Men’s soccer winless in two physical Ohio matches

In their two games in Ohio this weekend, the GW men’s soccer team managed 30 shots overall. Of those 30, only nine were on goal. Of those nine, only one was successful. And that one was off a penalty kick.

For head coach George Lidster, that’s just not good enough.

“We’ve dried up in front of the goal a little bit, and our finishing hasn’t been very good,” Lidster lamented Sunday after a physical first weekend of Atlantic 10 play – a scoreless draw with Xavier on Friday followed by a 3-1 loss at Dayton on Sunday. “We’re not finishing teams off when we put pressure on them. We just haven’t got that killer instinct in front of goal.”

Coming into the weekend, the Colonials were ranked fifth in the most recent National Soccer Coaches of America Associated Middle Atlantic regional rankings. GW now sits at 4-4-2 overall, with a 0-1-1 record in conference. After one weekend of play, GW is tied for last in the conference along with Richmond, Saint Joseph’s and St. Bonaventure.

And winning isn’t any easier when you’re playing one man down. On Sunday, after Dayton took the lead through junior Alex Torda’s goal only two minutes into the game, GW found themselves in another hole. Freshman defender Jake Davis was given a red card for a hard tackle in the eighth minute, leaving the Colonials to play most of the game shorthanded.

Even so, they still managed to pull even with the Flyers not long afterward. Junior Andy Stadler netted his tenth goal of the season in the game’s eleventh minute off a penalty kick after junior Erick Perez-Segnini was brought down in the box.

But unseasonably hot temperatures and numerical disadvantage made it hard for the Colonials to maintain the draw, as Dayton went on to score two more goals to seal the win.

“The red card is what killed us, but the encouraging thing was the guys never stopped fighting. We weren’t overwhelmed,” said Lidster, who took some exception to referee Michael Salyers’ decision to hand out a red card so early in the game.

“I thought it was a very poor decision by the referee. (The foul) was right in front of their bench, and I think the reaction of their bench might have gotten (Davis) sent off. It looked a lot worse than it was. The player wasn’t even injured,” he said.

Friday’s game against Xavier wasn’t much easier – for Stadler in particular. Lidster said the Musketeers “manhandled” the star striker, as he faced some tough man-marking for the first time since racing to the top of the NCAA scoring charts. The strategy worked – Stadler was held to one shot on goal through both halves and overtime periods, while fellow forwards Perez-Segnini, Mike Rollings and Ryan Ruffing were unable to hit the back of the net on their efforts.

The games not only opened the A-10 season for GW, but they also closed a series of six straight games away from home. The Colonials will make their long-awaited return to the Mount Vernon Athletic Complex on Friday when they take on Temple. GW will play Saint Joseph’s on Sunday as well.

Asked if the team would be working on anything special in preparing for the game, Lidster chuckled. His answer was simple:

“Yeah,” he said. “We’ll be trying to score some goals.”

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