Arizona soccer looking to improve defense

img_0836
Steven Spooner | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona forward Hannah Clifford (13) prepares to kick the ball during the Wildcats' 0-1 loss to Florida Gulf Coast on Sept. 8.

The Arizona Wildcats soccer team started their 2017 campaign off with a 2-0 win over then No. 16 Oklahoma. Arizona limited Oklahoma to five shots and only one on target, while firing off 16 of their own, nine of which hit the frame. Arizona was caught offsides 10 times, which simply shows activity and creativity while on offense.

Arizona faced Beijing Normal after their match against Oklahoma and won 7-0. Beijing does not reach the competitive standard that Arizona has set for themselves.

After scoring nine goals in two games, Arizona regressed. Arizona vs. Oklahoma and Arizona vs. UC Irvine, the Wildcat’s third opponent, looked like two teams at very different stages of development. 

In the match against Oklahoma, the Wildcats played seemingly at their potential, or close to it. Arizona took several steps back against Irvine and managed a single shot in the first 45 minutes. After halftime, Arizona took a step forward. 

UA shot the ball eight times and forced two saves while they controlled the pace of the game against a formidable and incredibly physical opponent in a 0-0 draw.

After the matchup against Irvine, Arizona took on the University of Central Florida and Boston University in the Sun Devil Classic in Tempe. The 'Cats dropped the first game against UCF, 2-1, striking first in the 66th minute. This was a step forward from their scoreless performance in the game prior, but conceded goals in the 78th minute and 85th minute to lose. 

The Cats took a step forward with a result in their next match against the Boston University Terriers and drew 1-1. In both games, Arizona did not create many chances for themselves. However, the 'Cats defense had been playing well during the matchup.

The Wildcats hosted Florida Gulf Coast University on Friday, Sept. 8 and improved their performance overall. Arizona head coach Tony Amato stressed the importance of creating scoring opportunities in the week leading up to the match and his players delivered. 

Arizona out shot FGCU 19-2 with threatening shots and controlled the game for nearly every minute, but could not find the back of the net. The Wildcats’ defense, despite their success, made a single mistake and paid for it as the Eagles scored the games only goal.

Arizona looks to continue course and improve upon their most recent performance, but It seems that the only way to improve from the FGCU game is to finish chances and eliminate their defensive mistakes. Should Arizona improve in those categories, they will be able to be competitive against most teams in the country. 

Arizona will face Texas Tech on Sunday, Sept. 10  at 6 p.m. at Malcahy Stadium. Texas Tech reached the NCAA tournament last year and is expected to make their apperance this season. This game will be a litmus test for the Wildcats to see if they are ready for their conference schedule. 


Follow Max Cohen on Twitter



Share this article