Sun Devil Soccer drops 2-1 decision at Washington
SEATTLE – The Sun Devil soccer team ended up with a split on its trip to the Pacific Northwest after being edged by Washington 2-1 on Sunday.
After nearly 87 minutes of play, the Sun Devils (7-4-3, 3-4-1 Pac-12) had visions of a much different scenario, one that would see them going back to the Valley of the Sun with two wins and a three-game unbeaten streak heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.
Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, it was not to be as the Huskies (9-4-3, 3-4-1) scored two goals in the space of 2:18 to come away with the win.
"It was a disappointing performance, particularly in the second half," ASU head coach Graham Winkworth said. "It is a heart wrenching way to lose, but ultimately, we weren't good enough today… Washington worked extremely hard. They were winning more challenges than we were and ultimately, they outworked us and so credit to Washington."
At the start of the week, the Sun Devils were looking to get back in the win column after a four-game winless streak in which it went 0-3-1. With a pair difficult road assignments at the Washington schools, a split, while not ideal, would have been considered a success given the Sun Devils will be playing their last three games at home.
Given the way it played – authoring one of its finest defensive performances of the season – in its 2-0 win at Washington State on Thursday, ASU was suddenly thinking two wins for the weekend and an opportunity to take a three-game unbeaten streak into the final two weeks of the season.
"When we reflect on it, 1-1 is a good weekend, not a great weekend and we should have finished a great weekend," Winkworth explained. "But when you are that close to 2-0 [for the weekend], it feels a lot worse. We should still be in a strong position to achieve our goals [for the season], but we are disappointed right now."
Alexia Delgado's fifth goal of the season, set up by Gabi Rennie and Hannah Leitner, in the 14th minute gave ASU an early advantage and with it a burst of confidence.
By game's end, Delgado's goal was one of just five shots the Sun Devils had for the contest compared with 23 for Washington. Of even greater significance, the Huskies ended the game with an 8-1 advantage in shots on goal.
Throughout the second half, the Huskies pressured the Sun Devil penalty area time and again. Despite creating multiple chances to tie the game, the ASU defense and goalkeeper Pauline Nelles, who came into the game with 16 saves and a pair of shutouts in ASU's last two contests, came up with more big saves to keep the Huskies from tying the score.
The game turned on Summer Yates' free kick that found the back of the net in the 87th minute to tie the game at 1-1. The contest's deciding sequence, which took just over two minutes of game time, was punctuated by Karlee Stueckle's go-ahead goal with 51 seconds remaining.
"We knew they were extremely dangerous on set plays and we gave up too many free kicks and we knew that was going to be a problem," Winkworth said. "We knew that they jump on second balls and ultimately they won the game in the last four minutes from a free kick and a second ball and so it's frustrating that we didn't defend those areas better."
Sunday's game concluded a stretch in which the Sun Devils played four of five games on the road. The Sun Devils will close out the regular season with three home games: vs. Oregon on Oct. 27, Senior Day vs. Oregon State on Oct. 30 and the annual contest vs. in-state rival Arizona on Nov. 4. Click here to purchase tickets to any of the matches.