Recaps

Men’s Soccer 9/10/19 Update from the Soccer Yoda

Prior to their game with Omaha, one thing that could have definitely been said about the UNLV men’s 2019 soccer season was that it had been exciting. The Rebels had seen and scored plenty of goals during their matches and had experienced plenty of tension. They had seen leads lost, leads gained, had engaged in a furious comeback and had experienced two overtime games and all in only three matches. Play was up and down the field and never boring. The thing was, however, that all three games were losses and more of those goals were scored against the Rebels than by them. But that all changed against Omaha.

It’s a major soccer truism that if the ball is on your feet, the opposition can’t score and UNLV kept the ball on its feet very effectively during this match. In the first 2 minutes Rebel goalkeeper Lukas Betz was stretched to save an early shot by Maverick forward Diego Gutierrez. But that offensive thrust by Omaha was a rarity during most of this match. UNLV played its standard 4-3-3,but playing John Lynam together with Bryan Martinez up top for the first time along with Marco Gonzales changed the attacking scenario for the Rebels. This group of three forwards moved well. They checked back to help possession, they interchanged often, they made important diagonal runs, they forced the Omaha defense to scramble to keep up with them.

Not long after that early shot the Rebels midfield possession and movement forced an Omaha foul. The ensuing clear by the Mavericks was gathered by UNLV and as the ball came up the right, Bryan Martinez found Bailey Letherman who hit a 22 yd screamer from beyond the D. The ball hooked right and took Omaha keeper Ugo Tritz by surprise and he although he got to the ball, it managed to get through his hands and the Rebs were up.

UNLV continued to work an excellent short game and at 20 minutes Timo Mehlich forced a good save at the lower far post. 3 minutes later Martinez took another dangerous shot and at 33 minutes the Rebels worked the goal of the season so far. They worked the ball up the left using the possession play that had earmarked them in this match and the ball found Martinez making a diagonal run to the left. Marco Gonzales played it into him and he heel-passed a brilliant ball back to Marco who scored. For the remainder of the half the visitors kept the home standing Mavericks from mounting any real attacks and the half ended at 2-0 Rebels.

The second half saw Omaha change to a three-man back line in an attempt to put more pressure on UNLV and it produced quick results in the form of a tough shot that Betz gathered at the near post. Of course, pushing up like the Mavs were doing offers the opposition chances to counter and Timo had a good shot blocked off a very good counter attack movement. But Omaha was sensing more opportunities and they forced 2 corners at the ten minute mark although nothing came of them. And two minutes later they sprung Gutierrez who forced Betz to parry a hard shot which was rebounded into the goal by Vlad Jokic to pull Omaha to within a goal of equalizing.

It is said that the most dangerous time for a soccer team is right after they score and UNLV proved that to be the case. If anything, Omaha’s goal encouraged them to push up even more and only 2 minutes after the score, Tyler Allen pushed a long low pass to a running Martinez. The Mavericks misjudged the pace of the ball and Bryan controlled it without breaking stride. He followed that with a measured shot that beat Omaha’s second keeper (Tritz had been replaced) Jeremy Pollard.

Finding themselves down by two again, so soon after scoring, had a definite effect on Omaha. And, to the Rebels credit, they made sure that the same thing didn’t happen to them. They kept possession when they had it, they made sure not to overcommit on any passes, they played smart when they did go forward. In other words, they managed their lead well.

This play still produced some good moments for UNLV. At 23 minutes a counter directed by Mehlich gave Lynam an excellent chance and he forced Pollard into a great save. Later, some smart play gave Gonzales room at the 18. He took the ball across the line to his right, beat two defenders, but then uncharacteristically sliced the shot. At 42 minutes Omaha finally took a somewhat dangerous attempt off a header, but it cleared wide of the UNLV goal and 3 minutes later the Rebels had their first win of the season.

Overall it was an vast improvement in control, possession, effective attacking and smart defense by UNLV. This squad surely seems capable of this type of play and if they can repeat this kind of effort a successful season is still a good possibility.

Men’s Soccer 9/4/19 Update from the Soccer Yoda

The NCAA only gives Division 1 soccer teams two weeks to prepare for a new season and this generally produces exciting, if not purist-quality, matches in the early weeks of a new campaign. Games tend to be close and decided by bounces and errors rather than by the exceptional play that can come later in the season as teams begin to jell. For squads with a number of new players it can be even tougher as cohesion is difficult to master while players still learning teammates names.

So, with 13 new players on a 26 man side and a new defensive addition, Billy Jones, missing this game while playing for New Zealand’s Olympic team, UNLV has been at the bottom of the new team-early-season-hill-to-climb. Despite excellent efforts in its first two matches, the unsettled nature of the team and some hard luck has combined to hand the Rebels two heartbreaking losses to start the 2019 season.

San Diego State came into Johann Stadium having suffered a first match defeat after blowing two leads against San Diego University while the Rebels were still smarting from the overtime loss to UC Santa Barbara. As the game began the Aztecs hit a number of long balls to test the Rebel defense and that produced little threat. Actually the most meaningful event of the first couple of minutes was an injury to Rebel midfielder Nico Clasen. Although he continued to play for the rest of the contest, the strain to his back bothered him throughout. The first scoring threats came from set plays as UNLV and San Diego St both hit the crossbar from long efforts after restarts. The Rebels found success in maintaining possession in deeper areas and sending accurate long passes to their wings on the run, particularly on the left through Marco Gonzales. Marco hit a running shot at SDSU goal keeper Max Watkin and two minutes later drew defenders to himelf and then found Timo Mehlich who forced Watkin into a terrific save. The ensuing corner kick, taken by Clasen went to Nick Williams who headed strongly into the net at 16:47 and UNLV had the lead.

The attacks continued and Gonzales, after receiving an excellent diagonal ball from Mehlich, again threatened the Aztec goal, going just wide. San Diego was reduced to long hopeful passes, but at 22:15 UNLV defender Chilo Sanchez was called for a very soft penalty. This was particularly exasperating as there was nobody in a threatening area near the Rebel goal, the foul was questionable and the placement of the foul inside the penalty area was iffy in itself. However UNLV goal keeper Enrique Adame continued his streak of scaring the daylights out of opposing penalty takers, as for the second consecutive game an opposition penalty kick was missed without Enrique touching the ball. This time it was Pablo Pelaez who failed to convert as he fired off the crossbar. This signaled a change in the game however. In the next ten minutes Jake Mecham headed a ball off the UNLV goal line, Palaez again found the UNLV crossbar, this time from 25 yds and the Rebels pulled back to protect the lead. Despite gaining a major portion of possession, San Diego used it to force direct passes ahead of their forwards and the Rebel defense had no trouble picking off those efforts. Actually, despite the overwhelming possession time held by the Aztecs, the most eventful attack of the late first half came when UNLV defender James Drye hit an accurate longball down the Rebel left to Gonzales who was barely wide with his try at goal.

As the half ended, the lack of possession by the home side was troubling and the beginning of the second half was no different. San Diego dominated the ball and it took 6 minutes for UNLV to mount any real penetration into the Aztec half. However, the Rebel defense was still proving to be an impenetrable wall to SDSU attacks. In the 59th minute that changed. Coming down their left, Palaez made up for his missed PK when he spotted an unmarked Hunter George square across the right who shot into the lower far corner to tie the game.

UNLV responded by going on the offense and they produced a couple of corners. One of the longer passes was intercepted however, and quick work by San Diego put Tevenn Roux into space on the rebel right. He evaded two defenders and beat Adame to pit SDSU ahead. At this point Jones’ absence was looking like an issue.

The Rebels were quick to respond, Hayden Prasad , UNLV freshman forward, was making an impression on the Aztec left defense and forced a foul deep on the Rebel right wing. Nico hit a twisting free kick that wound its way through the penalty area and into the goal. UNLV 2 – SDSU 2.

As the match neared the 90 minute mark both teams opened up their offenses in attempts to get the winner, but, despite a couple Rebel crosses, regular time ended without shots at either goal.

So, UNLV entered into its second overtime game in 4 days. Again, both teams went for the golden goal and the play was end-to-end. San Diego shot at 1:17; UNLV earned a corner at 2:10 through Marco and Timo pairing up. Gonzales came off the UNLV left into the center of the field and almost weaved through a number of Aztec defenders. San Diego got a corner for itself at 5:34. Finally, in the seventh minute, San Diego gained the ball on its right and a quick couple of passes found George in front of goal. He hit an excellent turning shot and that was the match.

Overall, UNLV did a better job of preventing turnovers than in their first game and produced a number of effective attacks. However, the lack of possession during the middle of the contest gave San Diego St a chance to get itself back into the game and eventually they solved the Rebel defense. When the game turned into an up-and-down affair, the first great play or major defensive error was going to decide the winner and SDSU made the play.

The Rebels are on the road for the the next two weeks and will get a number of opportunities to get that first victory and come home with a winning record.

Men’s Soccer 4/16/19 Update from the Soccer Yoda

This past Saturday the Rebels closed out their 2019 spring schedule with a home match against
Brigham Young University’s club team. As is typical with college spring programs, UNLV sported a
lineup which might have little resemblance to the actual eleven that takes the field next August in their
first varsity game. On the surface the competition, being a club team, might have seemed to be below
UNLV’s standard, even in the spring. But that would be deceiving. The NCAA is famous for it’s
numerous restrictions on the eligibility of it’s athletes, but clubs do not necessarily operate under the
same rules. Many participants in club/recreational sports would be ineligible under NCAA rules. In
addition, BYU is no slouch in club soccer. In making it to the NIRSA (the club version of the NCAA)
national Elite Eight last fall they established themselves as a powerhouse in the collegiate club soccer
world.
And any thought that the Cougars would be an easy touch were dashed early in the match. The
Rebels came out in a 4-3-3 formation and when in possession in the back, they pushed their outside
backs up while bring defensive midfielder Nico Clasen back to orchestrate the buildup from the back.
BYU responded by pressing high, at the least… to force long balls from the Rebels or, at best…to gain
possession deep in the UNLV defense if they could win the ball. Sure enough, nine minutes into the
game the Cougars jumped on a poor Rebel pass reception to take the lead.
However, 5 minutes was all it took for the Rebels to answer. A series of possession passes in
their own half followed by a searching ball down the left produced a Cougar foul just outside the BYU
penalty area. UNLV played the ball short and Clasen hit a masterpiece into the left side of the goal from
20 yds… 1-1.
UNLV continued the offensive, a nice set of passes through the middle produced a wicked shot
from the right side by Ivan Farias stretching the BYU keeper into a difficult save. And only 2 minutes
later a long ball down the right again set up Farias for a keeper-parried attempt which gave the Rebels a
corner.
At that point the Cougars dropped off to stop the deep incursions by the UNLV attack and while
successful in cutting off any more goal chances it also gave a good deal of midfield control to the home
team. Finally, at 34 minutes BYU put together a string of passes which gave them some penetration and
4 minutes later they got a man free in the Rebel penalty area. Although the ref decided the ensuing
tackle was not a penalty kick , the UNLV back line was reminded that the Cougars were still capable of
causing trouble.
The second half continued the trend established in the first. The home team maintained field
position, but had difficulty turning it into anything significant while BYU did not threaten with any of
their few minutes of ball control. During the half coach Rich Ryerson made some changes in position
for some of the UNLV players, most notably moving Marco Gonzalez from midfield to a central
forward spot. Marco’s speed proved to be a big problem for the BYU defense. The Rebels occasionally
used a straight through ball down the middle to catch the visitors central defense moving up, as the play
was dominated by midfield short passes. 32 minutes into the half a long ball found Gonzalez and he
was unfortunate not to score and 5 minutes later a central through ball put Marco in as he coolly went
around the onrushing keeper to give UNLV the lead.
The last 10 minutes were very different though. BYU pushed hard for the equalizer and the
Rebels couldn’t relieve the pressure for any length of time. Only some very scrappy play in front of the
home goal kept the lead and a UNLV victory.
The game was one of UNLV dominance after the initial BYU goal and the result was reflective
of the play although the last few minutes caused some scary moments for the Rebels. The spring season
solidified the general feeling that the Rebels have some very strong areas and some parts of their game,
particularly more clinical production from their time in their attacking third, which can be improved
upon. With the addition of some strong inbound talent and the return of most of last season’s squad,
next fall looks to be an exciting one for the Rebel faithful.

Rebels Claim 400th Win In Program History Friday Night

UNLV takes down Cal Baptist 1-0 for first WAC win of the season.

LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV senior forward Daniel Moran posted the only goal of the game to give the Rebels a 1-0 shutout victory over Cal Baptist in WAC men’s soccer action Friday night from Peter Johann Memorial Field. This was the 400th win in the 45-year history for the Rebels, who are now 400-383-64 all-time.

The Rebels improved to 6-5 for the year and evened their record to 1-1 in league play, while Cal Baptist dropped to 5-4-1, and 1-1 in the WAC. 

REBEL OF THE GAME: Moran, a Las Vegas native, notched his first game-winning goal of the year in the 41st minute. The winning play was set up by a Lancer foul, which awarded UNLV a free kick 30 yards away from the goal. Nico Clasen took the kick and from the right side launched the ball to the near post inside the box, where Moran connected on it with a header past the CBU goalkeeper for the score.

STAT OF THE GAME: Cal Baptist came into the night averaging over 14 shots and two goals per game, but were held scoreless while attempting only six total shots, with just one on goal.

REBEL NOTES: 
* Moran notched his third goal of the season and is tied for second on the team in points with seven.
* Clasen recorded his WAC-leading fifth assist of the season.
* UNLV snapped a three-game losing streak with the victory.
* Friday’s win was the third shutout victory of the season for the Rebels.

NEXT FOR THE REBELS: UNLV closes out the weekend with a Sunday, Sept. 30 contest at 1 pm against CSU Bakersfield. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and staff, while all kids 17 and under are free at UNLV athletic events. Sunday’s game will be streamed live on the WAC Digital Network, available on UNLVRebels.com as well as through the Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV and Android streaming devices.

Top-25 Victory For The Rebels At Tulsa

Rebels are a perfect 3-0 this season and have outscored their opponents by an 8-1 margin

TULSA, Oklahoma (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV men’s soccer claimed its first ranked victim of the season Friday night, knocking off #23/15 Tulsa 1-0 on the road at Hurricane Stadium. The Rebels moved to 3-0 with the victory, while earning their third win over the past two years against a ranked opponent.
 
Thanks to a stellar defensive performance, the Rebels were able to push the attack on the Hurricanes for the majority of the night. Following the UNLV goal in the 60th minute, the Rebels switched their tactics to a defensive mode, and were able to withstand the 11 Tulsa shots in the second half to claim the shutout victory.
REBEL OF THE GAME: Sophomore Marco Gonzalez scored the game-winner for the Rebels, his second in as many games and his fourth goal in the past two games, which leads the WAC. He would finish off a pass into the box from 12 yards out, with Bay Kurtz and Tyler Allen both receiving credit for an assist.
THE TURNING POINT: Tulsa quickly attempted two shots right at the start in the opening two minutes. The Hurricanes were then held without a shot attempt the rest of the opening half, and UNLV was able to take the attack to the host team. The Rebels took seven shots against Tulsa in the first half, forcing Hurricane goalkeeper Cooper Clark to make three saves. The momentum stayed with UNLV coming out of the halftime break, leading to the game-winning score.
STAT OF THE GAME: The Rebels held a 6-2 edge on shots on goal for the night. Overall UNLV outshot the Hurricanes 15-13.
QUOTABLE:
“It was a great road win tonight. It’s always fantastic to get a chance to play a highly talented team on the road and to face that challenge, and for us to come out here and come away with the victory is huge for our team. The players trusted the game plan and we couldn’t be more excited with tonight’s result. We have to learn how to win on the road if we want to make the postseason, and this is just one of the many steps along with way. Now it’s important for us to regroup and be ready to play on Sunday.”
– UNLV Head Coach Rich Ryerson
REBEL NOTES: 
* Gonzalez has nine points for the season (four goals, one assist) through four games, after posting 18 total points his freshman season.
* Through three games, the Rebels have allowed just five total shots on goal in 270 minutes of action.
* UNLV has outscored its opponents by an 8-1 margin this season.
* UNLV has started the season 3-0 for the first time since the 2014 squad won its first five of the year.
* This is UNLV’s third win over a ranked team in the past two years, after knocking off #15 Portland and #23 Seattle a year ago.

NEXT FOR THE REBELS: UNLV remains in Tulsa to take on the Oral Roberts Eagles Sunday, Sept. 2 at 3 pm.

Offense Gets Back On Track In 3-1 Win At CSUN

UNLV scores three first-half goals to defeat Cal State Northridge Thursday night

NORTHRIDGE, California (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV women’s soccer concluded its three-game road stretch with a dominant 3-1 win over CSUN in Northridge, California, Thursday night. The Rebels used three first-half goals to grab the lead, then held off the Matadors in the second half to get back in the win column after a loss and a draw last weekend in Utah. UNLV moves to 3-1-1 on the season, while CSUN falls to 1-2-1.

The Scarlet and Gray will return home to finish out the weekend, hosting Cal State Bakersfield at Peter Johann Memorial Field on Sunday, September 2 at 1 p.m.

THE TURNING POINT: UNLV took an early 1-0 lead, but the Matadors quickly tied it up in the 14th minute. The Rebels didn’t waste any time responding, with junior midfielder Katie Ballou heading in a corner kick from senior forward Amanda Galbraithin the 18th minute to take the lead right back. Ten minutes later, junior transfer Kim Olivares scored her first career goal as a Rebel on a nifty shot off a pass from junior defender Paige Almendariz, giving the Rebels the two-score lead.

REBEL OF THE GAME: Galbraith showed why she’s so important to the offense as she opened things up just after the five minute mark, finding the back of the net after fellow forward Michaela Morris fed her on the left side of the box. Twelve minutes later, Galbraith sent the textbook corner into the waiting head of Ballou for what proved to be the game-winner.

STAT OF THE GAME: After being limited to one goal in over 200 minutes of action last weekend, the Rebels scored three goals in a span of 24 minutes in the first half.

QUOTABLE: Head coach Chris Shaw:
“I’m very happy with our performance overall tonight. Three goals on the road against a tough and physical Northridge team isn’t easy. I thought the defense battled hard and I was impressed with them tonight.”

REBEL NOTES: 
* UNLV and CSUN finished at an even 13-13 for shots on the night – the Rebels have not been out-shot in five games this year
* The road victory is the first for UNLV since September 24, 2017 – a 1-0 win at San Diego State. Prior to Saturday’s double overtime 1-1 draw at Utah Valley, the Rebels had lost five straight on the road dating back to last season
* UNLV returns home Sunday, where they are 2-0 this year and were 9-1 last season
* Thursday’s match marked the first time since 2010 the two schools had played each other. CSUN won the last matchup 1-0 in Las Vegas on Sept. 12, 2010
* The draw breaks a five-game regular season road losing streak that dates back to the end of last season
* UNLV is celebrating its 20th season in program history, with the official recognition taking place on Friday, Oct. 5 as the Rebels host Fresno State

Hat Trick For Gonzalez In 4-1 Win Over Evansville

UNLV outscores its opponents 7-1 this weekend.

OREM, Utah (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV sophomore forward Marco Gonzalez posted his first career hat trick to lead the Rebels past Evansville 4-1 Sunday morning in college men’s soccer action from Clyde Field on the Utah Valley campus. The Rebels moved to 2-0 on the year with the win, their second straight in the Utah Valley Soccer Invitational.

Gonzalez scored his first two goals exactly one minute apart in the 15th and 16th minute of the game to put the Rebels ahead 2-0 early. The Aces, who were limited to just five total shots in the game, managed to break down the Rebel defense in the 26th minute to close within 2-1. UNLV only allowed one more shot on goal the rest of the way, and posted a pair of goals after halftime for the three-goal victory.

THE TURNING POINT: With the lead at one coming out of the halftime break, the Rebels took control when Nico Clasen stole the ball at midfield and sent up a long pass on the left side to Gonzalez. The Las Vegas native raced into the box past his defender, juked out the Aces goalkeeper and dribbled to the middle of the box before easily scoring on the empty goal, making its a 3-1 Rebel advantage in the 52nd minute.

REBEL OF THE GAME: Gonzalez is already halfway to his freshman year’s goal total after his three-goal performance against Evansville. His first goal came on a chip shot over the goalkeeper from 18 yards out, and he then finished off a great cross into the box from Timo Mehlich for his second score, before adding his third score in the second half.

STAT OF THE GAME: UNLV outshot the Aces 22-5, and held an 8-2 edge on shots on goal.

QUOTABLE: 
“To score seven goals and only concede one, that’s a pretty good weekend. We did good things today in breaking down Evansville’s defense on the outside and in getting behind their backline. Marco (Gonzalez) showed great resilience today, a really great individual performance for him. At the same time we had a very good overall team effort, I thought to come out and play that well on a Sunday ”
– UNLV Head Coach Rich Ryerson

REBEL NOTES: 
* Gonzalez posted an assist on Friday to give him seven total points for the weekend.
* Timo Mehlich closed out the scoring on the 76th minute thanks to a long pass from fellow German native Nico Clasen. It was Mehlich’s second goal of the weekend.
* Clasen picked up his first two assists of the season, coming on the third and fourth Rebel goals.
* Jordan Chavez was credited with the assist on UNLV’s first score, while Mehlich and Tyler Allen assisted on the second goal.
* Three of UNLV’s goals in the game came after a steal at midfield leading to a long pass up the field for the score.
* UNLV outscored its two opponents by a 7-1 margin this weekend, and allowed only three total shots on goal between the two games.

NEXT FOR THE REBELS: UNLV will play a third straight game away from Las Vegas when it faces the Tulsa Hurricanes Friday, Aug. 31 at 6 pm in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tulsa will be coming into the match after claiming a 2-1 win at No. 15 Michigan and a 0-0 overtime tie at No. 4 Michigan State this weekend.

Season-Opening Shutout Win For The Rebels

UNLV takes down the FAU Owls 3-0

 

OREM, Utah (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV men’s soccer overcame a slow start in the first half with a three-goal explosion over a five-minute span after halftime for a 3-0 shutout victory over Florida Atlantic in the season opener for both teams Friday afternoon at Clyde Field on the Utah Valley campus.

 
UNLV did not have much going on offensively in the first half, as the Owls were the ones threatening to score over the first 20 minutes while taking four of the first five shots of the game. The Rebels stayed strong on defense however, and started to push the attack with several shots on goal to end the half. 
THE TURNING POINT: UNLV drew a penalty kick in the 50th minute after Timo Mehlich was pulled down in the box, the junior midfielder sent his attempt up the middle for the goal and a 1-0 lead. Four minutes later the lead doubled on Bay Kurtz’s score on the empty net after the Owl goalkeeper came out to challenge the play in the 54th minute. UNLV added a third goal just 65 seconds later in the 55th minute for a commanding 3-0 lead.
REBEL OF THE GAME: Senior forward Daniel Moran assisted on the game’s second goal, and finished off an assist from Marco Gonzalez when he tapped in the shot in front of the goal to give him three points for the afternoon.
STAT OF THE GAME: Only one of FAU’s 11 credited shots in the game were on goal, while nine of UNLV’s 12 shots were on frame.
QUOTABLE:
“I thought we started a little apprehensive, the guys were tentative with their first game and that kept us from playing with a good rhythm  and possession. We regrouped well at halftime, we were able to make a lot of changes and keep guys fresh and that led to a great five-minute spell there to get the three goals. Good start to the season.”
– UNLV Head Coach Rich Ryerson
REBEL NOTES: 
* UNLV goalkeeper Enrique Adame only needed one save to pick up the seventh shutout in his career.
* Bay Kurtz scored his first career goal as a Rebel after transferring to UNLV this summer from Virginia
* Daniel Moran has scored goals in the past two season-openers for UNLV after his golden goal a year ago in a 3-2 double-overtime win at Portland.
* This is the second straight year UNLV has won its season-opener, and both were away from Las Vegas.

NEXT FOR THE REBELS: UNLV remains in Orem for its second game of the weekend, a Sunday morning, 9:30 am contest against Evansville. The game will have a live video feed on the WAC Digital Network, available both on UNLVRebels.com and on the WAC’s Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV and Droid TV channels.