Sept. 11, 2009
DEKALB, Ill. -
The Northern Illinois men's soccer team created numerous scoring opportunities early on but couldn't capitalize and surrendered a late goal to fall to the 21st-ranked Tulsa Hurricanes 1-0 in opening night action of the adaidas/Magnuson Inn and Suites Invitational at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex Friday night.
The 22nd-ranked Huskies (1-2-1) dominated play for stretches early in the first half and even had a throw-in almost find the net in the 9th minute. However, Tulsa (2-1-1) picked up the pace in the second half and finally broke the scoreless tie in the 74th minute when forward Jose Parada found an open net after a scramble in front and scored the game-winner.
NIU spent the majority of the last ten minutes of the match in Tulsa's half and earned nine corner kicks overall but couldn't find the net despite all the great opportunities.
"We weren't as sharp today as we have been lately," head men's soccer coach Eric Luzzi said. "In the first half, our passing and movement off the ball was a little sloppy and our set piece execution was poor in the second half."
"We had nine corner kicks and eight to ten throw-ins that we could have capitalized on. That's twenty great scoring chances in their half and we have to find a way to score when given those opportunities."
The Huskies best scoring chance of the night came in the 82nd minute, when senior forward Ben Thomas (Hamilton, Ohio/Fairfield) found an open lane down the right side and was all alone from five yards out but fired a shot just wide of the goal.
Offensively, the Huskies had eight total shots, including two shots on goal from senior midfielder Luis De La Cerda (Guadalajara, Mexico/Waubonsie Valley). NIU earned seven corner kicks in the second half, as well as a handful of free kicks from close range.
Freshman goalkeeper Jordan Godsey (Ocean Springs, Miss./Ocean Springs) tied his career-high with six saves and the NIU defense surrendered only one corner kick.
After facing two ranked teams in the past week, the Huskies schedule doesn't get any easier as NIU will host 2008 Summit League champion Oakland, Sunday at 2:30 p.m. In earlier action Friday, the Golden Grizzles fell 2-1 to Northwestern at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex.
"Oakland is very talented and they will be disappointed with their result with Northwestern today," said Luzzi. "They are going to come right at us and it's going to be a battle. Every match is a battle and the margin of error is so small. We just have to make sure our details are right and we'll be fine."