Men’s soccer settles for draw with Clemson

By on October 25, 2014

By Haley O’Shaughnessy

Louisville and Clemson went into the match on Friday tied, and they left it tied.

On paper, Louisville and Clemson were evenly matched teams. Both came off of multiple wins- three and two, respectively. Louisville went into the game as the number 11 team in the country, and although Clemson was not ranked, they had just beaten two ranked opponents in number six Virginia and number 21 Coastal Carolina. Louisville was 8-5-1 overall, and Clemson was 8-6. Most importantly, however, Louisville and Clemson were both 4-2 in ACC conference play, tying them for first place (with Syracuse) in the Atlantic Division. The winner would have claimed first place, if only there was a winner. The game ended in a double overtime 0-0 draw.

Although the precursor and the end result would mark the teams even, the game could have very easily been a 4-0 match in Louisville’s favor, if the Cards could only bring some of the attempts at goal to fruition. The first half was quiet, with both teams lacking offensive mobility. The half was highlighted in the 18th minute when a corner kick by Santiago Vélez became the closest to a goal so far. Almost three minutes after, a backwards nutmeg-turned-pass from Will Vitalis became a soaring cross over the middle from Vélez, which was nearly tipped in by sophomore Andrew Brody. The rest of the half remained stiff for both teams, resulting in frustration, a few fouls called and yellow cards, and only a few more attempts at goal.

Coach Lola chalked it up to the team’s mentality.

“We talked about it at halftime, that we were a little bit stagnant. There just wasn’t enough movement. When you talk about things being fluid, it’s all about movement. The ball can only move when the players move first.”

The second half brought many more chances than the half before it. The Cardinals possessed the ball a great majority of the time, finding new ways each possession to get past a tall back line. The opportunities were there- from the three back-to-back corner kicks in the immediate minutes after the half, to the shot from Louie Berra deceptively hitting just the outside of the net in the 56th minute. A few times, those opportunities missed literally by inches, like when Will Vitalis created yet another wide open shot for himself that hit the left post. The score remained zero-all at the end of regulation.

Two sudden-death style overtimes of ten minutes each brought the same intensity. Vitalis, again, was mere feet away from the goal twice in the first ten minutes, but could not make an attempt on goal. In the second overtime, more devastatingly close shots were had, the last by Clemson. With four seconds to go, Clemson shoots and scores, only to have the goal retracted due to fallen goalkeeper (Clemson knocking down Louisville’s Joe Ball in the box).

The game could have helped Louisville’s tournament fate, but the Cardinals still feel in control of it. Defender Daniel Keller said,

“We are continuing to pursue our goals, and right now we have control of everything: winning our division, winning the ACC championship, and winning a national championship.”


Photo by Austin Lassell / The Louisville Cardinal

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