David MacWilliams didn’t mince words.
“We have to stop looking for excuses and try to find solutions,” Temple’s men’s soccer coach said.
An afternoon that was meant to celebrate four years of work by the five seniors on the team ended in disappointment. Temple fell to Tulsa by a 2-1 score after a game-winning header by junior defender Bradley Bourgeois in the second period of overtime.
Sophomore defender Robert Sagle of the Owls voiced his frustration with the loss for the seniors on the team.
“We battled for the entire game,” Sagle said. “I thought we deserved better. I thought our seniors deserved better today, and we owe them everything. They’ve worked hard all year and for four years. It’s been an honor.”
The game opened up with senior forward Chas Wilson’s fourth goal of the year on a fumbled ball by Tulsa goalie Jake McGuire in the third minute of the game. Junior midfielder/forward Jared Martinelli set him up with a chip into the box.
The score remained 1-0 for the rest of the half due to physical play and stingy defense on both sides. Sagle talked about physicality being a key to the game.
“We knew they had some big physical players up top on their side, and we had to match them,” Sagle said. “I thought we did a fairly good job throughout the course of the game.”
Tulsa, who outshot Temple 17-13, evened the match in the 70th minute with a penalty kick by senior forward Akeil Barrett.
Several Temple players argued the call, waving their arms up in disbelief at the referee.
“It’s tough,” Sagle said. “It changes the outcome of the game. I thought we were unlucky and it was pretty soft, but the referee has got to make a decision either way.”
MacWilliams didn’t make any excuses when speaking about the momentum-changing play.
“Obviously we’re going to have bad calls,” MacWilliams said. “We’re also going to have bad decisions by coaches and we’re going to have bad decisions by players, so we just have to play and move on, and we can’t let it affect us.”
The goal would end up being the one that forced overtime, while the winning tally came in the 103rd minute.
On that goal, a Tulsa shot first hit senior goalkeeper Dan Scheck in the chest and rolled out of bounds, forcing a corner kick. The boot from the corner off the foot of Byron Knowles-Ramirez hit Bourgeois right in stride, ending Temple’s bid for its third win of the season.
After the game, Scheck said he was frustrated with his team’s mistake.
“The guy played it in, the other guy was wide open for a free header and he tapped it right in.”
MacWilliams added his disappointment with his team’s disciplinary mistake.
“To me it’s not good when we have a set piece and we don’t know who’s marking the guy that scores a goal,” MacWilliams said. “We go over this and to lose a game like that, it’s very frustrating.”
Temple will play its final regular season game at Memphis on Nov. 1. Scheck said the team will need to sure up its issues on the disciplinary and defensive ends before the start of the American Athletic Conference tournament Nov. 8.
“I think we have to get a little more disciplined and tighter defensively,” Scheck said. “Then hopefully picking up our defense can translate to more offense.”
Matt Cockayne can be reached at email@example.com.