As DU has found out this season, the Soccer Gods can be cruel.
There were 632 fans watching at DU soccer stadium on this sunny Saturday afternoon, but most of them went home disappointed as the Pioneers could not manage to score a goal on a depleted Eastern Illinois team, as DU tied the Panthers, 0-0 in the Summit League opener for both teams.
DU dominated the game, taking 27 shots, with eight of them on goal and earning 64% ball possession, with EIU only managing 3 shots and none of them on goal. But alas, with only a total of four Denver goals scored in the eight DU games played so far this season, the Pioneers’ offensive inability to finish killed DU’s chances for a victory once again.
“We need more urgency from this group,” said DU head coach Jamie Franks of his team after the game to Pioneer Vision. “Only 38 more days of this season is guaranteed…We need our leaders to step-up, and we need everyone to step-up…We need to score goals.”
With the draw, DU fell to 1-5-2 on the season, while EIU fell to 3-3-1.
Some of the Pioneers’ best chances came late as DU pushed extra hard for a game-winner in overtime, as DU took all 10 shots in the extra sessions, including a header from junior Josh Drack that hit the EIU crossbar.
The Panthers, who played most of the latter 50 minutes of game time with 10 men and also had a second player red-carded in the 86th minute to play with nine men for the final 24 minutes, hung-on gamely to achieve the draw with the more talented Pioneers. The Panthers were led by eight saves from redshirt Sophomore goalie Jonathan Burke.
DU now faces another travel stretch, with five of its next six games coming on the road as the Pioneers try put themselves into position to finish in the top four in the Summit League in order to play in the League tournament here in Denver in November.
DU will jump on a plane to face a different Panther team next, as the Pioneers travel to the University of Pittsburgh (ACC) for a Monday night game.