This afternoon, the No. 12 Georgetown men’s soccer team (6-2-1, 0-0-1 Big East) will travel across town to take on American (3-3-2, 1-0 Patriot League). Though American is a NCAA Division I team, its schedule so far this year has been far less rigorous than Georgetown’s. The Eagles lost to George Mason and Binghamton, and their wins have come against George Washington, Longwood and Lehigh. Nevertheless, the Hoyas plan to prepare for the Eagles just like they would for any other game. That means a full practice on Monday, studying the opponent’s tactics and players and heeding advice from the coaching staff to take every game seriously.
“We pride ourselves on every game,” sophomore defender Keegan Rosenberry said. “Right after a game ends, we are doing video, we are doing a scout on the next team. We try and focus on the details like Coach Gill always tells us, so obviously our focus now is on American on Tuesday.”
The Hoyas defense will look to improve on one of the best shutout rates in the nation against an Eagles offense that has failed to score in half of its games. This year, American’s offense has been led by a pair of freshmen forwards who will look to keep the Hoya back line busy. Dale Ludwig has scored twice and recorded three assists, and Joe Iraola has found the back of the net three times for American this season.
The starting lineup on Tuesday could include some new faces for the Hoyas. Just two days after a game against Big East rival Creighton and three days before another conference game against Seton Hall, Head Coach Brian Wiese may choose to rest some key players against American. Wiese is also considering running out players who have not seen many minutes this season.
“We have a lot of faith in our depth,” Wiese said. “There are a lot of guys who did not play at all [against Creighton on Saturday] who would have killed to be on the field, who will be maybe given a little bit of an opportunity against AU.”
The depth of the Hoyas’ bench, especially at the position of attacking midfield, was on display against Creighton, as Wiese substituted outside midfielders and forwards throughout the game. Players such as sophomore forward Melvin Snoh and junior midfielder Tom Skelly will likely see significant playing time against the Eagles after strong performances against Creighton. Other players to keep an eye out for include senior forward Gabe Padilla and freshman midfielder and defender Jared Odenbeck, both of whom have seen limited minutes so far this season.
The Hoyas will stay on campus and take a quick bus trip to American on Tuesday morning. The team hopes the light travel will minimize the impact of the game on the players both on the field and in the classroom.
“It’s not one of those things where you have to miss class, get up and go to a hotel and all that,” Wiese said. “It’s an easy game. The challenge of that is the guys need to remember that there is a game.”
American’s location within Washington, D.C., also means that the game will take on a unique quality reserved for a very specific type of soccer game: the local derby. A derby, the term for a soccer game between crosstown rivals, should add a special meaning to the game for both sides.
“Top dog out of the area is always something you want to strive for,” Rosenberry said.