One month into Penn men’s soccer’s season, the team has already set a clear trend: scoreless draws.
For the third time this season, the Quakers ended a contest in a 0-0 tie, this time against Marist. After 110 minutes, the Quakers (2-1-3) and Red Foxes (1-3-2) had to settle for a point a piece. This is the fifth time Penn has gone to overtime this season, and the minutes are starting to add up.
The first half performances by both sides were highly indicative of the score, with neither side creating any serious chances. For the first 30 minutes, the majority of the action was in the midfield, with junior caption Brandon Bartel controlling things offensively and defensively for the Quakers.
Towards the end of the half, the Red Foxes started to put a bit more pressure on Penn’s defense. In the 40th minute, Marist senior forward Alexandre Reis hit a knuckling shot that forced senior goalie Scott Forbes into a save down to left. Marist followed this up with three consecutive corner kicks, the most dangerous of which would have ended up in the back of the net if not for some last-ditch defending by the Quakers.
Marist continued this pressure throughout the second half, dominating the possession battle and creating 11 shots to Penn’s two. Marist freshman midfielder Skylar Conway in particular created problems for Penn’s defense, making runs and challenging defenders one-on-one down the left side. His best chance came in the 66th minute, when he cut into the box and fired two shots from close range in quick succession. Forbes stood tall and the game remained scoreless.
After 90 minutes, the Red Foxes were clearly the better team. But as has been the case all season, Penn’s defensive structure kept them in a good position to get a result.
The Quakers were unable to make adjustments in either overtime period, with Marist continuing to have the majority of the opportunities. Their momentum was taken out of the game, however, when Penn midfielder Jerel Blades took a clearance straight to the head. He was down for several minutes, but was able to walk off of the field under his own power.
The Red Foxes pushed for a game-winner right up until the end, but Reis was unable to finish off a great buildup by pulling his shot wide to Forbes’ right in the dying moments of the game.
The Quakers finish off a four-game road trip going 1-1-2, only scoring one goal over the 420 minutes. They return home to play Bucknell on Tuesday, and with Ivy play looming, the Red and Blue are going to need to make some offensive improvements if they want to get back to their winning ways.
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