It’s been a precarious start to the season for the University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team (2–3–1) as they’ve had to battle with poor form away from home during non-conference play, only managing a singular draw from three outings.
Things don’t get any easier for the Badgers with the No. 2 team in the nation, the Indiana Hoosiers, coming to the McClimon Complex this Sunday to start Big Ten play.
In comparison to the Badgers wavering early season form, the Indiana Hoosiers have been in a rich vein of form to start the season. In non-conference play they have compiled five wins and only one loss, which was at the hands of Wake Forest who are currently the No. 1 ranked team nationally.
But the Badgers can take some comfort in that despite facing struggles on the road. They have had more success on home turf to start the season, with two wins and a loss on home soil in non-conference play.
The added confidence of playing at home was relayed by head coach John Trask in his weekly press conference this week.
“Our guys are excited to be back at McClimon and are looking forward to a great test on Sunday,” Trask said.
Recent history is also favorable for the Badgers with the last matchup between the two sides being in last season’s Big Ten Championship match. The match saw the Badgers come away with a 4–2 win on penalty kicks to secure the Big Ten championship crown.
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Part of the Badgers struggles has come down to not being able to put the ball in the back of the net, having scored in only four of the first six games of the season.
When it comes to their play, up-front coach Trask says it is about finding the right combinations, a task made difficult by the amount of new attacking players on the roster.
“We’ve got a lot of young attacking players, and sifting through what the best mix of those guys are, and who’s going to be where — that’s all part of it.” Trask said.
A player to watch out for on the attacking end Sunday is Badger’s midfielder Duncan Storey, who has a team-leading ten shots and one goal next to his name.
The Badgers should also have a strong crowd behind them Sunday as it is the annual Pac the Mac day which sees supporters get admission for only one dollar, or free for UW students. Admission covers both the women’s game at noon and the men’s game at 3 p.m., so get down to the McClimon Complex and support both Badger Soccer teams as they kick off their Big Ten play.
If you can’t make it to McClimon, the game will also be covered on the Big Ten Network.