Through its first couple of outings, the No. 3 Washington men’s soccer team cruised to dominant wins over solid teams. But No. 19 Denver and its skilled offensive stars proved to be too much in the end for the Huskies, as they drop their first game of the season in a 3-2 double overtime result.
The game overall favored the offenses, as the two teams combined to shoot 20 shots, the Pioneers outshooting the Huskies 12-8. But it was also surprisingly physical, as there were 30 total fouls committed and six yellow cards assessed.
For the first time this year, redshirt freshman forward Noah Whitman was not in the starting lineup, as redshirt junior forward Andrew Conwell made his first career start instead. Conwell appeared in just three games last season, and his appearance in the starting 11 is yet another indication of this Washington team’s depth.
However, sophomore forward Blake Bodily, the reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, has been sitting out all season and did not play again tonight, as he is nursing a hamstring injury according to head coach Jamie Clark. Bodily’s absence was not really felt in the UW’s first two games, but in a game where the team needed a little extra offensive power to put it over the top, it wasn’t there.
Denver emerged as the aggressor in the opening moments, earning a quick corner kick in the fourth minute. A minute later, the Pioneers put the first goal on the board, sort of. As senior midfielder Moshe Perez’s free kick was sent into the box, it deflected off of a Huskies player and found the back of the net, giving his team the quick advantage.
Immediately after the goal, Conwell had a great chance to equalize, as his header was close to leveling the score, but it sailed just over the bar and out. Conwell helped to increase the Huskies’ pressure on the Denver defense and was incredibly involved in the first 21 minutes of action, taking a shot and the team’s first two corner kicks.
In the 27th minute, redshirt sophomore defender Kasey French’s cross into the middle gave the UW another chance to tie the game up, but the Denver defense was able to comfortably clear it.
Denver held the ball for most of the rest of the half, but in the 44th minute redshirt senior forward Kyle Coffee got his first legitimate chance of the game. He had a clean look at a shot just outside the box, but the Pioneers got in the way to clear it for a throw.
Two minutes into the second half, Washington got the equalizer it was looking for, courtesy of some quality interplay between redshirt sophomore defender Cole Grimsby and redshirt junior midfielder Joey Parish. Grimsby lined up to take a free kick from about 25 yards out, and roped in a beautiful cross that found Parish on the right side of goal, and he cleaned up the play easily heading the ball in. This is Parish’s first goal on the season, adding to the two assists he racked up in the first game of the season against Maryland.
Grimsby’s cross into Coffee a minute later almost gave the Huskies the lead, but Coffee’s header banged off the crossbar and out.
In the 60nd minute, Denver’s star striker Andre Shinyashiki, who had a hat trick in his team’s previous game, got his first legitimate opportunity to score on redshirt junior goalkeeper Saif Kerawala and the Washington defense. The senior forward blasted a shot towards goal, but Kerawala came off his line and made the key save in the 1-on-1 situation.
Washington freshman forward Dylan Teves made Denver pay for missing its opportunity two minutes later. Teves worked the ball towards the center of the field, blasted a shot with his left foot from 20 yards out, and scored his first career goal after the ball took a deflection which sent it just out of the keeper’s reach.
The game then entered a bit of a chippy stage, as three Washington players committed four fouls within a three minute span, the foul by senior defender Quentin Pearson drawing a yellow card.
In the 76th minute, the Pioneers came charging back. After a corner was awarded to Denver, Perez controlled the ensuing corner kick in the box and curved a shot across the goal up into the top right corner, tying the game at 2-2.
The teams then battled in the midfield for the remainder of regulation, neither team allowing the other to get a good chance at goal. Coffee took back to back corner kicks over the course of a minute, but no scoring opportunities arose from either.
Coffee continued to get heavily involved in the action to start overtime, taking a shot that was ultimately blocked, and adding five more corner kicks to his total during the first half of OT, none of which could produce a winning goal.
These would be the last chances the Huskies would get, as in the 102nd minute Shinyashiki scored the winner, receiving a cross from the left side to the top of the box, and finishing the shot in the bottom right corner.
Washington has one more game to go on this current stand, as it will travel to face Gonzaga on Monday at 7 p.m.
Reach reporter Chris Angkico at email@example.com. Twitter: @chrisangkico