Broncos overpower Thundering Herd

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MU Herd Soccer game on August 26, 2016 in Huntington, WV. Herd loses 2-0 versus Western Michigan.

Ryan Fischer | The Parthenon
Sophomore defender John Pappas returns the ball to play during the match against Western Michigan at the Hoops Family Field, August 26, 2016.

Marshall University’s men’s soccer team faced off against Western Michigan University Friday for their first game of the season.

A Marshall attacking play losing possession to the Western Michigan side became the most commented upon play as fans of both teams watched the evening match up.

“We went deep into the bench to deal with the heat,” Western Michigan head coach Chad Wiseman said. “We went deeper in the second half and that’s where it paid off.”

While Marshall rotated a few players too, there was a quick turnaround for the Thundering Herd as they were to play again Sunday afternoon, which may have been a factor in the use of the substitutions.

The heat was clearly a factor as the opening kickoff was accompanied by a temperature of over 90 degrees.

“We never really mustered any kind of quality in the final third,” Marshall University assistant coach Thomas Olivier said about his team’s offense. He maintained that a little more polish would have made a big difference in the outcome of the game, but also mentioned that it is still the first game of the season.

MU Herd Soccer game on August 26, 2016 in Huntington, WV. Herd loses 2-0 versus Western Michigan.

Ryan Fischer | The Parthenon
Senior midfielder Daniel Jodah holds possession during the match against Western Michigan at the Hoops Family Field, August 26, 2016.

The first half was dominated in possession by Western Michigan. The Broncos maintained a large portion of the ball which led to multiple attacks, but the Marshall goal keeper, Nate Himes, and his back line remained solid as they did not allow anything to go in the net, with several great opportunities. Western Michigan had at least two great opportunities to ripple the net when Himes was beat, but the team was completely supporting him as he kept hold of the defensive structure, clearing both attempts off the line.

Marshall had its share of opportunities as well. Although not keep the ball for extended periods of time, the Herd offense came to life in spurts, with the better opportunities coming off long passes connecting with players in the open field. One such play resulted in Western Michigan University being caught out of position and Hunter Vandonboom committing a foul just outside the goal box. It resulted in him receiving a yellow card and his ejection from the contest. The following free kick went into the box when it appeared to hit off a Western Michigan University defender’s wrist. Marshall players appealed to the official, but no penalty kick was awarded.

MU Herd Soccer game on August 26, 2016 in Huntington, WV. Herd loses 2-0 against Western Michigan.

Ryan Fischer | The Parthenon
Sophomore midfielder Jacob Purpero keeps the ball in play during the game versus Western Michigan at the Hoops Family Field, August 26, 2016.

The second half was more of the same for the game, although Marshall played much better after the break. While Western Michigan controlled a large portion of possession, Marshall took a little more control of the game. The problems for the Herd were two fold. The attacking at the offensive end of the field got sloppy and the numbers going forward left Marshall open to counter attacks, which resulted in both Western Michigan goals.

While the Herd was showing signs of life, ultimately the untimely turnovers with defenders moving forward led to one on one shots, with both shots being true and rippling the mesh. Himes was in great position to make both saves, but the shots left very little time to react, and the best players in the world have trouble making those type of saves.

Joseph Ashley can be contacted at [email protected]

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