Offense continues to struggle as Broncos shut-out on the road
THE SANTA CLARA
October 13, 2016
Men’s soccer fell to the University of San Francisco Dons 2-0 on Sunday night. The Broncos had a rough week on the road since losing 1-0 to the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Oct. 4.
The match marked the beginning of conference play for Santa Clara, who traveled to USF to play under the lights at Negoesco Stadium.
“I think that conference play always amps things up a little bit because it is the sure way into the tournament,” said senior forward Ryan Masch.
There was no doubt among the team that West Coast Conference play has a different feel than preseason.
“I think that there’s inevitably a mentality change when we start playing conference games,” said senior captain and defender Brennan Castro. “There’s more pressure to win. The USF game was one of the more physical games we have had this season but it wasn’t something we’re unaccustomed to.”
Santa Clara entered the match with one of the strongest defenses in the WCC, letting in .65 goals per match. Santa Clara ranks 33rd in the nation in scoring defense.
And though their back line has proven they hold up well under pressure, the Broncos’ offense leaves something to be desired. In nine games, the Broncos have netted only seven goals. But on Sunday, both the defense and offense struggled.
“We need to be a lot sharper on defensive set pieces,” Castro said. “We played really well and I think we were really on top of USF the entire second half. If we can continue to dominate games like that, then I’m confident that wins will follow.”
The Broncos kept up with the Dons when it came to shots. Santa Clara tallied 11 to USF’s 12 but came up short each time, while USF was able to convert on two occasions.
“We did a good job for most of the game,” said head coach Cameron Rast. “But there were two set pieces where guys just lost their marks. We haven’t had that this year. But, credit to them, they were good. They were good on set pieces tonight and that was the difference in the game.”
Perhaps USF was able to outperform the Broncos due to their fresh legs. The Dons took a two-week break from competition before taking the field against Santa Clara.
This had to help in a physical match. Five yellows were handed out, three to the Broncos and two to the Dons. 21 fouls were called in total.
The Broncos return home on Friday, Oct. 14 for another league match against our neighbors to the North: Gonzaga University.
When it comes to Friday’s game some adjustments need to be made in order to secure the victory.
“I think that it is important for us to really focus on our composure in front of goal and continue to work together in solidifying our defense,” Masch said.
Kickoff against the Zags is at 7 p.m. at Stevens Stadium.
Contact Claire McLoughlin at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4852.