Oct. 16, 2013
CHICAGO – The UIC men’s soccer team came out on the winning end of a hard-fought battle against Horizon League-foe Milwaukee Wednesday night at Flames Field to collect its eighth shutout of the season with a 1-0 victory. Junior Jesus Torres scored in the 66th minute with the lone goal of the game off a pass from senior Slobodan Aleksov.
With their fourth-straight win, the Flames advance to 10-3-0 this season, while holding a perfect 3-0-0 record in the Horizon League. The Panthers, ranked No. 21 by College Soccer News, goes to 10-2-1, with a 3-2-0 HL record, after losing two of their last three matches.
"Milwaukee is a great possession team and they showed it again tonight," head coach Sean Phillips said. "When you play a team of that quality, you have to minimize the forward passes and dangerous passes because they will get ahold of the ball quite a bit, and they did tonight. I thought our backs and midfielders did a very good job of tracking and minimizing the number of high-quality chances."
It was a grind for UIC in the first half to produce opportunities to score after receiving 13 fouls against Milwaukee’s six. While disrupting Milwaukee’s chances and allowing them to take just four shots in the half. UIC was ultimately able to fire off five attempts, with one on goal off a missed penalty kick taken by Aleksov that hit the underside of the crossbar.
Into the second half, the Flames continued to press on the Panthers and create rushes of their own. With the Panthers already recording two close attempts, Torres took a pass from Aleksov in the 66th minute and put the ball past UWM’s freshman goalkeeper Liam Anderson for his fourth goal of the season. The Flames continued with to push on and fired off six more shots, while a delayed offside penalty prevented the Flames from adding an extra goal by senior Aris Zafeiratos.
"We knew we were going to get pressed in with Milwaukee's possession and be very sharp on connecting that first pass out, and each time that we did, we were able to connect and make chances."
The physicality persisted throughout the match and ended with a combined 35 fouls, while nine yellow cards procured over the course of 90:00 minutes of play.
After making two saves, freshman goalkeeper Andrew Putna was rewarded with his eighth shutout of the season and improved his GAA to 0.68, a Horizon League best, while Anderson went to 10-2-1 on the season.
Next up for the Flames is another 7 p.m. CT match at Flames Field, as they host conference-opponent Wright State on Saturday.
"We are in good form right now in conference play," added Phillips. "This group has had a great mentality and they are getting rewarded for it with these three conference wins to start off. We have a big one on Saturday against Wright State, and we are going to have to take some of this momentum and parlay it into another good performance."