Chicago took on two conference foes this weekend in the form of Case Western and Carnegie Mellon. The squad gained an exciting win in overtime against Case by knocking home a penalty kick goal after a scoreless 90 minutes on Friday. On Sunday afternoon, however, the Maroons were defeated by No. 3 Carnegie 1–0, as the Tartans scored early in the match and Chicago was unable to recover.
Toward the end of the tight Case game, the players from both sides started to get pushy, taking and giving hard fouls that resulted in penalty kicks. At the end of the regular time, Case earned a free kick but, luckily for the Maroons, missed. During overtime, Chicago also earned a penalty kick after first-year Matthew Koh was fouled during a corner kick, but was unable to capitalize. Finally, third-year forward Brenton Desai was able to score and get the win for the Maroons during the 92nd minute.
The statistics reflected the close game. Chicago led in shots on goal by only one (5–4), but had more corner kicks (6–2). The foul situation was also fairly close: 16–12 in favor of the Tartans. The win also pushed the South Siders’ conference record to .500 (2–2–1).
Sunday afternoon had a different ending against the nationally ranked No. 3 Tartans of Carnegie Mellon. Even after outscoring Carnegie in shots (13–2), shots on goal (6–1), and corner kicks (7–5), the Maroons fell to Carnegie after a goal in the ninth minute of the game. Fourth-year midfielder Jorge Bilbao led the squad with five shots and was a key component in giving Chicago chances to score.
With the opportunities created and lack of shooting from the Tartans, one would think that Chicago would be the victor, but Bilbao explains the reason for the loss.
“We lost focus on a set piece in the early part of the game and that cost us big time. We’ll make sure that something like that doesn’t happen again if we’re able to make it into the tournament,” he said.
Even with a loss against a conference opponent, Bilbao is still hopeful of receiving a bid to the national tournament. This is even more likely should the squad get a win against rival Wash U.
On the subject of the Bears, Bilbao said, “We need to beat Wash U next Saturday and I have no doubt that we can do it. We’re one of the best teams in the country and I think every team that has played us is aware of it. We played really well this weekend but ended up dropping a critical game against Carnegie, so our team should be completely fired up to take out frustration out against Wash U. We should definitely win that game.”
The Maroons will play their last game of the regular season on Saturday at Wash U at 1:30 p.m. It’s a crucial game for the squad’s tournament hopes, as well as the final game for the fourth-years should Chicago not go on to the post-season. Rivalry, senior pride, and desire for a chance to win it all will come to a head in St. Louis.