in this game. With the absence of Mike Farfan (red card suspension) the midfield responsibility fell to Reid Baker who was accompanied by German Moreno who played despite not being 100% with an ankle injury he suffered earlier in the season. Kevin Puder would get his first start in goal replacing Brent Douglas who was knocked out of the Michigan game with a broken cheek and eye orbit.
We had set out to try and create as many restarts as possible and I thought that we did an excellent job coming close on a number of occasions. We had 5 corners as well as a number of free kicks in the attacking third to start the game. Ben Hofstetter had a header miss just wide and their keeper had to be alert on a number of occasions punching balls clear.
We were never really threatened and had many quality chances of our own in the first half. Penn St seemed as if they wanted to keep us from getting into any rhythm and did so with numerous fouls. They were whistled for 22 fouls compared to our 8. Many of these fouls led to our restart opportunities.
During the halftime intermission we went over a few things that we felt we could improve on but felt we didn’t need to change much. We just needed to capitalize on one of the chances.
I am not sure if we were a bit complacent coming out for the second half but we allowed a soft goal 1:57 into the second half infusing Penn St with life. We really didn’t have any quality chances from the run of play and ended up giving another goal up with 10 minutes to go.
We definitely feel like we let one get away. Unfortunately, the numerous opportunities that we didn’t capitalized on in the first half came back to haunt us.
This game seemed to sum up what has happened to us these past two weeks.
We give up a bad goal 1:51 into the game. On the play our keeper Kevin Puder gets injured and needs to come out sending Freshman Tyler Andrews into the game. Tyler had never played a collegiate game before and hadn’t played a competitive game for a year and a half.
We responded a minute later with German Moreno on the flank crossing to Skyler Thuresson who knotted the game at 1-1 from just outside the six.
I have never seen a game that had two goals scored and a keeper get knocked out in the first 3 minutes. Unbelievable.
Their second goal 7 minutes after we tied it up came off a corner. We told the guys before the game what to expect and still we let them execute. Since I took over as the Head Coach last year we hadn’t given up a goal on a corner, so giving up the eventual game winner was very frustrating.
It seemed as if anything that was thrown at our goal went into the back of the net. We had a few very good chances to cut into the lead. At 3-1 Reid Baker took a great feed and missed his one timer over the top from just outside the six. Ben Hofstetter caught the keeper cheating and hit the post from out wide. Unfortunately, it went from bad to worse as they increased the lead to 4-1 at the half.
As a coach there wasn’t too much that could or needed to be said at the half. The players all knew the situation and were disappointed. Many of the players were out spoken and took ownership.
The second half started off with a great through ball to Skyler who with the keeper rushing out of the box attempted a strike on goal that missed wide as did our hopes of quickly getting back into the game.
Although there weren’t many positives to take from the game, German Moreno was excellent out on the flank and T.J. Detviler came in and did a good job at right back.
The results obviously were poor and we have lost our second keeper in two weeks. After playing just one complete game, Kevin’s departure in the second minute forced us into a situation that we couldn’t have prepared for. Kevin’s injury has been diagnosed as an abdominal pull. The trainers feel that he will probably be out longer than Brent (facial fractures) and that it could be about 12 weeks before he is able to perform any goalkeeper type activities.
We have had tons of bad luck with our injuries but the reality is that we are still 500 at 3-3 and have another two weeks to try and mend as many bodies as possible for our league opener on Sept 29 versus SLO.
The experiences and emotions that this team and players have had these first 3 weeks of the season should serve them well not only in sport but life.
We leave this Friday for a single game in South Carolina versus Coastal Carolina on Sunday. This game was originally scheduled to allow us the opportunity to experience what we would experience in the NCAA Tournament. Even though right now we don’t know who will be available, whoever ends up going, will gain valuable experience.
We hope that we will see the return of a number of key injured players soon and pick up the success that we started the season with.
Have a great week. Go Titans!