Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Men’s Soccer: No. 12 Northwestern lacks urgency in 0-0 draw with Green Bay

Delilah Brumer/The Daily Northwestern
Sophomore forward Christopher Thaggard dribbles the ball. Thaggard logged 49 minutes in Northwestern’s 0-0 draw with Green Bay.

N0. 12 Northwestern put eight shots on frame, but none in the back of the net in a 0-0 draw against Green Bay. 

The Wildcats (8-0-3, 2-0-1 Big Ten) rose to 12th in the United Soccer Coaches College Rankings before Tuesday’s game and are unbeaten 11 games into the season for the first time since 2008. But they looked far from a top-15 team on offense against the visiting Phoenix (3-3-4, 1-2-1 Horizon League).

“It’s very easy to get distracted this time of year by all the headlines and accolades that are happening for a team that hasn’t been here in a long time,” coach Russell Payne said. “I think we were a little distracted tonight.”

Finding opportunities to score was not an issue for NU in the first half, but no shot on goal tested Green Bay goalkeeper Tobias Jahn. A free kick in the first minute taken by junior midfielder Collin McCamy found its way to senior forward Justin Weiss, but the latter topped a left-footed shot into Jahn’s frame for a simple save.

Consecutive McCamy corners in the seventh and eighth minutes were as close as the ‘Cats came to taking the lead in the first half. On McCamy’s first in-swinger, senior midfielder Rom Brown’s free header in the six-yard box was punched over the bar. McCamy put the second corner into the same area for Brown once again, but his header made for an easy catch by Jahn.

NU’s best scoring opportunity of the match came in the 88th minute. Weiss cut the ball back on the right side of the 18-yard box and played a left-footed cross on the ground to a cutting junior midfielder Paul Son. He scorched a shot on the ground that would have found the bottom right corner of the net, if not for a diving save by Jahn.

As the game continued, Payne said he liked the sense of urgency his team showed trying to score the winner, but the lack of energy in the first half led the ‘Cats to struggle.

“We didn’t get on the ball quick enough to our midfielders,” Payne said. “We didn’t move the ball quick enough into the next line. We didn’t find our forwards high up the field. We started to do that in the last 20 minutes.”

NU looked like a completely different version of itself in this match as compared to its matches last week against Ohio State and Maryland, where it poured in a combined six goals. 

Payne explained that nothing changed tactically, but that his midfielders did not take control of the match against Green Bay.  

“Our backline started making the game. That’s not how we normally play,” Payne said. “Our backline is not the group of players that we ask to make all the passes to break teams down. We try to find the next line very quickly so we can break teams down.”

The ‘Cats will play Big Ten opponents in their final five matches of the season, beginning with Rutgers at home Sunday. 

Despite the disappointing result Tuesday, Payne said that it was an anomaly for his team. He expressed confidence heading into the final three weeks of the regular season. 

“​​We have everything to play for. We’ve shown now that when we play our game and we play to our abilities, we can play and beat anybody in our conference,” Payne said.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @colincapece

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