Students are still moving into their dorms at Drexel University, but on Tuesday night there was plenty of school spirit in the stands when Temple’s men’s soccer team traveled west to compete in a crosstown matchup between the two Philadelphia Soccer Six rivals. On a breezy, late summer night, Vidas Field hosted more than 1,200 fans, a crowd large enough to make for an intense setting.
“It was a great atmosphere,” Temple head coach David MacWilliams said. “I think the players like to play in front of a crowd…and in an event like this at a soccer game, with a great crowd, it was a pleasure to do.”
Though the Owls put up a valiant effort, Drexel’s fan support may have been a factor in Temple’s 3-2 sudden death defeat in overtime. Several times throughout the contest, Temple’s players seemed to struggle communicating on both sides of the ball, which showed through their frustrated body language and sloppy possessions. Each team scored twice in the first half, but the game remained scoreless until freshman Carlos Cuevas’ game-winning goal.
Drexel blue-and-gold filled the stands, and a hill on the east side of the field accommodated even more of the Dragons student body. Students aggressively stomped on the bleachers as pro-Drexel chants rained throughout the complex and the energy of Drexel’s welcome week overcame the Owls.
“When I got here, they said that they were having a student orientation,” MacWilliams said. “They had all the freshmen having their dinner here tonight, so it was definitely going to be a big crowd.”
This was a big game for Drexel, who had started the year 0-2-2. The school provided shuttle buses for fans to encourage more students to make the trip from main campus to Vidas Field. What would have been originally a 20 minute, one-mile walk was made into an effortless five minute bus ride thanks to the student shuttles.
The soccer game was listed as one of the welcome week events on the schedule for students moving in, which also helped to bring out more people. Other student-athletes also came out in support, like Drexel’s men’s basketball team who jubilantly cheered in the front row as Cuevas’ shot rocketed into Temple’s net in the 97th minute.
The Owls have lost two straight games, both on the road. They return to the Temple Sports Complex on Saturday for a match against Fairfield University, hoping to get home field advantage of their own.
Austin Ampeloquio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AustinPaulAmp.