Fort Lewis edges Mesa men’s soccer team
The Colorado Mesa University men’s soccer team has had plenty of close losses this year, but Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Fort Lewis at Walker Field hurt a little more than the rest.
In the second game of the year against the Skyhawks, the Mavericks (3-10-1, 3-7-0 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) had several chances to score, but lost because of one mistake to the top-ranked team in the nation.
“It’s a real tough loss, to be honest,” CMU forward Danny Molineaux said. “We made one mistake and we paid for it.
“The only chance they got we pretty much gave to them,”
That mistake was a simple defensive breakdown in the 62nd minute.
The Skyhawks (13-0-0, 9-0-0 RMAC) upped the offensive tempo in the second half and had worked the ball into the box.
Midfielder Alberto Rodriguez got the ball midway in on the left side and shot it towards the center of the net. CMU goalie Micah Conrads deflected the shot to his left, toward Fort Lewis forward Derek Freeman, who kicked it in on the rebound.
“When you play a team like that, you defend a lot,” Mesa coach Josh Pittman said. “We made a mistake, they capitalized and we didn’t capitalize on our chances.”
Those chances didn’t come often for the Mavs.
From the opening kick, Fort Lewis controlled possession. Early on, the Skyhawks played the ball between the back defensive line and midfielders, but by the second half put more emphasis on controlling within CMU’s defensive half.
When the Mavericks got the ball, they took a patient approach but were constantly stifled by Fort Lewis’ defense, which would quickly close in on the ball and gave CMU’s offense little wiggle room and led to the Skyhawks’ ninth shutout of the year.
“They’re the number one team in the nation for a reason and that’s because they close down quickly,” Molineaux said.
CMU was outshot 12-7, but only 5-3 on goal.
The Mavs’ first shot on goal came in the 34th minute. Forward Brandon Burton got the ball just outside the box and juked towards the center of the field. He took an open shot right at Fort Lewis goalie Ryan Wirth.
CMU had another near miss in the 39th minute after a foul. On the free kick, Jeremy Gwerder kept the ball low, but his shot went wide left by less than two feet.
In the 61st minute, Molineaux nearly scored.
CMU midfielder Marco Escobar worked the ball into the middle of the box, passed it to Molineaux on the right, who kicked it toward the upper right side of the goal. Once again, Wirth got in the way of it.
Fort Lewis’ goal came only a minute later.
Throughout the game, the teams got both physical and talkative, which led to seven yellow cards, four to CMU.
Molineaux said the loss was even harder to take because it followed a 2-1 overtime win against then No. 14-ranked Metro State on Sunday.
“We were coming in with confidence,” he said. “To lose it like that is a tough one for sure.”