Kentucky Soccer opened the 2013 exhibition season last night at the UK Soccer Complex with a nil-nil draw against the Dayton Flyers. UKAthletics has a recap here, while the Kernel provides a super in-depth story of their own here. Well, no, they don't, but at least they have a picture of UD's pretty sweet jerseys.
Nil-nil draws are why Americans are uncomfortable with soccer (though USA 0-0 Mexico in the Azteca a few months ago helped erase some of that), but this was not a bad result from the Cats. Coach Cedergren played TWELVE new players in the game last night, most notable of those being Wright State transfer Justin Laird. Twelve greenies against what was a potent Flyers offense in 2012 sounds like insanity and a recipe for getting run off the pitch, but, to the young Cats' credit, they only gave up one shot on goal all night.
All told, Dayton tallied ten shots and eight corner kicks on the evening, while Kentucky had eleven shots but just one on goal courtesy of sophomore midfielder Isak Krogstad in the 32nd minute. I didn't go see the game because of reasons, but based on Coach Cedergren's post-game comments, it sounds like the defense was pretty busy most of the night, which you'd expect with EIGHT CORNERS. Credit to the Cats for not allowing any goals there. All told, the UK coach seemed pretty pleased with his team's performance, while noting it would probably be nice to improve possession and link up in the midfield.
This is just an exhibition game, but it does illustrate what I wrote in my preview post yesterday: this is a young team with few proven goalscorers other than Tyler Riggs (who did not record a shot last night) that will likely be built around defense. That doesn't make for pretty soccer (then again, most college soccer isn't that pretty anyway), but if they can weather offenses like Dayton's successfully this season, they may make the NCAA tournament for a second consecutive season.
Next up: at NKU in the concrete jungle of Highland Heights on Saturday.