Louisville soccer dropped two straight for the first time this season last week. While it may seem alarming at first, it's important to realize that the 2011 squad lost two straight in late September and went on to reach the NCAA quarterfinals. Tuesday's loss to Ohio State didn't affect conference standings, but Friday's loss at NC State dropped Louisville into a tie atop the Atlantic Division with Syracuse. The Orange will come to Louisville on October 17th in what will likely be a fairly pivotal match for conference positioning.
With a rough week behind us here on the Weekend Soccer Update, we're forging ahead with some good old fashioned fun that will never be mistaken for informational analysis. It's time to break down all of the "Goals of the Game" and see where everyone stands heading into the week. You may remember this as the Most Fun Goal of the Match discussion from last week, but that was way too wordy and rushed. Goal of the Game is even less original, so we need to roll with it. If anyone has other suggestions for the name, they're welcomed and encouraged. Interested sponsors are also welcome to contact me via e-mail.
Starting at the top, here are the Goal of the Game award winners. Complete standings will follow.
Game 1 | 1-0 victory vs. Maryland | Andrew Brody | Highlights
The problem we'll occasionally run into here is that some games only have one goal (some have none), but like the mathematical constant "e" in the natural logarithm, it is what it is. We don't have to understand it, we just have to accept it. Ricardo Velazco sets the table for Brody here with what some would call a delicious crossing ball to the far post, but the finish was equally as impressive. If there had been five goals in this game, Brody's would likely still have been the winner.
Game 2 | 0-0 draw vs. Cornell | No goals
Game 3 | 1-0 loss at St. Louis | No goals
Game 4 | 5-0 win vs. Duke | Will Vitalis | Highlights
Like Brody's goal vs Maryland, the through ball that comes from Tim Kubel obviously deserves credit. He did a good bit of work himself to get into a position to play the ball, which led to the finish. About the finish, if I were to tell you I haven't seen Vitalis do things like that fairly regularly in training, I'd be lying. He's one of the most technically gifted players on the Louisville team. The back-heel flick into the goal is one of those things you need to watch a few times to get an idea of, and this finish was top-class. I think our friends across the pond would call it "cheeky". Beautiful, awesome and sick are also acceptable adjectives.
Game 5 | 3-2 win at Boston College | Nolan Moore | Highlights
The veteran Moore scores the game-winner here, which certainly adds imaginary bonus points, but it was also a great goal. Shane Campbell sent a fine ball to the middle of the area off of a free kick, and Moore had great movement to get to the spot and tuck a nice finish just inside the far post. It's been mentioned here before how crucial set pieces are in road games, so success in that area also makes this goal the clear-cut choice for the GOTG.
Game 6 | 2-1 win at Kentucky | Tim Kubel | Highlights
This decision is the hardest one of the competition so far. When you watch the highlights, you'll see why. Basically, there's Tim Kubel's game-winner that's a certified blast and a wonderful individual effort. Before that, there's Velazco's goal that may have been less flashy individually, but involved an incredible touch from Ben Strong in the middle of the box that found Velazco on the back post. The initial cross on that goal came from Kubel as well. Combined, the young German has to get the nod here, as his game-winning strike was the difference between tying Kentucky and a win. The thought of sharing Abe Lincoln with Kentucky is not a pleasant one, so Kubel get's the honors for saving us from being put in that position.
Game 7 | 4-1 win vs. Pittsburgh | Daniel Keller | Highlights
Keller's goal was discussed already back when this whole thing began last week and was named the MFGOTG. Now, Daniel Keller is the founding member of the GOTG club. Here's the summary of the goal from last week's update: "The Louisville skipper took over with the grace of a Cirque du Soleil acrobat combined with the touch of the great Ronaldinho and a pinch of Karate Kid." The goal was Keller's first of the season and it was a wonderful finish.
Game 8 | 1-0 loss vs. Ohio State | No goals
Game 9 | 2-1 loss at N.C. State | Tim Kubel | Highlights
Kubel's goal on Friday night started a comeback effort that fell short in the end. While the loss in conference wasn't ideal, this low drive from Kubel was still very well done. It's another goal from a set piece that would have beat a lot of other goals had there been more in the game. The freshman German international takes the lead in the standings with this one, and it's well deserved given the form he's been in all season so far. Still, there are a lot of games to play and plenty of talented goal scorers on this Louisville team. A full recap is below.
1. Tim Kubel - 2 GOTGs (Game 6 at UK, Game 9 at NC State)
T2. Daniel Keller - 1 GOTG (Game 7 vs. Pitt)
T2. Andrew Brody - 1 GOTG (Game 1 vs. Maryland)
T2. Will Vitalis - 1 GOTG (Game 4 vs. Duke)
T2. Nolan Moore - 1 GOTG (Game 5 at B.C.)
It's a crowded race that could get more and more crowded as the year goes on, which is perfect because we all love drama and sports, no matter how much it's intentionally manufactured. Kudos also go to the Louisville highlights editors, who continue to select awesome soundtracks for the highlight packages.
Two huge matches lie ahead for Louisville this week, the first of which is tomorrow night at Lynn Stadium. The 12th-ranked Indiana Hoosiers will come to town for the latest chapter in the Border Battle, and kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. This is always a big one for the Cards and the Hoosiers, and Louisville will look to win back-to-back games in the series after a dominant 3-0 victory last season in Bloomington. The full preview is right here.
Following tomorrow night's showdown, Louisville will have to prepare quickly for an even bigger game against ACC foe and top-ranked Notre Dame. The Cards will head to South Bend for a Friday night date with the Irish at 7 p.m. Two seasons ago, Louisville beat Notre Dame 2-1 at Cardinal Park. This year, the Irish will come into the match as the defending national champions and the leaders of the Coastal Division. It'll be fun.
Next week's update will be a doozie, so rest up, head out to Lynn Stadium tomorrow night and get ready for a great week of Louisville Soccer. See you next Monday.