The men’s soccer game against Duke started off rather quickly on Tuesday night.
Just three and a half minutes into the match at Koskinen Stadium, one player had scored from each side. Duke’s Cameron Moseley tallied his third goal of the season in just under three minutes, which was immediately followed by Temple’s Joonas Jokinen finding the back of the net minute and a half later, marking his first career collegiate goal.
Coach David MacWilliams said that was one of the biggest factors in his team’s loss to the Blue Devils. He added that the hectic opening was a result of multiple factors.
“It was high pressure, and end-to-end [play],” MacWilliams said. “And in any situation like that, you have guys who don’t track back, and [the other team] is able to create numbers up[field], and they’re able to capitalize on that.”
What really ended up being the Owls’ kryptonite on Tuesday was Moseley, who tallied another goal with less than five minutes remaining, ending any chance of a Temple comeback.
MacWilliams was impressed with how Duke’s freshman midfielder performed against his squad.
“He’s a handful,” MacWilliams said. “He’s a very good player. He’s a handful to contain, and I thought we did a pretty good job. Obviously the last goal was a result of us pushing up, which is going to leave us exposed at the back.”
MacWilliams added that his defense seemed overmatched at times by Duke’s athleticism and that there were points in the transition game that should’ve been handled more soundly than what actually occurred.
Switching over to the offensive side of the match, Temple and Duke matched up pretty evenly in the shot column, with the Owls tallying 11 and the Blue Devils reaching 13.
But that stat overshadows the fact that Jokinen and freshman Olli Tynkkynen have tallied for three of the four goals so far this year. Tynkkynen also assisted on Jokinen’s goal on Tuesday, further illustrating how much of the offense has run through the two Finnish players on MacWilliams’ squad.
Temple’s fifteen-year coach said this lack of outside offensive production is a problem.
“We’re not having enough guys who are finding the scoring sheet,” MacWilliams said. “We need more than just one or two guys showing up in that scoring sheet.”
Perhaps a reason for the lack of scoring was how the match became rougher as it progressed. Five players were handed yellow cards, three of which were handed out within a span of about two minutes in the first half.
The other two were both issued at the same time with just over five minutes remaining in the second half. Temple had brought up goalie Dan Scheck on a corner kick, a common tactic used by teams looking to snag a late tying goal.
MacWilliams said that after a foul occurred in Duke’s box, Scheck engaged in a skirmish with a Duke player. After that player retaliated, sophomore defender Rob Sagel came to his goalie’s aid, much like what occurs when hockey players go after an opponent’s goalie.
When the dust had settled, Sagel and Duke’s Brody Huitema had both been issued a yellow card.
Much like the game against Duke, it was just a microcosm of a competitive match, which MacWilliams thought was handled fairly by the referee.
“In a game like this, it does get chippy,” MacWilliams said. “It’s just the way the game went…I think the ref thought there were [instances] where the players reacted when they shouldn’t have, but from both teams.”
The Owls will return to Philadelphia on Saturday to face off against La Salle at McCarthy Stadium at 1 p.m. MacWilliams said that his team needs to improve on a few simple things to get out of their current two-match losing streak.
“We gotta finish our chances,” MacWilliams said. “And we gotta convert on set pieces.”
MacWilliams added that wins ultimately come from both sides of the ball.
We gotta score some goals, and keep other teams off the board.”
Steve Bohnel can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @SteveSportsGuy1.