Above: UMSL midfielder Nick Werner prepares to take a shot which would hit the crossbar (Courtesy of David Tocco/The Current)

By David Tocco, Staff Writers

October 2 definitely felt like autumn as the University of Missouri—St. Louis men’s soccer team took on the Panthers of Drury University. It was so chilly that the Tritons wore long-sleeved shirts. The game began at 7:30 p.m. Many good scoring chances and missed opportunities would ultimately define the game. Constant shifts of momentum and tense action ensured that the crowd could not go home saying it was a dull match. The two teams were fairly even in talent and effort. As for demeanor, neither team played especially aggressively, though each had its fair share of fouls and three cautionary yellow flags were handed out.

UMSL came out strong with a goal (03:31) from midfielder DJ Bednar, junior, engineering. The Panthers countered a minute later with a strong shot on goal, but Triton keeper Jack Filla, junior, history, made the save—one of many he would make on this night. The play continued with back-and-forth scoring drives and many shots taken. Most shots went wide or high of the goal but when the shots were on target, both goalkeepers were excellent and kept their teams in the match.

Twenty minutes in, Drury forward Charles Guelly had a great opportunity with a wide open net but his nerves got to him and to UMSL’s relief and Drury’s dismay, he overpowered his shot and fired it well over the crossbar. UMSL’s Coach King could be heard shouting to his defenders from the sidelines, as it became clear that UMSL’s defense was allowing the Panthers too much leeway and not properly covering their men deep in Triton territory. Back-and-forth action continued with neither team able to claim a clear advantage, though Drury did hold a slight first half possession edge. With all the scoring opportunities, both teams regrouped at the half glad it was a one goal game.

The Panthers came out strong in the first 10 minutes of the second half and had a very dangerous scoring opportunity but shot wide of the net as UMSL’s goalie dove as a precaution. The Tritons took control and had another golden opportunity as forward Tyler Collico, senior, accounting and business administration, beat the defender but missed to the left of the goal.

The wind really began to pick up with 20 minutes remaining in regulation and became a serious factor in long passes and shots. The Panthers regained momentum, exercising superior control and connecting passes, which led to their score of the evening (70:49) as midfielder Matt Clarkin netted his first goal of the season following a perfect cross into the box. This was followed by another dangerous Drury play deep in Triton territory, but the home defense stepped up and shut them down.

UMSL saw its best chance to retake the lead following a foul right outside the box. There was a dispute about the place of the incident but the referee ruled that the foul had taken place outside the penalty box, preventing UMSL a penalty kick opportunity. Nevertheless, Nick Werner, sophomore, undeclared, powered a shot, which beat Drury’s keeper but not the crossbar. The ball ricocheted off the iron and the follow up shot missed the goal. UMSL regained momentum but was unable to net a goal before the clock ticked down to end 90 minutes of regulation.

UMSL won the coin toss and started the first 10 minute overtime period going in the preferred direction with the wind, but was unable to capitalize. Both overtime periods were marked by yet more intensity and speed but neither team was able to come away with a win as the match concluded in a draw. When asked about the game, UMSL’s goalkeeper Jack Filla said, “We played a good game defensively, unlucky to get a result.” Triton Coach Dan King said of his team, “We had our chances and [the shots] just didn’t go in tonight but the boys fought very hard.” The Tritons could walk away that chilly evening with confidence after a hard fought match.

Notable statistics:

-UMSL Goalkeeper Jack Filla played all 110 minutes and acquired 5 saves.

-Drury outshot UMSL 17-10.

-3 cautionary yellow cards were handed out, 2 to UMSL.