After opening up 2018 with two wins over Missouri Valley Conference competition, Marquette men’s soccer earned themselves some top 25 attention, including the crazy people at Top Drawer Soccer installing them as the #12 team in the country.
The last week has, uh, well, not gone as well.
The Golden Eagles lost 3-1 on the road against Saint Louis in a decidedly ugly game in terms of how few shots there were, and then followed that up with a home loss in overtime to Penn.
So, yeah, MU probably isn’t a top 25 caliber squad, at least not right now.
But what kind of caliber are they? The Golden Eagles probably weren’t the deserved loser against the Quakers on Friday night as they outshot Penn 11-7 and fought through an 18-4 foul disparity to keep things scoreless through 90 minutes. I’m not a big “the refs are screwing us” guy, but when the differential breaks into double digits, you can’t help but think that something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
We’re going to get a pretty solid idea of Marquette’s quality as a club on Monday night. Michigan is earning a little bit of attention in the United Soccer Coaches poll (more on this in a moment), thus this gives us a chance to measure the Golden Eagles against a roughly similar type of team, at least when it comes to national relevance. Is Marquette prepared to step up and compete against top 40 type teams and fight for a Big East tournament bid? Let’s see what we get.
Match #5: at Michigan Wolverines (3-1-0)
Date: Monday, September 10, 2018
Time: 6:30pm Central
Location: U-M Soccer Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
Video Streaming: LOL, nope, why would an 8 year old facility in a money rich conference like the Big Ten have any kind of streaming whatsoever?
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer
Marquette is unbeaten in four tries against Michigan. All four matches were played in a four year run between 2010 and 2013. The first one was a 1-1 draw, and Marquette has won the last three, including a double overtime victory in 2011.
Michigan is not receiving votes. They are receiving one vote. The Wolverines got one point in last week’s United Soccer Coaches top 25 poll, which means that they got one 25th place vote on one ballot. They are currently projected to nudge upwards ever so slightly, as they picked up a 3-2 overtime victory against Western Michigan and their nine points on Friday. Marquette, as you’ll remember, had 22 points in that poll, but the Golden Eagles are headed out of the Receiving Votes department after two losses since that ranking was released.
The match against the Mustangs was a wild one, but it ultimately extended Michigan’s winning streak to three matches. UM had a 1-0 lead at the hour mark, but it was 2-all when the clock hit 83:00. Ivo Cerda found the back of the net in the 97th minute to push Michigan to the win.
Michigan has been enjoying a strong shooting advantage against their opponents so far this season. They have 62 shots on the season (15.5 per game) while allowing just 25 (6.3 per game) against them. That kind of differential goes a long way towards racking up victories left, right, and center. Quite appropriately, the two guys who are tied for the team lead in shots are tied for the team lead in goals as well. Mohammed Zakyi and Umar Farouk Osman both have two goals on the year, but it’s Zakyi with the team lead in points thanks to his three assists on the year.
Sophomore Henry Mashburn has played every minute in net so far this season after making seven starts late in the season in 2017. He has had two shutouts, but has allowed two goals in both of Michigan’s other two matches. That gives him a goals-against average of 0.98, which is pretty good, but his save percentage tells us that Michigan may have a question or two on defense. Mashburn has stopped just 60% of the shots on goal this season, so if you can get shots on frame, you might be able to score on them. The catch, of course, is that he’s made only six saves. That means that through four matches, opponents have only put 10 shots on net against the Wolverines. That makes that “if you can get shots on frame” question much, much bigger.