Missed Chances Doom UCI
UC Irvine men’s soccer suffered a devastating double overtime loss this week against UC Davis, 2-1, on Wednesday. The loss brings the Anteaters to a conference record of 0-2-0 in the Big West and 6-4-0 overall.
Late in the second overtime, Paul Marcoux of the Aggies was able to find a hole in the Anteater defense and broke away with the ball with only junior goalkeeper Victor Chinchilla in his way. Chinchilla was unable to stop the Davis attack as Marcoux netted a goal to give the Aggies a win at 105:45.
“We worked on preventing these specific situations—preventing the counter attack as they did. We just did not execute it in the game,” head coach George Kuntz said.
The Anteaters came off the blocks running, gaining a quick lead in the first half at 10:24. Junior, Corey Attaway, pocketed his first goal of the season from the right side of the box through traffic off of an assist from senior Irving Garcia.
However, the Anteaters had a defensive lapse when Nathan Javadi of UC Davis spiked a header into the Irvine net.
“There was a breakdown on defense at certain times. I don’t know what happened … we did not focus on defense. We gave up goals we shouldn’t have,” Kuntz said.
The Aggies had just four shots overall, but made both their shots on goal.
The Anteaters’ starting goalie, sophomore Andrew Fontein, was out due to an injury. Chinchilla, playing in only his second game was unable to snag a single save.
Fontein however, was only one of a long list of injuries the Anteaters’ had to endure during the game. Three of Irvine’s starters suffered from some sort of injury.
“Right now, we are a beat up and bruised, and it hurts our performance,” Kuntz said. “However, we cannot use that as an excuse for playing poorly.”
After going scoreless for the rest of the first half, the Anteaters had a chance to pull away in the second half when junior Amani Walker received a penalty kick at the 63- minute mark. Walker shot a bullet into the lower left corner of the goal where it was saved by Davis goalkeeper Ryan McCowan.
“It was a missed chance. We take [penalty kicks] every practice and before the games. Amani usually makes [penalty kicks]. We just did not execute,” Kuntz said.
However, it was not just the penalty kick that Irvine failed to execute. The Anteaters’ offense struggled to convert the entire game. UC Irvine took seven corner kicks in the second half, and three more in the overtime periods alone.
Adding to the Anteaters’ offensive problem, McCowan performed exceptionally saving five of Irvine’s six shots on goal. However, aside from McCowan, the Davis’ defense was lackluster. UCI was able to take 11 shots overall.
“We shot ourselves in the foot. It was not the defense. I thought the goalkeeper played exceptionally well, but really we just did not execute,” Kuntz said.
After a close loss last week against UC Santa Barbara, 0-1, and again against UC Davis, the Anteaters now must attempt to regroup for two tough upcoming away games against New Mexico and Cal State Northridge.
The Anteaters’ game against New Mexico State on October 7 is in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a non-conference tilt.