Tough start for men’s soccer in UAA
The men’s soccer team’s 2–1 loss to the University of Chicago on Saturday ended with a frightening incident.
In the 90th minute, senior midfielder Jerome Reano chased a loose ball outside the Chicago penalty box, but as the ball bounced in the air and Chicago goalkeeper Brett Wiesen went up to punch it, Wiesen hit Reano’s head instead. Reano fell to the turf and laid there for 15 minutes before being carried off the field on a stretcher.
Reano entered the game in the 82nd minute after a Chicago goal gave them a 2–1 lead, and he made an immediate impact. The speedy midfielder chased loose balls and pressured a Chicago defender into clearing the ball over the goal line in the 87th minute for a Tartan corner kick.
Reano sustained a concussion from the play, and he received stitches to his ear. Although Wiesen was given a straight red card, the Tartans didn’t see any malicious intent — it was just a hard play.
“I think [Wiesen] was trying to get the ball, and I don’t think he expected Jerome to be as fast as he was.... It was a bad collision,” said head coach Arron Lujan.
“Obviously, they were both going for the ball ... but it was an ugly play to see,” said first-year Tristan Lockwood.
Outstanding play by Tartan midfielders gave the team a great chance to win despite sloppy play from the defenders and limited touches for senior forwards Max Tassano and Chris Wysocki.
Although the Tartans generated more scoring opportunities and possessed the ball better, Chicago’s tight defense made a big difference. “Their defense played well. They were compact and weren’t giving us much space,” Lockwood said.
Chicago maintained a high line of defense and was successful in limiting touches for forwards Wysocki and Tassano; when they did possess the ball, however, it was near the center line and often with their backs facing goal.
“Our forwards are players who show for the ball and want the ball at their feet. They’re not forwards who look to get in behind players,” Lujan said. “At times it became very predictable what we were going to do, and they were able to keep a really high line.”
The Carnegie Mellon defense, on the other hand, struggled to clear the ball and suffered from poor communication.
Chicago scored first in the 10th minute when Chicago’s Nic Lopez was left unmarked in the far post and headed in a corner kick.
The Tartans tied the score four minutes later when senior defender Ben Bryant’s free kick dipped perfectly into the back of the net.
Misplays from the back four continued, however. A poor clearance from defender Jakob Rohwer led to a one-on-one opportunity for Chicago in the 43rd minute, but goalkeeper Christopher Madden jumped from his line to make a close-range save.
Chicago’s Lopez also scored the final goal of the game in the 79th minute off another header.
Moments before, the Tartans had a great opportunity to score when Lockwood sent a cross to senior midfielder Mike Ferraco, who was free on the left side of the field. Ferraco took a touch back in and had a wide-open look at the far post, but he shot wide and high.
“We were just really hesitant in the back,” Lujan said. “We’ve been so solid there over the last eight games, that it’s really surprising that it would happen now.”
“We dominated in the second half, I thought. We just couldn’t finish, and we had a defensive lapse on that goal,” he said.
After a disappointing start to University Athletic Association (UAA) Conference play, the Tartans will move on this Saturday as they visit Washington University in St. Louis.
“It’s one game. We still got six games in UAA to prove ourselves, and we’re still positive going forward,” Lockwood said.