A lot has been made about the Marquette men’s soccer offense this season. That’s the kind of thing that happens when you’re standing tied for the fourth most goals scored in the country through September 26th.
However, that vaunted offense fell very, very short on Friday night at Valley Fields.
After the defense allowed a goal to one of the guys tied for the Big East lead in goals this season four minutes after he subbed onto the field, the offense couldn’t manage an equalizer after St. John’s lost one man to a red card 64 seconds into the second half and then lost a second man to a red card in the 56th minute.
Your final: Nine man St. John’s 1, Marquette 0. It is the first time this season that Marquette has been shutout.
All credit to Nicolas Fleuriau Chateau as well as the gents passing to get him the ball in the 39th minute of the match. The fact of the matter is that Fleuriau Chateau’s shot back across the net and past MU keeper Ludwig Malberg was the only shot of the half for St. John’s and eventually, it would turn into the only shot of the match for the visiting Red Storm, although that’s not really about their offense or Marquette’s defense.
It’s a great effort by everyone in red and blue there, and not so much from the guys in white, as Fleuriau Chateau was tied for the Big East lead in goals with Marquette’s Brooklyn Merl and Georgetown’s Jacob Murrell the last I checked. Fleuriau Chateau has come off the bench for every single match this season, and he subbed in at 34:26 here, and scored at 38:44. That’s bad awareness by Marquette.
And then the second half started with Marquette trailing, and 64 seconds in, the Golden Eagles got what looked like it should have been a break. With St. John’s already playing shorthanded in terms of availability because of two red cards last time out against Akron, Antonio Biggs took a straight red for a challenge on a 50/50 ball between him and Merl. As you’d expect, a St. John’s team 1) with a lead and 2) that attempted just one official first half shot got a bit more conservative from there. There were just two shots over the next nine minutes, both coming from Marquette, and the Golden Eagles attempted three corner kicks as well.
And then Ignacio Antequera-Sanchez got thrown out of the match on a straight red card for a denial of a goal scoring opportunity foul just barely outside the box with the clock reading 55:32.
Originally, it was whistled as a penalty kick and a yellow card, but VAR upgraded the card in conjunction with determining that the actual foul itself was outside the box even though Beto Soto went down inside the 18 yard box. Interestingly, that was the second time that VAR upgraded a card against the Red Storm in this match, as the same thing happened on the Biggs card. Given as a yellow, changed to a straight red.
In any case, St. John’s was playing with nine men now, and doing that for the second consecutive match. Whatever thoughts they had about an insurance goal over the final 35 minutes pretty much went completely out the door, and they were completely and totally — and understandably! — gone for sure by the time we got into the last 10 or 15 minutes as the Red Storm went full bunker mode.
I suspect, and you’d have to talk to head coach Louis Bennett about this, that St. John’s pretty much refusing to leave their defensive half of the field and almost refusing to leave their own 18 yard box really messed with the aforementioned productivity of the Marquette offense. My sense of how Marquette works best is when they’re moving quickly to create dysfunction in the defense, and counterattacking plays a big part of that.
Well, if St. John’s is refusing to stray from their box, there’s not a lot of dysfunction getting created, and if St. John’s isn’t attacking, there’s no way to counter them and flip the field.
Marquette attempted 15 shots after Antequera-Sanchez was tossed from the match. Keeper Alec McLachlan needed to make just three official saves to keep the Golden Eagles scoreless. He was busy to be sure, as MU attempted 10 corner kicks against the nine man Red Storm defense as well, but Marquette just never got truly quality looks at the net even though they were dominating possession for obvious reasons.
There were moments when it looked like they were poised to defeat the St. John’s zone defense — and the way that SJU was moving in the box, it certainly looked like a basketball team shifting in a zone defense when you pass the ball around — but Marquette was just never quite able to collect and settle a pass fast enough to snap a shot off when they had the space to do so.
The Golden Eagles drop to 1-2-0 in Big East play and 7-2-1 after starting off the year 6-0-0.
Up Next: Marquette will be back in action on Monday night when they host Northern Illinois for the last non-conference match of the season. The Huskies have lost six straight matches against Division 1 competition and have been idle since they had a match called off on account of weather back on September 26th.