The Washington men’s soccer team has finished its preseason and is looking to ride its momentum into the first games of the regular season. In their two exhibition games, the Huskies dominated Seattle Pacific 5-1 at home and played to a 1-1 draw in Spokane against Gonzaga.
Head coach Jamie Clark and the Huskies are continually working to find the team identity that they plan to use for the rest of the season and the preseason has certainly given them opportunities to do so.
“The beauty of exhibition games in regards to our team is it allows new questions to be raised and new solutions to be found,” Clark said. “Throughout the preseason, I felt we were solid but definitely left some potential on the table.”
He believes his team has to look to control their offensive movement and pace of play in an efficient manner and wants the Huskies to spread the ball around instead of having one person take too many touches.
Washington’s season opener is at home against No. 18 Denver, a team which Clark admitted has given the UW some trouble in recent history.
“Denver has certainly been a thorn in our side for the past few years,” Clark said. “Every time we lost to them has been by slim margins.”
Last season, Washington lost to DU 3-2 in double overtime. In 2016, the Dawgs lost 2-1 to the Pioneers in the second round of the NCAA tournament. However, those two losses were on the road and this time around, Washington is the one with the home field advantage.
Following the Denver game, the Huskies will have a few days rest before facing San Francisco at Husky Soccer Stadium.
Clark says that although it would be nice to walk away from both home games with a win, he is looking at the bigger picture, which is the overall future of the team heading forward into the season. These first two games are meant to serve as learning opportunities for the team, particularly for the freshmen.
“Early in the season, it is difficult to balance the focus between our team and the opposing team, which makes it difficult to play extremely well at the start,” Clark said. “Regardless of win or loss, I’m hoping we can walk away with more information on our team and a more polished product of what we could be.”
The Huskies are expecting big things from midfielder John Magnus and forward Joey Parish this weekend.
“Johnny has the unique ability to control the game in the middle and dictate the direction of the game,” Clark said. “This could open things up for Joey, who I expect to get off to a hot start and possibly be our 10-goal scorer this season.”
The Huskies play DU this Friday at 7:30 p.m. and then San Francisco on Monday at 1 p.m.
Reach reporter Le Bui at email@example.com. Twitter: @LeBui18
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