Photo courtesy DU Athletics
It hadn’t happened since October of 2014. The #4 Denver men’s soccer program had gone 37 straight regular season matches without a loss. But last night, that streak came to an end as Furman’s Danny Kierath beat Pioneer goalkeeper Nick Gardner in the 109th minute.
After an evenly-matched opening half, Denver dominated the second half, firing five shots, two on net, to one for Furman. The Pioneers even had three corners in the second half, but couldn’t find the back of the net on any of them.
The Pioneers have traditionally fared well in extra time, especially at home. Given their conditioning advantage over the vast majority of their opponents, this makes sense. It’s already difficult for teams not accustomed to the altitude to play a full 90 minutes, let alone 120. Going into extra time, you would have thought that Denver would have the advantage. After a dominant, though scoreless second half performance, it was almost a foregone conclusion that Denver would pull it out and extend the streak to 38. Unfortunately, the soccer gods had other ideas and Furman was the beneficiary.
The loss not only ends 37-match unbeaten streak, but it also marks the first regular season loss since Jamie Franks took over the program three years ago.
While the loss certainly stings for the Crimson and Gold, the Pioneers have much larger and more ambitious goals this year than keeping a regular season streak alive. They want to win a national title. They believe they can win a national title. An extra time loss to Furman doesn’t change a damn thing.