Defense struggles in Pueblo
PUEBLO, Colo. â€" After looking watertight the past two matches, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs defense finally sprang a leak.
The Colorado State-Pueblo Thunderwolves scored the first non-penalty kick goal given up by CU-Colorado Springs goalkeeper Chris Hovasse, then they did it three more times to take a 4-2 decision from the Mountain Lions Wednesday afternoon. It was the first time this season the CU-Colorado Springs defense had looked vulnerable.
â€œWe didnâ€TMt play defense collectively,â€ said midfielder Jeff Korb. â€œIt canâ€TMt be just three or four people (playing defense), it has to be everyone playing together as one.â€
That lack of cohesion showed in each of CSU-Puebloâ€TMs first two goals.
In the 20th minute, the Thunderwolves (4-0-1, 3-0-0 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) got numbers up, leaving CU-Colorado Springs defenseman Brian Best trying to stop two players. He managed to cut off Jonny Broadhead and force Dave Isleib into a difficult-angle shot. Isleib, however, drilled a perfect shot into the upper right hand corner of the goal.
Thirteen minutes later, it was Russell Aamodt who found himself outnumbered. CSU-Puebloâ€TMs Wes Warmack passed to Matt Neubauer as Aamodt tried to position himself to stop the attack. When Yusuke Ota streaked in from the right side, there was nothing Aamodt or Hovasse could do to stop him.
â€œThey donâ€TMt have many hot shots on their team, but they play together so well â€" probably better than any other team we face,â€ said Jeff Halligan, who played both midfield and defense Wednesday. â€œWe didnâ€TMt have much space at all.â€
The Mountain Lions (1-3, 1-2) cut the lead to one just 34 seconds later. After a foul at the top of the penalty area, Eric Foulk knocked the free kick to Brian Thatcher, who redirected it to Halligan. The junior knocked it in for the first goal of his collegiate career.
â€œIt was a scrap goal, really,â€ said Halligan. â€œThatcher got his chest on it and it just fell in there. One of the defenders was going after it but I had a better look at it than he did. He didnâ€TMt see me coming and I just slid in there behind him.â€
CSU-Pueblo regained its two-goal margin eight minutes into the second half when Tommy Lauhoff took advantage or a scramble in front of the CU-Colorado Springs net. The Mountain Lions twice tried to clear the ball, but each time it defected off other players.
CU-Colorado Springs upped the pressure and it paid off in the 74th minute. Brian Best, who is known for his long throw-ins, heaved the ball thirty yards to the middle of the penalty area. Oscar Velasco headed it to Korb, who like Halligan, scored his first career goal.
â€œIt was a good throw in, a good flick and I was at the right place at the right time,â€ said Korb.
It went for naught, though, when Ota scored the clincher for CSU-Pueblo with only a minute remaining.
Jeremy Gunn, the coach of Fort Lewis, was on hand to witness the Mountain Lionsâ€TM uncharacteristic defensive lapse. The Skyhawks, who are ranked 17th nationally, will face the Mountain Lions Sunday at 1 p.m. at Sand Creek Stadium.
Between now and then, CU-Colorado Springs coach Flavio Mazzetti will be busy patching the leak.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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