With only four matches remaining in the 2010 season for the Wisconsin men's soccer team (0-3-1 Big Ten, 1-11-2 overall), Wednesday night's contest at the McClimon Complex agaisnt UW-Milwaukee (3-4-0, 5-7-2) presents the best chance for the Badgers to notch a second victory on the year. Wisconsin has not lost to the Panthers since 2005.
To earn a third consecutive victory against their in-state rival, the Badgers must continue to go through their emerging star at forward, freshman Chris Prince. Prince won the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week award for his spectacular play in Wisconsin's 4-3 overtime losses to UW-Green Bay and Northwestern. The striker tallied two goals against the Phoenix and followed that performance with his first ever collegiate hat trick against the Wildcats. Prince now has a team-high seven goals on the season.
But while the Badgers nearly scored as many goals in last week's pair of games as they had in the previous 12 matches (seven), they also gave up four goals for the first and second time this season. The increase in goals allowed could be due to losing an extra midfielder by switching from a 4-5-1 formation to a 4-4-2, but some players did not feel it was a factor.
""I really don't [think so],"" Prince said, when asked if the new formation led to a softer defense. ""We did good defensively, it's just key mistakes we make in the back that allow goals.""
To prevent another four-goal letdown, freshman goalkeeper Max Jentsch and the Wisconsin defense need to contain Milwaukee's scoring threats, something they were unable to do when Green Bay and All-American J.C. Banks came into town.
The Panthers' offense flows through sophomore Andrew Wiedabach, who leads Milwaukee with 11 points off of four goals and three assists. Junior midfielder Ross Van Osdol is also a playmaker for the Panthers and has recorded four assists on the year.
After Wednesday night's game the Badgers travel to Ohio State for a Big Ten match-up against the No. 25 Buckeyes on Halloween before hosting the University of Illinois-Chicago and Penn State in early November to wrap up their season.