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Thursday, September 28, 2023

UW hopes offense will step up against Spartans

The Wisconsin men's soccer team returns home Sunday after a road-heavy portion of its schedule, which saw the Badgers play six of seven games away from Madison. Wisconsin looks to end a three-game losing streak in which it has been outscored 7-0.

The three-game scoreless drought is now at 298 minutes, dating back to Sept. 20, when Brandon Miller registered a goal against UC-Santa Barbara. Up next for Wisconsin is another strong Big Ten opponent: Michigan State. 

The Badgers will finally be back in the McClimon Soccer Complex this Sunday after a stretch which included a weekend trip to California and appeared to take a toll on the team. They have not only struggled to score, but have also given up three goals in each of their last two matches.

But senior goalkeeper Alex Horwath does not want to blame the travel for his team's performance. 

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""I don't think the road has been a factor; it's not an excuse,"" Horwath said. ""We've been on the wrong side of a couple bounces and haven't been prepared a couple of times, but we've shown some strides, even if the results don't merit it.""

The results highlight the Badgers' offensive struggles. Putting the ball in the net has become a focus for both coaches and players, and having a full week of training should give the team an opportunity to work on details of the offensive attack.

""A big focus of our training is getting comfortable in the final third [of the field],"" head coach Todd Yeagley said. ""There is a psychological element, but the other part is just making sure we're getting reps so that when those opportunities come we're that much sharper.""

Senior midfielder Pablo Delgado agreed with Yeagley, and noted it is up to the team to put themselves in the best possible scoring position. 

""We need to adjust as soon as we can,"" Delgado said. ""If we see that playing long balls is going to work, that's fine. If we need to combine more, I think we have different players that can do different things."" 

Sunday's game will be at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast nationally on the Big Ten Network.

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