MILWAUKEE – Neither team could emerge with a victory in a physical Sunday night tilt as the Panthers played to a 1-1 tie vs. UIC. Both teams remain without a loss in conference play through two games.
As has been the case for much of this season, Milwaukee had a difficult time attacking and scoring. More than half of the game was spent in UWM territory. Head coach Kris Kelderman talked about missed chances and the high volume of shots.
“We had a couple chances tonight,” he said. “There were a lot of shots in the game from both teams. Throughout the season, we’ve been getting a lot of shots, a lot of opportunities. I think we lead the conference in shots as of a game ago but we just gotta concentrate on that final shot, that final pass. Our execution in front of the offensive goal is better than it’s been.”
However, the team’s back-line defense, along with goalkeeper Agustin Rey, were able to keep the Flames at bay for most of the game.
Rey spoke on the team’s effort and fearlessness.
“Yea I mean, our team is looking good, you know,” he said. “We gotta stay sharp, I feel like, a little bit on the details, but other than that, we’re looking good. We’re a young team and we’re stepping out against big, great teams. It’s kind of a test every day but we’re up for the challenge.”
The Panthers were able to strike midway through the first half. Rey had a big save in the 13th minute and defender Josh Kaye deflected a shot that had gotten by the goalie five minutes later. Then, in the 26th minute, freshman midfielder Francesco Saporito hit a corner kick in a spot where senior midfielder Declan Rodriguez could net a head-shot for a 1-0 lead. Milwaukee carried this lead into halftime.
Nearly ten minutes into the second, however, UIC would respond. A near-miss that clanked off the crossbar by defender Dustin Ashley in the 54th minute set up the tying chance. Like the Panther goal, this one was a header by Joel Leon off of a free kick by Manny Chavez.
The UWM near miss and the Flames’ goal were sandwiched between red-card ejections for each team. Rodriguez got the one for Milwaukee in the 56th minute.
This was indicative of the entire game, however. A few more yellow cards were issued, and there were many instances of possible foul play that were never called. In particular, Kelderman was upset about UIC’s players committing a high number of undercuts (taking out UWM players’ legs). The Flames’ staff was also unhappy with many of the calls (or non-calls).
In fact, late in the second half, Panthers’ freshman midfielder Matthias Binder suffered a lower leg injury after a nasty collision with a UIC player’s shin. The Flames’ player was shaken up as well.
The team’s carried a 1-1 tie into the end of regulation. Neither team could get much going in the overtime periods, though UIC did spend a high amount of the second overtime in the attacking zone. Milwaukee had a couple of chances to win late in the second OT, but nothing came to pass. Kelderman spoke on his team’s positives.
“Well, I thought, defensively, we were pretty good,” he said. “We got a young group on our back line of four on defense and, obviously, three freshmen in the midfield. We’ve been talking about a team defense, team-orientated effort, and the guys have really focused in on that and accepted that. The result in Oakland showed and tonight’s effort, defensively, was very good. We played against a very good Chicago team tonight and the guys hung in there.”
UIC won the shots battle, 23-16, but Milwaukee was more efficient, with eight shots on goal to the Flames’ six. There were twenty corner kicks: 11 from UIC and 9 from the Panthers. UWM committed two more fouls than the Flames in a game that featured a high number of them (17-15).
Milwaukee remains at home to play league foe Valparaiso this Saturday. UIC returns home to face Wright State.