This weekend’s Marquette men’s soccer matches provides us with an interesting question: How long can Edrey Caceres and Harvey Read keep this up?
The freshman from Texas by way of El Salvador and the sophomore from England have combined for a header goal off a corner kick in each of Marquette’s first two matches this season. Let’s be honest: It’s unlikely that they would pair off like that for two goals in a season given the nature of how corner kicks work, so the fact that they’ve done it in back-to-back matches, both on headers by Read, is kind of astounding. Since they’ve beaten the odds already, we have to wonder how long they can keep this up. Clearly Marquette is going to get more corner kick attempts in each match between now and Monday night. Can they make it three for three? I’d settle for three for four, honestly, and four for four would be a hoot and seven-eighths, to say the least.
We will have to wait and see what happens with the Golden Eagles in general through these two matches. Their Friday opponent has already shown the backbone to give a ranked team — like Marquette is at #13 in the new United Soccer Coaches poll — fits right past regulation and into extra time, and Monday’s foe is already generating national interest by way of receiving votes in the USC poll this week. Neither match is going to be a picnic for the Golden Eagles, which leads us to the point: What in tarnation was going on with MU in their match against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville?
Marquette was a bend but don’t break defense in the spring, so perhaps the three goals allowed in a 4-3 win was just a case of “hey, what did we just say about not breaking?” The defense was outstanding in the opener against Green Bay, allowing the Phoenix just one shot in 90 minutes. Styles make fights, of course, so every match is a little different, but the Golden Eagles have to play more like they did against Green Bay than they did against SIUE if they want to keep their national ranking and end up in the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season. For me, I think the biggest problem against the Cougars was the speed of the second and third goals. Goal #2 for SUIE came just two minutes and two seconds after the first one, which is a really inexcusable level of failing by a defense…… which is what I would say if Goal #3 didn’t come literally 18 seconds after Marquette took a 4-2 lead with 17 minutes left to play. It was the world’s worst (best?) example of “a two goal lead is the most dangerous lead in soccer,” as MU immediately threw their two goal margin down the tube right after Beto Soto had staked them to it.
Giving up goals is going to happen, that’s the nature of soccer. Giving up goals so soon after one had been scored, either by your or by your opponent? You can’t be having that happen, not on the regular, and definitely not twice in the same match.
Match #3: vs Kansas City Roos (0-1-1)
Marquette is 2-2-0 all time against Missouri-Kansas City in all of its forms and formats. The two sides played each other in four straight seasons from 1997 through 2000, with the Golden Eagles taking the first two by shutout and the Roos taking the second two.
That winless record to start the season for Kansas City is more than a little misleading. The Roos started out the year with a 2-2 draw with then-#15 Virginia Tech, and in fact, they held a 2-1 lead at halftime and VaTech got their goal off of a penalty kick. In their second match of the year, sure, KC lost 2-0, but it was to #21 James Madison and it was at JMU as well. They conceded goals in the 13th and 54th minutes and were outshot 19-7, but hey: It was their second game against a ranked opponent in a four day period. We’ll cut them some slack here. Of course, Friday night will be their third straight game against a ranked opponent with all three coming away from Durwood Stadium, so there is at once a “this is going to start to grind on them” situation and also a “they know what this is like and will have no fear at all” situation.
Kansas City was picked to finish fourth in the seven team Summit League this season, so I think it’s safe to say that seeing them hold their own against a ranked team to start the season isn’t something that anyone was necessarily expecting. Keeper Cooper Clark and defender Gustavo Leal Murtha made it onto the SL’s “players to watch” list, which is really just a “here are the two best players on each team except for St. Thomas, who has only one maybe because they’re new to Division 1 this year” list. Clark was the Summit Keeper of the Year in the spring, although you wouldn’t think a goals-against average of 1.69 and a save percentage of 69.3% would get that done. Clark is doing a lot better in terms of save percentage this fall at 77.8%, so it’ll be up to Marquette to try to change that. Murtha earned Second Team all-conference honors in the spring as the Brazilian made a big impact in his first season after moving up from the junior college ranks.
Shfeao Lar and Edson Murguia are the two gents who scored goals for the Roos in their season opener. The Murguia goal is a bit more expected through two matches, as the freshman midfielder leads the team in shots with three. Lar, a freshman from Kansas City just like Murguia, scored his goal on his only shot so far this season, so maybe we can’t expect him to be a big threat against MU. Sophomore forward Jony Munoz led Kansas City in goals in the spring with six, but he’s managed just two shots in 160 minutes of action so far this fall.
Match #4: at RV Tulsa Golden Hurricane (2-0-0)
Marquette is 1-0-0 all time against Tulsa. The only meeting between the two teams came alllll the way back in 1983 when MU got the 1-0 win in a match that was held in Omaha, Nebraska, for some reason. Perhaps an event that Creighton hosted?
The good news for Tulsa is that they snagged wins in both of their first two matches of the year. The even better news is that they did that on the road, traveling to Nebraska to square off with Creighton (2-1) and Nebraska-Omaha (1-0) in their first weekend of action. The bad news for Tulsa is that the odds of remaining undefeated this season by the time Tuesday morning hits is on the low side. Not only do they have to contend with the Golden Eagles on Monday night, but #8 Missouri State is the opponent for their home opener on Friday night. That’s a rough row to hoe, especially for a team picked to finish third in the six team American Athletic Conference.
With that said, the Golden Hurricane do have the AAC’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year in sophomore forward Alex Meinhard. He was OPOY and Rookie of the Year in the spring after leading Tulsa with seven goals as well as topping the team chart with 15 points. Meinhard was arguably the most feared scorer in the entire country last season as national best five of his seven goals went for Tulsa game winners. He’s already found the back of the net twice this season, which is important because Tulsa has only scored three goals as a team.
Alex Lopez and Nolan Cosgrove have split Tulsa’s two matches in net so far. Lopez took the Creighton match, while Cosgrove faced Nebraska-Omaha. If head coach Tom McIntosh is set on alternating back and forth like that, then MU will see Cosgrove on Monday thanks to the Missouri State game in between this writing and that match. With just 90 minutes of action for each and a win for both and four saves for both, it’s hard to say anything one way or another about whether or not it’s in Marquette’s favor to get Cosgrove in stead of Lopez. Cosgrove is a redshirt freshman who did not play in the spring, while Lopez is a freshman from Spain who saw his first collegiate action in the opener. Senior Brady Moody has played in six collegiate games ever between Tulsa and South Carolina Upstate, while Drew Snodgrass is a freshman keeper as well. There’s options here for McIntosh, but I don’t know how much he’s going to be interested in using all of them.