Monday, September 23, 2013

#12 Mercyhurst Blanks UDC 2-0

Oh so close: Elio Hernandez (#8) hits the post in 1st Half

The UDC Men's Soccer Team looked a lot fresher this afternoon, but had a tough time matching up with the 12th ranked team in the country. The Mercyhurst Lakers (5-2) shutout the Firebirds 2-0, on a pair of first half goals by Danny Deakin and Matt Campana: All-star junior Fernando Martinez assisted on both. UDC lost its third straight, dropping to 4-3 overall.

Firebirds goalkeeper Louis Connor actually outplayed his Laker counterpart; but that's what happens when you get outshot again (20-12.) Finnish grad student Mikko Sarkkinen made just three saves (half as many as Johnson) while recording his second shutout of the season. Connor could just as easily have had a shutout; but UDC suffered some defensive lapses in between the boxes in the first half. One minute, they were aggressive... the next, huge spaces for Laker forwards to exploit.

Another close one: Bakary Coulibaly (#20) almost scores

And exploit they did, especially on Deakin's goal less than five minutes in. The speedy freshman from Sheffield, England raced through the Firebirds D, leaving them in transition (and the dust.) He nailed a bomb from almost 20 yards away, and UDC played catch-up to no avail the remainder of the game. Granted, they're nationally ranked; but Mercyhurst didn't look that much better, outside of a superior passing game.

UDC, once again playing without dynamic midfielder Roque Hernandez had trouble penetrating the Lakers defensive wall, especially in the first half (just one shot on goal.) They were a little more aggressive in the second half, but were still outshot (13-7) despite being two goals down. Corner kicks were another sore spot: Mercyhurst had five compared to UDC's one.

Junior Atunde Akum (#5)

On a positive note, UDC has three full days to rest up for Friday's 2:00 PM showdown with Lock Haven, the final game of the Firebirds' eight game home stand to open up the season. Another loss would certainly hurt; but a win would improve UDC's record to 5-3, almost halfway through the regular season. With one goal in their last three games, it would be nice to see an offensive surge for the home crowd.

Click here for today's box score.