Think Stoke City vs. Sunderland, but with more defense.
If you're expecting some semblance of consistency in my coverage of Kentucky soccer, well, you should know better. I'm probably not gonna do previews of every game. But I'm gonna do this one, because it's a midweek game and I'm still on a high from USMNT's unlikely win last night in Panama.
Kentucky takes on Valparaiso tonight at UK Soccer Complex at 7:00. If you're so inclined, you can watch it on UK Tube by clicking here. Valparaiso is a regionally accredited university located in the hellscape of northern Indiana best known for producing a lot of guys named Drew. They play in the Horizon League, and their best player is their goalkeeper, Tom Seratorre. You know it's a tough season when your best player is a goalkeeper. A brief synopsis of the Crusaders, via ValpoAthletics.com:
A Tale of Two Halves: At times during this season, games have been a tale of two halves. In the first half of games, the Crusaders have been slow to start and are unable to find the game. As a result, the team has conceded early goals. In the second half of games however, the Crusaders look to be a completely different team. They control the run of play, keep the ball for extended periods of time, and create plenty of quality chances. In the second half of games, the Crusaders more than doubled their amount of goals scored (7 to 3), increased their amount of shots (73-44) and corners taken (30 to 22). The team also cuts down the number of chances their opponents take from 26 down to 22.
Finishing Chances: Valpo now sits with just 11 goals scored in 12 matches. The Crusaders are creating plenty of chances but are missing the final touch needed to find goal. What's promising is that six players have accounted for the 11 goals scored. Adrian Graham, Julio Velasquez, and Jordan Aidoud each have one goal this season, while Todd Vervynckt has netted two goals to his name. Leading the team this season are Charles Barden and Nick Suker with three goals apiece.
What does that mean for UK tonight? Well, unless Kentucky's aim has improved, it means tonight's match will probably closely resemble two mules fighting over a turnip, to paraphrase Lewis Grizzard. Kentucky shoots a lot but doesn't score much and, like Valpo, it's team strength is defense. Kentucky's been susceptible to giving up early goals so far this season, something that Valpo hasn't been inclined to produce, so that's good. The Cats also play much better in the second 45 minutes, an area that Valpo apparently mirrors, so hopefully that means a more exciting half of a game.
Expect a lot of tackling and long balls out of the back that lead to nowhere. A win is the desired result, but I wouldn't be shocked, given these two teams' offensive "abilities," if the match ends in another 0-0 draw. Oh well. Go SoccerCats!