After starting the season 2-0 last weekend the men’s soccer team will look to make it 3-0 with their only game this weekend coming against Illinois-Chicago. MSU will take on the UIC Flames Sept. 5 at 8 p.m. The Flames are looking to move to 3-0 after defeating Cal State Fullerton 3-2 in overtime and San Francisco 1-0.
“UIC’s a very good team, they’re 2-0, they beat two California teams, I know Sean (Phillips) really well he does a great job,” Head Coach Damon Rensing said before practice on Tuesday. “It should be an entertaining game. I think both teams try to play a good style of soccer. UIC has a really nice field and atmosphere...it’ll be a very competitive match.”
The team may have went 2-0 last weekend but Rensing suggests that to prepare for the upcoming match, the Spartans must get better in every facet of their game.
“We just got to keep doing what we’re doing (but) a little bit better, a little sharper, you know work on our ball movement, get a little tighter defensively, we’ve seen some good stuff with not giving up any goals.” Rensing said. “We just gotta do everything a little better at a faster pace.”
The team will face the Flames in Chicago for the Spartans first away game of the season. It could be a big challenge for the young guys which lack traveling experience, as they are getting their first action away from DeMartin Stadium. It will be their first game without the advantageous home student section The Red Cedar Rowdies, which offer a significant home-field advantage.
“UIC is a very good team and they’ll have a pretty good atmosphere there, it will be a good test for the younger guys,” senior defender Ryan Keener said before practice on Tuesday. “We’ll have to really keep our cool and stick to our game plan and hopefully just keep executing.”
Rensing noted that the upcoming game will be a challenge for his young players but it will also be fun as it is a matchup ripe with tradition according to the coach and former player.
“I think we have a fairly veteran group, we certainly have some young players but the veterans have played in a lot of big games….so hopefully we’ll continue with a mature performance,” said Rensing. “Another thing of note that’s pretty cool is this UIC game there’s a lot of tradition here between Michigan State and UIC, we’ve played even since I was playing as a freshman back in the mid-90’s...both soccer programs have a lot of history and respect for each other.”
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