Herd men’s soccer set for top-15, conference tilt with Kentucky

Members+of+the+Marshall+University+soccer+team+celebrate+Vitor+Dias%E2%80%99+game-winning+goal+against+Bowling+Green+Feb.+27.

Zachary Hiser

Members of the Marshall University soccer team celebrate Vitor Dias’ game-winning goal against Bowling Green Feb. 27.

Heading on the road for a top-15 matchup, the Marshall men’s soccer team is gearing up to face the University of Kentucky Thursday at 5:00 p.m. in Lexington for an in-conference showdown.

The game will be the Herd’s third conference game of the season; Marshall beat the University of South Carolina on the road 2-0 and Florida International University at home 1-0. 

Kentucky has played the same amount of conference games, losing to Charlotte 2-1 in overtime and beating Florida Atlantic 3-1.

The Thundering Herd and the Wildcats last met in the Conference USA semifinals, in which the Herd topped the Wildcats 1-0. Marshall, in turn, moved onto the conference championship game and was crowed the 2019 C-USA Champion. 

Although Marshall got the best of Kentucky last season, UK leads the all-time series 11-6-2, winning five straight from 2012 to 2016. 

So far this season, the Marshall offense has been led by junior midfielder Vitor Dias; he has scored six goals and added two assists. 

C-USA preseason offensive player of the year Milo Yosef has been held in check for the most part, scoring two goals on a team-leading 13 shots on goal. 

In the box, goalkeeper Oliver Semmle has had the task of replacing Paulo Pita. Through seven games, Semmle has seven saves and a save percentage of .700.

On the other side, the Wildcats’ scoring has been more balanced, with three players tied for the team lead in goals. Sophomore forward Eythor Bjorgolfsson, junior forward Daniel Evans, and junior forward Brock Lindow have four goals apiece. 

Kentucky has played a total of 13 games compared to Marshall’s seven, yet Marshall has scored 18 goals on the season, closely behind Kentucky’s 23. Albeit, Marshall scored 10 goals in one game against WVU Tech. Also, Kentucky’s statistics stretch back to games it was able to play in the fall.

In the spring, Kentucky has played one less game than the Herd. Moreover, two of the six teams UK has played this spring have been Marshall like-opponents – Akron and Bowling Green. 

Marshall’s lone defeat of the season came in a 2-1 overtime loss to Akron; Kentucky tied with the Zips 1-1 after two overtime periods. Both Marshall and Kentucky defeated Bowling Green 1-0. 

The in-conference matchup between Marshall and Kentucky begins at 5:00 p.m. Thursday, and it can be watched on ESPN+.

Grant Goodrich can be contacted at [email protected]