UTEP’s tie against Rice yesterday afternoon was something that was not deserved by the Miners. Despite the number of close calls that the Miners had in situations that Rice almost scored, Istill feel that UTEP was the better soccer team at University Field on Sunday afternoon.
Both gols that Rice scored on UTEP could be credited more to good luck on Rice’s behalf or a lack of concentration on UTEP’s, but not to good soccer skill.
Sure, Rice maintained a majority of the ball possession for a majority of the game especially in the second half. However, Rice lacked creativity and definition in the final offensive one-third of the pitch.
UTEP was a threat every time they were in the opposing goal box and was efficient and unforgiving when it was time to put the ball in the back of the net.
UTEP Head Coach Kevin Cross made adjustments according to the way the game developed, and they were adequate. However, I think UTEP could have used the right side or flank of the field a lot more. This is something that the UTEP Head Coach noticed from the sideline and addressed at the half, but the Miners failed to carry out on the field of play.
Rice didn’t let up on UTEP forward Tess Hall, kicking her until she had to leave the game to injury. This forced Cross to move Katie Dorman to the loan forward position, a role that Dorman has the capacity to fill but is not used to.
Aside from Brittany Kindzierski who scored the both gols for UTEP, I think Azia Nicholson was the best player for UTEP, she had an outstanding game in the defensive midfield. Nicholson had a number of takaways for UTEP and made it difficult for Rice to set up and generate any real offensive threat. The majority of the breakdown that Rice had in the final one-third can be credited to her.
The Miners will hit the road next weekend taking on Memphis and UAB. Until next time, Go MINERS!!!