On Saturday night, the Wisconsin Badgers men’s soccer team dropped their third straight game, falling 1-0 to Rutgers in Loves Park, Ill.
Not our night, but l king forward to next weekend! #OnWisconsin pic.twitter.com/DyjkRYToIz— Wisconsin Soccer (@BadgerMSoccer) February 28, 2021
Though the first half mostly featured each side feeling each other out and slowly coming into the game, the second phase of the match was quick to see action. Five minutes after the restart Rutgers took the lead as sophomore winger Jackson Temple wasted no time with his chance after the ball fell to him in a scramble in the box, finding the back of the net with a strong strike.
Just minutes later, the Badgers would have their best chance of the match to draw level, as freshman midfielder Murat Calkap surged forward into the box and was brought down for a penalty kick, but Scarlet Knight goalkeeper Oren Asher was equal to Noah Melick’s effort.
56’- Noah Melick’s spotkick is saved, and the second chance volley off the rebound is quickly beat away by the Rutgers defense. pic.twitter.com/0rrufqbjiH— J.J. Post (@JayJayPost) February 28, 2021
Wisconsin would have several more chances as the game progressed, particularly in the final minutes, but struggled to convert some strong stretches of possession into legitimate threats for Asher and the Rutgers defense to deal with. Most notably Jack Finnegan did well to force Asher to spill his well-struck volley in the 70th minute, but the sequence was blown dead for offsides before any other Badger could capitalize.
One silver lining remains that the core of the Wisconsin lineup remains tremendously young and full of potential growth, especially in the midfield. Calkap, fellow freshman Ethan Chung, and sophomore Iñaki Iribarren all put up strong performances in the center of the park, moving the ball quickly both on the dribble and through passes,
Wisconsin falls to 0-3 on the season with the loss, while Rutgers improves to 2-1. The Badgers will be back in action, after a full week of rest, next Sunday, as they travel east to College Park to take on Maryland.