On Tuesday, the Georgetown men’s soccer team fell 2-1 against No. 6 Louisville in its penultimate non-conference game. The game was played on Cooper Field rather than Shaw Field because of the poor weather conditions
Gameplay flowed back and forth in the opening minutes of the game as both teams maintained long bouts of possession. Yet, neither team was able to break down the opposition and generate any chances to score.
The first quality chance for the Hoyas (5-3-1, 1-1 Big East) came midway through the first half, off a shot from graduate student midfielder Matt Ledder.
Ledder hit a shot from the left side of the box that ricocheted off multiple Louisville (6-1-1, 3-0 ACC) defenders and past their keeper. However, a Louisville defender made a goal-line clearance and kept the game tied at zero.
A few minutes later, the complexion of the game changed as Louisville capitalized off a corner kick in the 30th minute.
Louisville senior Adam Wilson hit the corner toward the near post where he found his teammate, senior Tate Schmitt, unmarked a few yards away from the net. Schmitt converted the chance and the Cardinals took a 1-0 lead midway through the half.
Head Coach Brian Wiese lamented the Hoyas’ defensive lapses.
“[We’re] trying to get the mentality of being harder to score against,” Wiese said in an interview with The Hoya. “We’re having these moments where we’re sort of scratching our heads saying, well, I don’t know how we just lost a goal. And then suddenly the game complexion has changed.”
The Hoyas responded quickly, equalizing the match in the 37th minute following combination play between junior defender Dylan Nealis, junior forward Riley Strassner and sophomore forward Derek Dodson.
At the top of the box, Nealis found Strassner, who played a one-touch pass to Dodson into space in the right side of the box. Dodson fired a shot past the Cardinals’ keeper and into the bottom left of the net to give the Hoyas the equalizer. Dodson’s goal was his fifth of the season.
Two minutes later, freshman goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis made a save at his near post on a Louisville shot from outside the box to preserve the deadlock. Neither team would generate another chance, and the game headed to halftime tied.
The Hoyas continued to exert pressure on the Cardinals’ defense in the second half through attacks down the right wing.
An opportunity to score arose as freshman midfielder Sean Zawadzki played a through-ball to junior forward Achara down the right wing. Achara attempted to put a cross in but it was cleared and bounced back to him. Achara then hit a shot on net that was saved by the Louisville goalkeeper.
In the 73rd minute, the complexion of the game changed once again as Louisville junior Louka Masset was sent off the pitch after receiving his second yellow card of the game.
Wiese explained that the red card caused Louisville to defend more resolutely.
“In a funny way, [the red card] makes it harder because they were suddenly very defensive. Whereas when they were playing 11 vs. 11, they would leave some gaps we could play through,” Wiese said. “We increased possession, but it made things harder for us to find a way to get good shots on goal.”
The Hoyas continued to control the game after the Cardinals went down to ten men but were unable to find a goal to take the lead.
Louisville ended up finding the eventual game-winner in the 82nd minute.
Goalkeeper Giannis Nikopolidis came out to deal with a bouncing ball that the Cardinals played over the Hoyas’ defense. A Georgetown defender attempted to head the ball back to Nikopolidis, but ended up heading the ball over the goalkeeper’s head. Nikopolidis could not recover in time and Louisville sophomore Izaiah Jennings ended up scoring on the open net to give Louisville a 2-1 lead.
The Hoyas continued to threaten during the final eight minutes of the game but were unable to equalize and ended up falling to the Cardinals 2-1.
The loss was tough to take, Coach Wiese explained, as the Hoyas played well for the majority of the match.
“[When] you play really good teams, those moments define the game and so we did everything right for pretty much 89 minutes, and then we had the moment,” Wise said. “Soccer is made up of moments, so unfortunately, it’s a really sour taste from a really good performance.”
The Hoyas return to Big East play on Saturday, Sept. 29, as they head to Wisconsin to play the Marquette Golden Eagles at 8 p.m.