Despite playing with a man advantage for the entire second half, the Ohio State men’s soccer team fell to the South Florida Bulls on Friday night, in their first of back-to-back home games.
The opening half was marked by a midfield struggle as neither team was able to accomplish much offensively, save for the lone goal scored by South Florida senior forward Tomasz Skublak, in the 32nd minute.
Skublak knocked his header in off an assist from sophomore defender Jonathan Rosales.
High drama unfolded at the close of the first half, as Skublak was given a yellow card as a result of an aggressive takedown of Buckeyes junior defender CC Uche.
Uche took exception to the tackle and a scrum ensued as the benches cleared.
At the opening of the second half of play, it was announced that Skublak’s yellow card, had been changed to a red card, leading to his disqualification.
Despite playing with a man advantage, the Buckeyes were unable to find the goal they have searching desperately for the entire season.After the game, the focus was squarely on the offense.
“I think we just need a little more composure around the box, take those chances,” redshirt senior midfielder Brady Blackwell said. “Soccer, it’s a game, it’s low scoring, so when you get a chance, you need to put it away.”
In the 70th minute, Ohio State senior forward Michael Prosuk hit the post on a free kick. The ball bounced onto the head of redshirt sophomore forward Jake Scheper who couldn’t put away the shot as his try fell to the feet of sophomore midfielder, Mitch Bergman. Bergman put his subsequent shot right into the waiting arms of the goaltender, tucked away in the right corner.
“We’ve got to get reps around goal, reps around goal, reps around goals. Again we’re creating them, we just got to tuck them away,” head coach Brian Maisonneuve said.
Blackwell said he hopes that goal is on its way soon, which would result in a welcomed relief for his team.
“Sometimes that’s how it goes,” Blackwell said. “You get your first goal, and then they start rolling. You get some momentum, so I think we’re just looking to get that first one, so hopefully it comes Tuesday [against Bowling Green] and we can pour some more on.”
Despite the offensive struggles, Maisonneuve expressed optimism regarding the defense, something he says is a critical part of his philosophy.
“We focus on team defending, because I’m a true believer defense wins championships,” Maisonneuve said.” We’ve got to get reps around the goal, I think defensively we’ve been pretty good. Still letting up a couple too many chances.”
One of the bright spots tonight for the Buckeyes, was the play of the defense and the play of redshirt junior goaltender Parker Siegfried, who collected a season-high six saves, something he has done consistently for the Buckeyes all season.
“So far this fall, we’ve only given up a goal a game, which is pretty good,” Siegfried said. “A lot of teams don’t do that. So, if we can keep that going, and we can start scoring some goals on the other end, then good things will happen.”
The Buckeyes will play again on Tuesday, facing Bowling Green at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Opening kick is scheduled for 7 pm.