Badgers ride momentum

first_imgGREG DIXON/Herald file photoComing off a win against Penn State that snapped a 12-game conference winless streak, the Wisconsin men’s soccer team now turns its attention to Northern Illinois. The Huskies (8-3-4) host the Badgers (8-6-2) in a midweek afternoon game at the newly opened NIU Soccer and Track and Field Complex. UW is 0-5 in its last five visits to DeKalb, which was news to head coach Jeff Rohrman.“I actually didn’t know that was what we were,” Rohrman said. “It doesn’t matter. It’s a new game, a different team. … It’s just a matter of preparing and getting yourself ready.”Junior midfielder Taylor Waspi, on the other hand, keeps that particular stat in mind.“I think it’s always good to keep it in your mind and use it as motivation,” Waspi said. “Knowing that we’ve lost every time going in, it’s not an option (to lose). This team’s about changing everything this year, so we’re going to have to change that.”The Badgers will have their work cut out for them against a Huskies team that owns a 5-1-3 mark at home. NIU has six players with at least two goals on the season, including points leader Brad Horton (six goals) and 6’5″ midfielder/forward Finn Jor.“They’re a real hard team to play against, real physical,” Waspi said. “They have a lot of big players.”Besides Jor, NIU has nine other field players on the roster that are over six feet tall. Rohrman doesn’t believe the size issue will be as great a problem as the Huskies’ overall athleticism.“One of the things we’re going to have to do very well is deal with their wide guys,” Rohrman said. “They’ve got some very tricky, athletic, fast guys out wide that could pose problems for us.”One thing the Badgers have going for them is momentum. Following a 2-0 win against Green Bay, UW came back from an early deficit to post a four-goal second half against Penn State. The two-game win streak marks the first time the Badgers have won consecutive games since Sept. 5, when they were in the midst of what would end up a five-game unbeaten streak.“That (PSU game) was a huge win,” Waspi said. “Just going into this game and our last two of the season, we needed that win. It gives us good confidence.”Confidence will be critical on the road, where UW has struggled to a 1-3 mark. In UW’s defense, those losses came to Big Ten-leading Michigan State and ranked teams in Indiana and Ohio State. Rohrman believes this game should be different, and that a short road trip could be beneficial for the team.“It’s not like we’re driving seven hours; it’s about a two-hour trip,” Rohrman said. “I’d like to think that it’s a little bit to our advantage. Our guys are gonna not be in class, whereas their guys are going to be in class for a few more hours.”The focus for the Badgers will be continuing to play as well as they have been the past two games. Rohrman believes that, aside from being solid defensively, the key will be to limit turnovers and avoid making mistakes NIU could convert on. The overall game plan will have to change a bit in response to what the Huskies show defensively.“We may have to play a little bit more direct, a little more over the top,” Rohrman said. “We’ve got a guy in Brandon Miller and a guy in Scotty Lorenz who can follow him and … combine with him, which can make a long pass an effective pass for us. We just have to understand that might be the call of the day… given what they’re throwing at us.”For Waspi, the drive to finish the season strong will be enough to fuel the Badgers.“These [last] two games mean everything to us,” Waspi said. “We need to win both, going into the Big Ten Tournament.”last_img read more

Europa League draw: Arsenal, Man United, Wolves discover group stage opponents

first_imgArsenal, Man United, Wolves, Celtic and Rangers have discovered their opponents for the 2019/20 Europa League group stage.All five British teams were in the hat when the draw took place in Monaco, but they’ve all avoided each other having been drawn in separate groups.Manchester United face a couple of long-distance midweek trips after being drawn in a Europa League group with Astana of Kazakhstan, Partizan Belgrade and AZ Alkmaar.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team are set to play in Group L and their away clash with Astana will see United make a 6,000 mile round trip to Nur-Sultan.Last season’s finalists Arsenal have been drawn against Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liege and Vitoria Guimaraes.Frankfurt reached the semi-finals last term before being knocked out by Chelsea.Wolves have been put in a group with Besiktas, Braga and Slovan Bratislava.Scottish Champions Celtic will play Lazio, Rennes and Cluj – the Romanian club who knocked them out of Champions League qualifying.Rangers, meanwhile, were placed with Porto, Young Boys and Feyenoord.Europa League group stage draw in full:GROUP A: Sevilla, APOEL, Qarabag, F91 DudelangeGROUP B: Dynamo Kyiv, Kopenhaven, Malmo, LuganoGROUP C: Basel, Krasnodar, Getafe, TrabzonsporGROUP D: Sporting CP, PSV Eindhoven, Rosenborg, LASKGROUP E: Lazio, Celtic, Stade Rennais, CFR ClujGROUP F: Arsenal, Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liege, VitoriaGROUP G: Porto, Young Boys, Feyenoord, RangersGROUP H: CSKA Moscow, Ludogorets, Espanyol, FerencvarosGROUP I: Wolfsburg, Gent, Saint-Etienne, OleksandriyaGROUP J: Roma, Borussia Monchengladbach, Istanbul Basaksehir, WolfsbergerGROUP K: Besiktas, Braga, Wolves, Slovan BratislavaGROUP L: Manchester United, Astana, Partizan Belgrade, AZ Alkmaar Source: talkSPORTlast_img read more