UofL’s men’s soccer team eased into a win on Friday night at Pittsburgh behind goals from Tate Schmitt and Mohamed Thiaw.
Play opened up in a very cagey fashion as both teams looked to find their feet under them, with unnecessary fouls and poor touches abound. The visiting Cards quickly found their rhythm however, gaining some good possession in Pitt’s half.
Shouts for a penalty from the Louisville bench pierced the otherwise silentious crowd on hand in the Steel City in the 12th minute as a free kick into the Pitt box left a Cardinal on the turf after some contact. Referee Mark Kadlecik was unmoved, and play continued on.
The first legitimate chance for either squad came just 2 minutes later, and it was Tate Schmitt the Cards who was just inches from notching the opening tally after a cross found the Sophomore midfielder’s head, but Pittsburgh keeper Mikal Outcalt came up with a great save from point blank range.
U of L would hold the vast majority of the possession in the succeeding phase of play, virtually unchallenged by the Panthers in the middle third and similarly so in their defensive third. Pitt had a few forays into the Cardinals’ box, and the defense bent but ultimately didn’t break.
The opening goal came after a cross from Tim Kubel was parried by Outcalt, and regained by Kubel, and lifted to Thiaw, who struck it and found the back of the net after ricocheting off of a pair of Pitt defenders.
U of L continued to pin the Pitt defense back well into their defensive third after the restart, as the Cards were still hungry for goals. It took until the 31st minute for senior goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland to be called into action for the Cards, as the defense held tough. Even at that, it was a slow roller that the Cardinal goal minder had no trouble corralling.
The good guys took the single goal advantage into the intermission, looking like they could be up by two or more goals.
Coming out of the break, Ken Lolla’s squad picked up right where they left off, dominating the majority of the play. Louisville finally got their second goal on the night, again from Junior College transfer Mohamed Thiaw just before the hour mark, his 4th in 5 games.
U of L would eventually settle for the two goal lead, happy to open conference play with a convincing win.
Pitt only got a single shot off in the second half, and only two found the mark. The Cards on the other hand got a staggering 11 shots off, turning 5 of them on net. The Cards were a bit over eager on offense at times, picking up 5 offside calls.
U of L put that disappointing loss to UK firmly in their rear-view mirror with this performance, and are certainly looking forward to a challenging upcoming schedule that features a match-up with No. 1 Notre Dame next weekend at Lynn. Before that tasty fixture, however, the Cards host Xavier on Tuesday night, kickoff at 7:30 p.m.