It was a tough day for Virginia Commonwealth University as VCU’s men’s soccer fell to East Tennessee State University 2-1 just after the women’s team lost their season opener to Clemson. The VCU mens soccer team played the same aggressive offense that we saw Friday night, but ETSU played an extremely cohesive defense. The stats should have favored a VCU win with the team finishing the game with 16 corner kicks, but they just couldn’t finish at the goal.
The Rams hit a wall with this game, despite their efforts and keeping the ball in play in ETSU’s half of the field the majority of the game, VCU just couldn’t close on scoring. Their opposition just played defense – really well. So well that it took the Rams 87 minutes to score their first and only goal of the game. The goal was made during a penalty kick from #3 Dennis Castillo. VCU continued to be aggressive down to the last seconds but were unable to come up with another goal to tie the game.
A big difference between this game and Friday was the number of yellow cards issued to players. At least 4 cards were given during the game during the second half and both teams were recipients. There was some debate (and radio commentary) as to why others weren’t called earlier in the game, but there’s no instant replay or changes to a referee’s decisions in this sport. Soccer is a little like live theatre, unless it’s serious, the show must go on and it did.
Overall the Rams held their own pretty well only allowing 1 goal in each half to ETSU. The most excitement came directly following the penalty kick as players rushed into the goal in an attempt to keep the goalie from delaying the re-start of play with roughly 4 minutes remaining. It resulted in a yellow card for each team but was successful in pausing the clock and restarting the game. Not a win but it could help the team develop a strategy for overcoming similar defensive strength in a future opponent and that could lead to a win later in the season. It’s early in the season and the Rams have plenty of games ahead of them to win. Let’s see if they use it as fuel for their next match on September 5, 2014 against Northeastern.
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