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Marquette Men's Soccer Preview: vs Dayton

It's finally time for the home opener!

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Officially, Marquette is 1-1-1 on the season.

I offer to you this theory: Marquette is actually 2-1-0.

Why am I moving the draw against UW-Milwaukee into the win column?  Well, one simple reason: Marquette got to keep the Milwaukee Cup for another year, marking the first time that the Golden Eagles have retained possession of the trophy since back to back wins in 2008 & 2009.  I know coaches hate talking about moral victories, but I think keeping those filthy Panther paws off the Milwaukee Cup for at least another year qualifies as more than just a moral victory.

One thing I was worried about for Marquette coming into the season was their ability to score goals.  They struggled on the offensive end of things in Big East play last season, and so far, through three games, not much has happened to allay those fears.  Oregon State shutout Marquette through 90+ minutes, and were it not for a brilliantly struck ball from Louis Bennett II, I don't know if Marquette would have managed to find a goal against Milwaukee.  With four Big East teams ranked in the top 12 of last week's NSCAA Top 25, odds are goals are going to be hard to find in conference play again this season.  The Golden Eagles need to find some footing on the offensive end, and the three game homestand that starts here against the Flyers is a terrific time to get that underway.

Match #4: vs Dayton (2-1-0)

When: Monday, September 7, 2015, at 6pm Central
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: All home matches have FREE video streaming, plus live stats.
Special Promotions: Family 4 Packs (tickets, hot dogs, chips) for $25, plus the 1st 200 students get a free T shirt!
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer

After a season opening loss to Radford, the Flyers have bounced back with a shutout win over James Madison and a home win over Cleveland State.  That is wildly unspectacular, although the win over CSU was by a 4-1 margin, so that's something.  Dragging away from that is the fact that their lone goal in the Radford match was an own goal by the Radford defense.  Well, you win some, you lose some, I suppose.

Dayton was picked to finish sixth in the Atlantic 10 this season, and to be clear, the A-10 has 13 teams.  I know that sounds like they're a middle of the pack team in that conference, but it's not that bad.  The first five teams in the polling all got at least one first place vote, and the Flyers finished just 15 points behind that five pack at the top of the league.  Impressively, the Flyers got three players onto the preseason all-conference team.  James Haupt is a junior forward that's scored one of UD's five goals this season so far, Amass Amankona has a goal and an assist as a redshirt senior forward (although the A-10 lists him as a midfielder), and junior defender Lalas Abubakar is one of just two Flyers to have played every single minute so far this season.

The other Flyer to have played ever minute?  Junior goalkeeper Justin Saliba, who hails from Beavercreek, Ohio, which is essentially just a suburb of Dayton.  He's averaging one goal per 90 minutes and stopping 73% of shots on goal through three games.