It was a cold, misty night at the Temple Sports Complex on Saturday as Temple (6-3-1, 0-1-1 American Athletic Conference) took on the Memphis Tigers in its conference home-opener. With slick conditions on the playing field, both teams had a difficult time finding their footing on offense in the scoreless draw.
“I think the boys like it a little slick on the field,” senior defender Stefan Mueller said. “I know that Memphis never plays on turf, so it was difficult for them because they have a grass field. The conditions made the ball move fast tonight, but both teams had to adjust.”
Both teams had many shots sail off target and over the goal, which led to few legitimate scoring chances. While both teams filled the stat line with shot attempts, the Owls with 25 shots and Memphis with 12, a small percentage of those attempts were near the net. Out of the Owls’ 25 shots, only seven were on goal, and only four of the 12 shots for Memphis were on goal.
The players and coaches were hesitant to use the slippery field as an excuse for the lack of offense, despite there being multiple instances where players tripped up attempting to move the ball down the field.
“These guys have played in a light mist before,” coach David MacWilliams said. “I don’t really think that it affected the game. We just didn’t finish our chances.”
The field conditions certainly did not affect the Owls’ defense. Saturday was Temple’s third clean sheet in its past four games. In that four game stretch, the Owls have only conceded one goal.
“That was a big takeaway from today,” Mueller said. “Getting a clean sheet is huge for us. One of our goals for the season was to only let up a certain amount of goals and at home we’ve been doing well. We just need to take it on the road next game.”
The Owls are undefeated at home, where they have allowed one goal in six games. The team is 1-3 on the road, allowing six goals.
Temple takes a break from conference play to face Villanova in a Philadelphia Soccer Six matchup on Tuesday at the Temple Sports Complex. It looks like there will be another misty forecast for game time, with a 40 percent chance of rain for the day. The Owls will be looking for another clean sheet with a balanced attack that does not solely rely on senior midfielder Jorge Gomez Sanchez, who has scored 10 of the team’s 17 goals.
“We’ve been saying all along, ‘If the other team can’t score, they can’t win,’” MacWilliams said. “We wanted to make sure we were solid defensively. We need other people than Jorge to step up and score goals. I think that’s important for us to be successful.”
Addison Hunsicker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.