Fabian DeSoto, The Paisano
Lack of offense continues to plague UTSA’s soccer team as they dropped another contest to UTEP on Friday night.
The team’s inability to convert scoring chances was not due to a lack of effort. The game was a close one; the deciding tally was scored after just 20 minutes, right off the head of UTEP midfielder Bri Barreiro.
Despite the outcome, UTSA head coach Greg Sheen was impressed with the team’s compete level: “We talk a lot about effort and execution, and tonight was about as close a game as we’ve had to dominating in the effort.”
This dominating effort made for a defensively responsible game from the Roadrunners; they limited the Miners to only four shots on goal including the game winner.
“It’s always great to keep the team at your end of the field,” said Sheen. “I thought there were stretches where we completely dominated, but you still have to find a way to put one in.”
They had close chances, especially late in the game when two particularly dangerous shots from freshman attacker Sam Batley forced UTEP goalkeeper Alyssa Palacios to make crucial saves.
“I thought the quality of our shots was very good,” Sheen mentioned. “We had several opportunities inside of twelve yards, and I think we misplayed a couple of them. I thought the goalkeeper made a great save on one or two.”
The physical play ramped up in the second half, and some in attendance were concerned the refs and coaches had lost control in regards to discipline.
“We have a lot of young players…we’ve got 18 year-olds playing against 23 year-olds,” Sheen contested. “They have to learn how to grow up and hold their own…protect themselves and ratchet things up from a physical perspective. I think our young players are maturing…they oftentimes are being the aggressor instead of the ones being pushed around. And I think that’s a good thing.”
The team now has two conference games on the road, against Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech. They currently have the lowest overall point percentage in Conference USA, and their negative-35 goal differential is also the worst in the conference by a wide margin.