CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland State University men's soccer team saw its three match winning streak come to an end with a 2-0 setback to Milwaukee in Horizon League action Saturday evening at a mostly clear and breezy Krenzler Field.
CSU had its best moments early in the match but was unable to find the scoresheet, and the visitors would take advantage in the second half. The offside flag was not a friend to the Vikings on the night, as Cleveland State twice put the ball in the netting, including one that would have been the opening goal of the match, only to have both waved off.
Cleveland State nearly took the lead within a minute of the opening whistle. Sophomore Vlad Jandric got down the left flank, and the ball found its way to junior Noah Pio. Pio's curling effort from near the corner of the box appeared to have the keeper beat but sailed just over the bar.
CSU blocked Milwaukee's first shot attempt in the fifth minute. About five minutes later, senior Alec Nagucki played a ball over the top to classmate Kareem Banton down the left side. Banton found senior Hesham Hammouda making a near-post run, but Hammouda's shot from a tight angle went slightly wide.
Cleveland State thought it had pulled ahead just inside the half hour mark when Jandric headed home the ball high into the netting, but the flag was up to the dismay of the Viking bench.
Milwaukee had a couple decent looks at goal in the final 10 minutes of the opening half but both sailed wide of the target.
The Panthers picked up their level after the interval and were rewarded with the goals.
Banton sent a cross in from the left corner in the 51st minute, but the keeper was able to beat an onrushing Hammouda to the ball.
The Panthers pulled in front in the 55th minute. A pass from the back line fortuitously deflected to a Panther in space in the attacking third. He played off to Nick Moon, who accelerated forward and took a low shot from just outside the six-yard box that found the net.
CSU had a couple of chances to equalize but could not convert. In the 72nd minute, junior Gianluca DiFranco spun his man to create space, but his shot was slightly wide of the frame. Just over a minute later, Banton's service into the box was just too tall for sophomore Gabriel Pewu, who could only just nip the ball with his head, unable to get the power on the ball like he preferred.
Milwaukee put the game out of reach in the 78th minute. A Panther was able to get the ball to goal line extended before alertly finding a teammate at the top of the box. After a touch to create space, the shot through traffic found the netting.
In the 80th minute, redshirt junior Madifing Conde headed a ball home in the box. However, the flag took the goal off the board, and the Vikings were unable to get back into the match after that.
The teams combined for just four corner kicks in the match.
Cleveland State now embarks on a four match road swing that begins this coming Tuesday, Oct. 10, at Akron.