Arizona soccer: Taylor Kornieck's free kick propels Colorado past the Wildcats

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Alex McIntyre | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona goalkeeper Lainey Burdett (1) just misses a save and allows the match-winning point against Colorado at Murphey Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. The Buffs beat the Wildcats 1-0.

Being close counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, but not in soccer, and the Arizona soccer team learned that the hard way Thursday night at Mulcahy Stadium.

After a 30-minute delay due to rain and lightning, the Wildcats fell to Colorado 1-0, despite outshooting the Buffaloes 14-7 and putting up a flurry of scoring chances.

A well-placed free kick by Colorado's Taylor Kornieck in the 57th minute was the only goal of the game.

The ball flew toward the top-left corner, rattled off the post and found its way into the back of the net. There was nothing Arizona goalkeeper Lainey Burdett could do.

“I mean the girl put it in the top corner to the opposite side of where she was," Arizona head coach Tony Amato said. "So she tried to get across, but it hit the bar and went in." 

The Wildcats had several scoring chances of their own, but, unlike Colorado, they just couldn't convert.

Early in the game, a shot from UA's Lexe Selman Richards from 25 yards out barely squeaked over the crossbar. Then in the 47th minute, UA's Gabi Stoian had a shot slam off the crossbar. 

It was that kind of night.

“I’m not big on ‘oh it’s luck or unlucky’ — I mean, I thought we worked hard and put ourselves in a position to win the game," Amato said. "We had some chances fall to us in the box and we didn’t execute. It’s plain and simple — it’s not unlucky. We gotta make it happen there, so we’ll keep trying to get sharper from those situations.”

The Wildcats also had several free kicks and four corner kicks. Yet, they had no goals to show for it — technically.

It appeared Arizona scored an equalizer in the 89th minute.

Stoian shifted a through ball forward to a running Cali Crisler, who was able to sneak past the Colorado backline. Crisler collected the ball and placed it into the back of the net with ease.

Tie game? Not quite. The official on the near-side of the field raised the flag and Crisler was called offsides. 

No goal.

“I didn’t think I was [offsides]," Crisler said. "I saw Gabi get the ball and I thought I was in line with [the defender] and I ran through and I thought when I ran, the defender didn’t really know I had run past her. So she kind of stood there."

Amato had similar thoughts on the play.

"Initially I thought a run started from deep," he said. "I’ll have to look at the video to know. I know the officials — if it’s close — are giving the advantage to the attacker so she must’ve been if he was that quick to put the flag up. Obviously as a coach, it’s your team and you always think they’re onsides, so I’ll have to look at the video to know.”

The waved-off goal proved to be Arizona's last of many scoring chances, and Colorado was able to escape with the road victory.

“It’s frustrating," said Selman Richards. "We hit the crossbar, we scored but it got called back, we had some close shots, and it’s just frustrating being on the attack so much and not being able to convert.”

It's been a recent theme for the Wildcats, as they've scored just one goal during their now-three-game losing streak.

The Wildcats have dropped to 5-4-1 on the season and 0-2 in Pac-12 Conference play. They'll try to get back to winning ways Sunday when they host Utah. 

“We played hard and battled," Amato said. "You’re trying to get as many points as you can every weekend and now we’re looking at trying to split the weekend and it’ll be important to put this sort of effort in and hopefully we sharpen up some of that execution and find a way to get three points.”

Kickoff at Mulcahy Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m, and the game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

Arizona has won the last two matchups against Utah, including a 1-0 win in Salt Lake City last season.


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