Thanks to the thing of evil that we call the quarter system, Northwestern fall sports teams have played almost half their regular season games by the time students actually arrive to campus. Now that just about everyone is back in Evanston and Wildcat Welcome is coming to a close, here’s what you missed in men’s soccer.
Men’s soccer is off to a tough – and perhaps slightly unlucky – start in the 2017 season. At 1-6-0 (0-3-0 B1G), Northwestern is tied with Rutgers for last in the Big Ten. After beating Valparaiso in overtime in their first game, the ‘Cats have lost six straight, including a 2-0 loss at home to Indiana last night.
Despite their record, the ‘Cats haven’t been dominated in every game – they’ve never lost by more than two, and they’ve never allowed more than three goals in a game. That said, the offense has struggled mightily: NU has scored just four goals on the season, second to worst in the B1G. After finishing last in the B1G last season in goals per game (.83), Northwestern is struggling to prove that they’ve moved past last year’s offensive struggles.
Unfortunately, this isn’t too inconsistent with NU’s past – last season, Northwestern’s start was nearly identical. They won their first game but lost their next five before tying their seventh game. They picked it up to some extent down the stretch, eventually finishing 6-11-1 (3-4-1 B1G), so there are some signs of hope for the ‘Cats.
The ‘Cats definitely face quite a bit of turnover from last season – three of their top four goal scorers are gone, and they added seven first-year’s to the roster, one of whom (Garrett Opperman) actually leads the team in minutes so far this season.
The ‘Cats also feature a new face at goalkeeper: freshman Miha Miskovic, a highly-regarded recruit from the Chicago Fire’s academy team. Miskovic took over for senior Francisco Tomasino three games into the season, and he has a slightly higher save percentage (.643) than Tomasino did (.556) to start the year.
On the offensive end, no players have more than one goal or more than two points as the ‘Cats continuously struggle to find offense. If they want to get going on offense, Northwestern has to hope that Francisco’s brother, Mattias Tomasino, can find his groove after being named to the Big Ten all-rookie team last year. Tomasino, who has no goals and one assist, was the only member of the team to be named to any of the Big Ten all-star teams last year.
Unfortunately, the upcoming schedule doesn’t look much better for NU. Their next opponent, UIC, is just 1-4-1 thus far this season, but after that, NU has two tough conference opponents in Michigan and Maryland. ‘Cats fans have to hope the offense finds a way to get going if they want to rebound from another tough start to the season.