Aug 23, 2013
DEKALB, Ill. -- The Northern Illinois men’s soccer team will return to the field on Saturday, Aug. 24, for its final exhibition match when the Huskies travel to Chicago to face UIC. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., at Flames Field.
In their first preseason match of the fall, played after just three days of training, NIU was held to a 0-0 draw against IUPUI. Despite dominating the stats and possession, the Huskies could not find a breakthrough against the Jaguars. Northern Illinois registered a 9-2 advantage in shots on goal in the match, while also hitting the post twice and having a penalty kick saved.
“We will expect more in terms of general understanding, our shape, our system, the runs that need to be made, how we defend and where we defend,” NIU head coach Eric Luzzi said about Saturday’s contest. “After three days you only get a chance to work on each one of those aspects maybe once, now we have had the chance to work on them two, three, four times. Hopefully we have ingrained a couple of qualities in the group and overall we have seen progress.”
UIC posted a 7-8-2 record in 2012 and return three All-Horizon League players, Jesus Torres, Josh Beard and Thomas Villamil, from a season ago. The Flames began their preseason this past Monday, Aug. 19, with a 2-1 victory over Wisconsin.
With a week to go until the regular season opener, Luzzi has been pleased with what he has seen.
“It’s been good on the whole,” said the fifth-year Huskie head coach. “There have been a couple of moments where I have had to get in to individuals, or the group, but on the whole, in most areas we are ahead of where we were last year. There are a couple of things we have to refine and get sharper but it has been a good couple of weeks. This has been a fun group to work with, I’m excited about tomorrow and I’m excited about next week.
Following Saturday’s exhibition, Northern Illinois will return to action on Friday, Aug. 30, when it opens the 2013 regular season against Cincinnati in Columbus, Ohio, at the Wolstein Classic. The contest against the Bearcats is scheduled for 4 p.m. CT.