The film “Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos” compares soccer to a play.
If yesterday’s Michigan men’s soccer game against Akron were a theatrical production, Michigan coach Steve Burns would probably describe it as a “cruel” tragedy.
“The soccer gods weren’t with us today,” Burns said.
For their third consecutive contest, the Wolverines were unable to beat the goalkeeper, losing to Akron 1-0 at Lee Jackson Field in Akron, Ohio. Michigan (0-2-2 Big Ten, 5-9-3 overall) hasn’t won a game since Sept. 20.
Despite dominating the second half with six good scoring opportunities, the Wolverines couldn’t solve the Zips’ Evan Bush. The All-Region keeper stopped all five shots he faced.
Michigan’s best opportunities came early in the second half. In the 47th minute, freshman Mauro Fuzetti served the ball to freshman Peri Marosevic on the right flank. Turning the defender from 20 yards out, Marosevic took an off-angle strike toward the goal, but the shot deflected wide by Bush.
Eight minutes later, sophomore Steve Bonnell received the ball from Marosevic off the counter-attack. Facing the goal, Bonnell hit a strong, low strike from 25 yards out, but Bush stoned Michigan again.
Despite producing opportunities throughout the game, the ball just wouldn’t roll into the net.
“When you don’t create chances, you know you’re not going to score goals,” Burns said. “But we’re creating chances. We’re dictating how the game is played.”
In its eight-game winless streak, Michigan has outshot opponents 131-100. But the Wolverines have trailed the goal count 10-3.
“We’re unable to get past the hump,” Burns said.
Akron’s goal came late in the first half off what seemed like a harmless throw-in. Unable to trap the ball, Akron (9-4-1 overall) senior Ashley Kozicki converted a shot on net that deflected off freshman goalkeeper Patrick Sperry.
According to Burns, seven players easily exceeded his expectations, including senior captain Bobby Trybula. In the first half, Trybula’s shot seemed to be going into an empty net – until a Zips defender denied the ball out of play. Despite the frustration, the Wolverines managed to find a rhythm at halftime.
“At this point, our team is showing a lot of character and a lot of pride,” Burns said.
Michigan hopes to break the winless spell this Sunday against Ohio State. Combating their most difficult season, the Wolverines are looking to get the ball in the back of the net.
“It’s just a matter of getting goals,” Burns said. “Until you score, soccer can be a cruel game.”
By the numbers
After a respectable start to the season, the men’s soccer team has cooled off in a big way.
3 Consecutive games Michigan has been held scoreless.
1 Goal the Wolverines have scored in the last seven games.
8 Straight games without a win for the Wolverines.
2 Games left for Michigan to avoid its first winless Big Ten season.