It’s hard to look at a team on paper and figure out just how all the players will play together.
Only when a team is tested in a competitive environment does a team really begin to learn more about themselves and how they play.
After Saturday’s game against the UCLA Bruins, the Omaha men’s soccer team should have a much clearer idea of how they want to play this season.
In their opening exhibition of the season, the Mavericks ran a much different formation than what was seen last year. Instead of playing five defenders at the back, as was common last season, Omaha played a more conventional back four against UCLA.
In front of the defense, Omaha played with a diamond midfield in support of two strikers up top.
Despite these changes, the Mavericks found themselves down 1-0 at halftime. A shot from the Bruin’s Eric Iloski that deflected off a Maverick defender before finding its way into the net was all that made the difference.
The second half of the game didn’t provide much more from either team. The Mavericks were presented only a handful of chances to find an equalizer, none of which came off. The game ended 1-0.
If anything, the Maverick’s will have hopefully gleaned some insight on how they hope to play this season. An attacking trio of junior Diego Gutierrez, junior transfer Aaron Uribe and sophomore Martin Veys showed glimpses of promise at times against UCLA. Once all three players develop a solid chemistry, they could be lethal.
Overall, there was much to enjoy in the Maverick’s first game of the season. Aside from the one goal, the defense in particular put in a good performance as they snuffed out most UCLA attacking opportunities.
Omaha will look to keep that form going as they open their regular season away against the University of California, Berkeley on Aug. 30. The Mavericks home opener will be on Sept. 6 against Columbia University. The home game can be viewed online at OMavs.com or listened to at mavradio.fm.