The Wisconsin men's soccer team is facing a lot of questions going into Saturday's match against Northwestern at the McClimon Complex.
Is freshman Max Jentsch still the starting goalkeeper? Will head coach John Trask stick with the 4-4-2 formation? Can the Badgers finally get a win?
On Tuesday it appeared that Trask solidified Jentsch's place as the starter based on the team's record and after senior Ryan Vint gave up six goals in a match and a half, but Wednesday night's four-goal meltdown left room for uncertainty.
Asked if Jentsch was going to be in net against Northwestern, Trask replied, ""We'll talk about that over the next couple days.""
Jentsch himself said he has to continue improving to keep the starting job.
""I just gotta keep working hard and improving,"" Jentsch said. ""It's a competition for who's in goal, and everybody is right there.""
A little more certain is that the Badgers will continue to employ their new 4-4-2 formation Saturday night against the Wildcats. Trask tested the shape during the Michigan State match, but gave it the full 90 minutes in Wednesday's loss to UW-Green Bay. For the first time all season Wisconsin scored three goals in a single game. Freshman forward Chris Prince, who scored two goals against the Phoenix, said the formation deserves some of the credit for the scoring barrage Wednesday night.
But at the same time, the Badgers also gave up the most goals they have this year—four. So while Trask was pleased with the offensive output, he was not sold on the formation because of how the defense performed.
""What we have to do as coaches is go back and weigh it up and ask, ‘Is scoring three goals more important right now for the psyche of the team to stay in a 4-4-2?' If we're going to give up four goals consistently to a good team, then I don't know,"" Trask said. ""I'd rather get back to losing 0-1 and stay in it then maybe lose 4-3.""
""I'm not here to entertain the crowd with seven goals, I'm here to put us in a position to win soccer games,"" Trask added.
Looking to Saturday, Trask sees the match against Northwestern as a big test for his team. Citing the work ethic, balance, speed and talent of the Wildcats, Trask said the Badgers will have their hands full.