The men’s soccer team defended its No. 1 ranking and improved to 14–0–0 with a 2–1 victory over Brandeis on Friday and a 5–0 triumph against NYU on Sunday. Both games took place on Stagg Field.
Despite their eventual victory, the Maroons got off to a slow start against Brandeis as the Judges scored off of a deflection in the 25th minute. Chicago trailed by a goal at halftime for the second straight game.
But, as was the case the other three times the men fell behind this season, they came back. This time the answer came in the 76th minute when second-year forward Max Lopez assisted fourth-year forward Brenton Desai for his fifth goal of the season to put the game at 1–1 with just 14 minutes left.
The South Siders eventually prevailed in overtime when first-year forward Dayo Adeosun scored the game-winner with a breakaway goal in the 101st minute.
“We definitely showed a lot of resolve in that game coming back, but I don’t think we were worried because we were definitely outplaying them [even though] the energy definitely could have been higher,” Lopez said. He dominated during the weekend’s games with two goals and three assists.
Despite the close score line, the Maroons were in control for most of the game and finished the game with 17 more shots and eight more corners than their opponents.
While Friday’s game might have been a close call, Sunday’s game was anything but close for the Maroons. They took a 1–0 lead into halftime before breaking out for four second-half goals. Desai, Lopez, and first-year midfielder Gary Zhao all got on the score sheet in the team’s second-best offensive effort of the season.
“We were just able to put a lot of pressure on them and keep it in their half,” Desai said. He has scored four times in the past five games. “Their defenders just weren’t as good as our attackers were and we were just able to overpower them as the game went on.”
Third-year goalkeeper Hill Bonin also notched his 10th clean sheet of the season against the Violets, tying the UChicago career record of 22.
This weekend’s games both fit the season’s trend of slow starts followed by strong second halves for the Maroons, who have scored 26 goals in the second half or later as opposed to only 15 in the first half and have conceded all five of their goals in the first half of play.
“I think [our second-half success] has a little bit to do with our depth because we’re able to sub in players who are able to raise the level and bring fresh legs on and that helps a lot…as the other team is getting more tired,” Desai said. “But we’ve also been coming out kind of flat-footed and unprepared at the beginning of games, which we have to work on.”
The Maroons will play their final home game of the season next Sunday against the Aurora University Spartans at Stagg Field. The game will start at 1 p.m.
It was a little bit frustrating I would say but I thought we were really dominating them the whole time so we didn’t really lose our confidence, especially since we’ve been a second half team most of the year so it felt like it was a matter of time before we broke through but we just had a lot of success in the second half so we weren’t shaking in our boots.
I think it has a little bit to do with our depth because we’re able to sub in players who are able to rasie the level and bring fresh legs on and that helps a lot especially in the second half as the other team is getting more tired. But it’s also been we’ve been coming out kinda flat-footed and unprepared at the beginning of games which we gotta work on. We usually start picking it up as the game wears on and we get more settled in.
I would say we were just able to put a lot of pressure on them and keep it in their half and we were just creating opportunities because we have a lot of talent up top. Their defenders just weren’t as good as our attackers were and we were just able to overpower them as the game went on.
On Friday against Brandeis there was definitely a lot of ? The second assist was just their two defenders ran into each other so there was a huge open space so the pass was not difficult at all. The first one, their center back was pretty short so I could hit the ball pretty easily over him. Both of those were pretty simple.
Today, the assist was off a cross and their two defenders came to the front post so I backheeled to ??? and he put it in. The free kick goal their team was just kinda very lackadaisical so I just made sure I got it on frame. The other one was a ???? (toe?) on the left side that went by a defender and hit it back to me which was very simple.
I mean we definitely showed a lot of resolve in that game coming back, but I don’t think we were worried because we were definitely outplaying them even at the time and the energy definitely could have been higher but I think that three out of the past five games the team scored off of a 40(?) yard set piece ??? and that’s really the only way teams are able to score on us. I don’t think we were too worried that we couldn’t come back.
The other team was not pressuring and they got very tired very quickly and a lot of space opened up to play in and one we scored the third goal their will was gone so the other two were pretty easy to score because they weren’t really trying that hard.