Men’s soccer splits weekend matches against Bradley, Northwestern

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Men’s soccer splits weekend matches against Bradley, Northwestern

Karina Delgado | The Daily Eastern News
Edgar Mesa, the captain of the men’s soccer team, starts to make a pass to a teammate. Eastern defeated St. Xavier in the match, Eastern’s home opener, 2-0 at Lakeside Field Sept. 10.

Karina Delgado | The Daily Eastern News Edgar Mesa, the captain of the men’s soccer team, starts to make a pass to a teammate. Eastern defeated St. Xavier in the match, Eastern’s home opener, 2-0 at Lakeside Field Sept. 10.

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Karina Delgado | The Daily Eastern News Edgar Mesa, the captain of the men’s soccer team, starts to make a pass to a teammate. Eastern defeated St. Xavier in the match, Eastern’s home opener, 2-0 at Lakeside Field Sept. 10.

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Karina Delgado | The Daily Eastern News Edgar Mesa, the captain of the men’s soccer team, starts to make a pass to a teammate. Eastern defeated St. Xavier in the match, Eastern’s home opener, 2-0 at Lakeside Field Sept. 10.

Blake Faith, Men's Soccer Reporter

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Even though the men’s soccer team went 1-1 this weekend, one key result came out of it: The Panthers won their first game against Bradley since 2009, with a 1-0 win Sept. 13.

In the first half Eastern only had two shots compared to Bradley’s eight, and redshirt junior goalkeeper Jonathan Burke had two saves early in the first half.

Burke recorded one save before the Panthers were able to make history for the 2019 team. In the 67th minute, redshirt freshman Munir Sherali recorded his first career goal as a Panther, off a co-assist from Edgar Mesa and Davi Giradi to make the score 1-0.

In the last 10 minutes Bradley was able to get three shots on goal, all three of which Burke turned into saves. The Panther defense held on through the pressure to give Burke and the team their second shutout of the year.

For redshirt senior Christian Sosnowski the victory meant more to him since it was his last game he will ever play against Bradley.

“Over the last four years, I have played Bradley six times and I have never beat them here,” Sosnowski said. “Getting that win in my last season here fulfilled my goal that I always had in the back of my mind to finally beat them.”

Against Northwestern Sunday, the Panthers fell behind early. In the 16th minute, Northwestern’s Bardia Kimiavi scored his second goal of the season to put the Wildcats up 1-0.

In the first half, Northwestern was held to three total shots with only two being on goal. Burke recorded one save in the first half.

The Panthers, in the second half, tried creating chances to score with two corner kicks and one shot, but could not put the ball in the back of the net.

“We definitely need to play quicker in possession and take fewer touches on the ball,” Sosnowski said. “Once we get into the final third, we have to be more clinical in front of the net. So speed of play and putting balls into the net should be our main focus this week in practice.”

The defense fought hard and recorded a second-half shutout. Burke recorded two saves in the second half as the Panthers lost 1-0.

“Bradley was a very physical game, so there wasn’t much possession going on, but against Northwestern we moved the ball pretty well and created some dangerous chances; we were just missing that final product in front of the net,” Sosnowski said. “We played against two very physical teams and we competed well.”

The Panthers will have the week off until next Tuesday. Their opponent will be Belmont for a home match.

In the last two years, the Panthers have fought hard against Belmont. In 2017 the Panthers lost 2-1 in overtime at Lakeside Field. The Panthers had to play two men down when former goalkeeper Mike Novotny and defender Erik Isaksson were ejected due to receiving red cards.

In 2018 the Panthers also played a man down when Shady Omar received a red card in the eighth minute of the first half. Despite playing a man down and playing on the road, the Panthers were able to fight and lose a close match with a score of 3-2.

“Over the past two years we lost to Belmont being down a man or two so the biggest thing against them is to keep a cool head and not get sent off,” Sosnowski said. “We are confident we can beat them and it would be awesome to get a win and have momentum going into our first conference game against Denver.”

The men’s soccer team plays Belmont next Tuesday at home. The game will begin at 3 p.m. at Lakeside Field.

Blake Faith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]