One of things that many fans struggle to adjust to when beginning to follow soccer is how one team can dominate a game but still fail to win. Rarely in a basketball game can a team take four times as many shots as their opponents and lead in every measurable statistical category and still lose. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to Xavier Sunday night on a sweltering night in Alabama as the Musketeers dropped a game 2-0 to UAB.
Coach Andy Fleming saw a lot of good to take from the loss “We hit a post and missed three to four very good looks at goal. Early in the year, it's important to measure whether or not you're generating chances and how well your performances are and how your personnel is. I liked those aspects.” Xavier outshot the Blazers 15-4, took four more corners, and put more shots on frame. In the 22nd minute a free kick hit the woodwork, and in the 33rd a one on one went begging when Blazers keeper Joe Kuzminsky was quickest to react. The Musketeers profligacy came back to haunt them late in the game.
In the 69th minute a long ball in found freshman Xavier keeper Zachary Nelson, on his debut, flat footed when he misjudged the flight of the ball. Onrushing UAB mid Andrew Nkpolukwu outjumped Nelson to nod in the first goal of the game. Nelson’s torrid five minutes continued in the 72nd when senior Blazers striker Rami Dajani got clear and Nelson brough him down in the box. Dajani then took his own penalty and beat Nelson to the right to close the scoring for the game. Xavier’s continued dominance couldn’t conjure the goals to match UAB’s burst, and the Musketeers headed home 1-1 on the year.
According to Coach Fleming “We'll get back to work on Tuesday with the Herculean task of taking on Virginia on the road and then hosting Dartmouth at home – both Top 25 ranked teams. This program always responds well after a loss and has answered the bell with top opponents and I'm confident you'll see us do that next week.” Xavier takes on Virginia Friday night on the road, with first touch slated for 7:30