Soccer struggling to score goals
Defensively, the De Soto soccer team can play with anyone. But strangely enough, offensively the Wildcats are struggling to score goals.
Facing Louisburg in the championship game of the Frontier League soccer tournament Saturday at De Soto, the Wildcats utterly controlled the whole game. But still, De Soto wound up falling to Louisburg, 1-0. The loss also marked the second time this season Louisburg has won on De Soto’s home field, 1-0.
“It’s disappointing not to win the tournament,” De Soto soccer coach Darren Erpelding said. “And it’s disappointing to lose to them twice in a row when we pretty much dominate 70-percent of the game and you don’t come away with a win. And they get the goal that they got. I mean, that’s unlucky.”
Louisburg’s golden goal came in the 20th minute of the second half when the visiting Wildcats made a deep run up the middle and all the way to the box. Goalkeeper Tyler Buffkin came up to defend, as did Sammy Seibolt and Joe O’Neill. In the battle for control of the ball, the ball deflected off De Soto’s backline and rolled all the way into the back of the net.
De Soto’s defense didn’t allow Louisburg to put up a shot the entire first half, but De Soto only mustered three attempts in the first 40 minutes. In the second half, De Soto put up six shots but none could find the net. De Soto’s best scoring opportunity came with 10 minutes to play in the contest, as Brett Hevel had a corner kick to Jordan Riffel. But Louisburg’s goalie made a leaping save in the right corner of the net to keep De Soto off the board.
For much of the game De Soto was seemingly trying to be too fine with its passing, wanting to move the ball in closer for a better shot. But Erpelding said he wanted his team to put up a few more long distance shots.
“When you play and you control a game and you don’t put any balls in the box and you don’t take shots because you’re trying to be too fine with things, you’re not going to score,” Erpelding said. “I mean we’ve got to start shooting from 25-yards out to pull the defense out, otherwise they’re just going to pack it in.
“Right now we’re not a threat from anywhere to score. Until we start doing things … I mean, we could defend until we’re blue in the face and keep defending and keep guys out.”
The loss marked De Soto’s third loss of the season. All of those losses have been shutouts.
“We’re doing everything else,” Erpelding said. “We’re winning the defending third, the middle third, but we’re not winning the attacking third and it’s very upsetting.”
De Soto took on 6A Free State on the road Monday and lost another close one, 2-0.
The game was a scoreless tie at the half, but Free State scored a goal in the sixth minute of the second half from about 15 yards out. Free State tacked on another goal about 20 minutes later.
The loss drops De Soto’s record to 3-4. Erpelding said there could be a shakeup in the lineup when De Soto travels Thursday to play Spring Hill.