On the berm, the dogs were all bark. But on the field, the players were all bite, accruing 39 fouls between the two teams.
After losing to Creighton on Friday night, #11 Clemson took revenge with a 1-0 victory against the Mavericks, in front of several pooches taking advantage of a promo event.
“That’s not the type of team we are – I don’t think that’s the type of team that Coach Warming wants his team to be,” said Clemson Head Coach Mike Noonan after the game. “It went both ways.”
“I’ve got resilient, really good kids,” Noonan said in relation to the Creighton result. “We had something to take care of… I’m really proud of the way the players responded.”
In the first half, Clemson led the foul count with 10 to Omaha’s 3. But the Mavericks responded with 14 more after the break, to Clemson’s 12. The game featured 8 yellow cards and one ejection – Clemson’s Malick Mbaye. Clemson and Omaha tied in yellow cards.
The entire match featured one goal. Clemson sailed in a corner kick which bounced off several heads before reaching maverick Hugo Ellouk. In an effort to clear the ball over the net, Ellouk knocked the ball into his own net, past Matt Smith, Omaha’s goalkeeper.
“I’m not going to call it an own goal,” commented Smith. “Hugo just tried to deflect it over the bar… it just came in over me.”
Omaha had 9 shots with 3 on goal during the game. In the first half, Omaha sent one bouncing to the then-unoccupied net, only to be denied when a Clemson player kicked it backwards at the last moment. “I think their center back made one of the greatest saves I’ve seen in college soccer,” said Omaha Head Coach Bob Warming.
Warming pointed to the short turnaround between their matchup two days earlier. “The minimum amount of rest time you need to recover from a soccer match is 72 hours… (the players) did everything they could to get ready for the game.”
With the absence of Elvir Ibisevic, Omaha’s offensive production has struggled – in their first two games, Omaha ended scoreless. “You want your team to be able to create chances, and, against some incredibly tough competition… the guys are making chances. It’s gonna come,” said Warming.
The attendance was 565 humans, and several dogs – the Omaha Athletic Department offered discounted berm seating for fans who brought their furry friends. Dogs also received a free bandana.