Analysis: Arizona soccer's individual talent shows in game against Buffs
Arizona midfielder Gabi Stoian (9) swoops in to regain possession ahead of a group of Colorado players at Murphey Field at Mulcahy Soccer Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016.
Arizona soccer was unable to show their true talent Sunday afternoon, in a scoreless draw against the Colorado Buffaloes. They Wildcats played very poorly due to very little organization, which led to an inability to combine with each other. This forced UA to take on Colorado defenders one-on-one. Understandably, very few good shots came from this style of offense.
The 'Cats also failed to control the midfield allowing Colorado to build possession out of the back and create good shots. Fans would have been treated to a barrage of the Buffs goals if not for the powerful play of the Arizona back four.
The Wildcats didn't come out with full force, which may have contributed to the 'Cats outcome of the way they played. Arizona was two days removed from defending for 70 minutes against Utah in Salt Lake City. Any game played in the Rocky Mountains, especially if a team isn't used to the altitude, can be draining. Turning around and playing in Boulder simply adds to the stress that the athletes put on their lungs.
Laboring for 110 minutes against Colorado did the Wildcats no favors. Midfielders struggled to get back on defense after committing to the attack, which allowed the Buffaloes to command the center of the pitch. They also struggled to get into the attack after defending.
Arizona had their chances, but they were unable to beat Colorado goalkeeper Jalen Tompkins. Colorado also had their chances, but were quelled by game saving tackles by Arizona's defenders. Once the game entered extra time, Jill Aguilera had the best chance of the game, but Tompkins made the save. The Buffs then followed with several chances of their own, but couldn't hit the back of the net.
Arizona earned a result, and a crucial point on the road despite their poor play. That in and of itself shows the individual talent of this team. Gabi Stoian created several chances for herself or the two other players in the Arizona attack several times by beating Buffaloes defenders. All four of Arizona's defenders saved UA's clean sheet on multiple occasions with momentum swinging tackles. Goalkeeper Lainey Burdett made four pivotal saves.
The Wildcats earned four points this past week to keep them No. 5 in the Pac-12. UA sits three-points behind both UCLA and Cal, six behind USC, and eight behind Stanford. Two weeks remain in the Pac-12, and three games remain for each team. The Pac-12 season ends two weeks from now with each team playing their regional counterpart. That means that Arizona will play ASU, Stanford will play Cal, and USC will face off against UCLA. More points will be dropped by the big four of the conference and Arizona is in a good position to take all nine of their remaining points available.
Arizona sits in a position to host at least a first round tournament game. They sit 21st in the nation in RPI as of the completion of last week's games.
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