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Marquette Men's Soccer Preview: The 2015 Milwaukee Cup


Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Ah, the Milwaukee Cup.  The one thing on the face of the planet where UW-Milwaukee can attempt to even pretend to be equal to Marquette in any fashion.  Recognized as one of the greatest college soccer rivalries in the country, largely because it's one of the rare crosstown matchups, UWM currently carries a 28-11-3 all time advantage in the series.  However, that's not representative of how things have gone lately.

You see, Marquette head coach Louis Bennett used to be the head coach at Milwaukee.  His Panthers teams were really good, and they generally kicked Marquette's tails all over the pitch.  But, since Bennett saw the light and switched sides of town back in 2006, things are in a complete deadlock.  UWM has won four times, Marquette has won four times, including last season when Charlie Lyon stonewalled UWM's Laurie Bell on a penalty kick to keep MU's eventual school record shutout streak alive, and the two sides have drawn once.  With that said, Marquette has not won a Milwaukee Cup match on the road since 2008.  In that match, Calum Mallace and Tom Lynn both scored on assists from Billy Von Rueden and Matt Pyzdrowski posted a clean sheet.  That was during Mallace's freshman year and seems like even longer ago than it actually was.

As for actual game action, Marquette's looking to build some momentum.  They got clipped in overtime while down a man against Oregon State in their opener, and then rode three early goals to a win over Portland.  This match against UWM will be the first in a stretch of three matches in eight days, including the first two home games of the season, so getting things rolling against the Panthers could end up being beneficial in the long run.

I'd expect to see freshman Luis Barraza in net again for the Golden Eagles.  He started both matches last weekend, and was only lifted with 20 minutes to play against Portland because of MU's lead at the time and because Bennett wanted to get Mac Wheeler some game time.  Heading into the weekend, Bennett had toyed with the idea with splitting the matches between Barraza and Wheeler, but ultimately the freshman got the nod, and the spot on the Big East's Weekly Honor Roll, too.

Match #3: at UW-Milwaukee (1-1-0)

When: Thursday, September 3, 2015, at 7pm Central
Where: Engelmann Field in Milwaukee, WI
Audio/Visual: Time Warner SportsChannel has you covered in Milwaukee, otherwise check out ESPN3!  Live stats will be here.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer

Two matches over the opening weekend against two opponents of wildly different quality led to two wildly different results for the Panthers.  In their opener, they jumped all over Evansville for a 5-2 win on the east side of Milwaukee.  2014 Horizon League Second Teamer Declan was the dominant offensive performer with the opening goal of UWM's season as well as the eventual game winning goal.  Matthias Binder was right behind Rodriguez on the scoresheet, adding a goal of his own and the assist on Rodriguez's winning goal.

That was fun for the Panthers, I'm sure.  Losing 4-0 to #6 Creighton?  Probably less fun.  The Jays snagged the game winner in the 9th minute, doubled their lead before 30 minutes were up, and then pushed it all the way to four goals with a brace just past the one hour mark.

Agustin Rey has played every minute in net for the Panthers this season, so even though his stats aren't shiny through 2 matches (3.00 GAA, .667 SV%), I imagine he'll be on the field on Thursday night.