Men’s Soccer | Photo by Monica Brutto | The Wright State Guardian
Wright State men’s soccer played its toughest opponent of the year on Wednesday night, as the Marshall Thundering Herd came to Alumni Field for a midweek showdown.
MRSH is currently ranked No. 6 in the most recent United Soccer Coaches poll, but that number doesn’t do its season justice. The Herd has faced two other ranked teams this season in Pittsburgh, who ranked No. 2 at the time, and Kentucky, currently ranked first in the nation.
The Herd took down Pittsburgh 2-1 and tied against Kentucky, continuing its dominance in the National Collegiate Athletic Association after a NCAA Tournament win in 2020. For the Raiders to stand strong against MRSH shows promise for the rest of the season.
Overview of game
The Raiders played physically and defended hard against the Herd, who moved the ball quickly to try and break the Raider defense. WSU was unafraid to go for dangerous tackles to keep pace with MRSH, earning six yellow cards throughout the game.
The Herd’s lone goal came in minute 16 when Matthew Bell got separation on the left side of the 18 and crossed it into Joao Souza for the goal.
In the end, the Raiders could only put two shots on target from six total attempts, where the Herd were able to control the game through the midfield. One goal was all MRSH needed, since WSU defended well but was unable to transition into the attacking third.
To the future
With a 4-1-2 record in the Horizon League, the Raiders currently sit in second in the HL standings, which would give the team a bye in the first round of the HL tournament.
WSU’s final matches are against Cleveland State and Detroit Mercy, currently sitting in first and fourth, respectively. The Raiders have a one-win lead over third and fourth place and need to hold a first or second place finish to keep its bye.
With three losses in a row, the Raiders need to gain some traction near the end of the season to keep the team championship hopes alive. With the team’s form in the HL all year and its stand against No. 6 MRSH, it seems possible to turn the tide.
The Raiders have not been to the HL tournament since 2019, when the team won it all and won its first round matchup in the NCAA Tournament.
As the HL Season comes to a close, the Raiders are nearly guaranteed to make the HL tournament. The final two games will determine seed and placement.
The next Raider match is on Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. verses Detroit Mercy. ESPN+ will stream the game.