Soccer's offense shines in home opener against UTSA
Aug. 28, 2010
Kacey Cherry, Texas Media Relations
The Texas Soccer team handed a 3-1 score line to UTSA Friday night with the Longhorns displaying a performance that was dominant in possession and pressure. A total of 26 shots were taken during the game's entirety and the three goals were scored by three different players.
The commanding offense was led by redshirt freshman Leah Fortune, who had just recently returned from international duty with the Brazilian 2010 U-20 World Cup Squad and the Brazilian Full Women's National Team. Fortune, who missed much of last season due to injury, displayed the threat she poses for defenses by opening up the scoring in the 17th minute and assisting Hannah Higgins' goal in the 71st.
Head Coach Petrucelli believes her presence in the team will only continue to improve.
"We're starting to learn to play together and we're starting to learn to play with Leah Fortune since she has been gone so much," said Petrucelli.
The Longhorns documented five shots in the first 10 minutes, proving they were eager to keep their undefeated season going.
"The biggest thing was the pressure we got from our front players tonight. Right from the start of the game they were on top of [UTSA] and didn't allow them to come out," said Petrucelli.
UTSA struggled to gain possession as Texas continually maintained control over the entire game by consistently winning the 50-50 balls, especially in the air, which had been a big focus in practice the week before.
Fortune credits the team's fluidity and endurance to their practices concentrating on the basics of soccer.
"The coaches have been focusing on just simple passing; it is one of the fundamentals of soccer. We were flying around out there tonight and I think it made the biggest difference. You gain confidence and get shots and everything improves from the passing."
Fortune adds the mental outlook the team had before the game was also crucial: "Our fight and our attitude when we came out made a big difference," but she added: "we still have a lot to improve on."
The Longhorns Achilles heel in the past three games has been allowing the opposition to score against them, with all of the goals coming in the second half after Texas has already taken the lead. In minute 57, UTSA player Maria Jose Rojas was allowed to dribble inside the penalty box and have a one-versus-one with the goalkeeper.
Petrucelli understands the consequences: "We need to start getting more shut-outs, we can't be giving up goals it will come back to bite us in the end."
The silver lining has been the collective effort of the UT offense; five of the seven total goals scored so far in 2010 season have all come from different players. In addition, Texas' 26 shots were its most since 2007 and its three goals scored were its most since 2008.
"We have a very strong foundation from the defense to the offense, every player. Different people are scoring goals and getting it taken care of in the box," said Fortune.
The Longhorns will get their next chance to improve the defensive effort and continue the offensive streak when they face USC at 1p.m. on Sunday at home.